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Raz Hershko brings another gold to Israel

Raz Hershko brings another gold to Israel

26 Mar 2023 18:15
IJF Media team by Nicolas Messner and JudoInside
Tamara Kulumbegashvili - IJF

Raz Hershko claimed another gold medal at a Grand Slam. In Tbilisi Hershko had to seriously fight the highest podium finish after her marathon semi final against Karen Stevenson (NED) and in the final Su Xin was on a positive dynamic.

Starting the final on the right foot and with the right pace, Hershko produced a few first attacks to test her opponent, before launching her seoi-nage for ippon. She is world number two and today she showed why.

The first match for third place was 100% Asian as Adiyasuren Amarsaikhan (MGL) and Shiyan Xu (CHN) faced each other. Strongly dominated, Amarsaikhan was penalised twice before she was thrown with o-uchi-gari for waza-ari and later on pinned down for ippon by Shiyan Xu. This meant a bronze medal was heading to China.

The Netherlands guaranteed their presence on the podium with a match between Marit Kamps (NED) and Karen Stevenson (NED). Marit Kamps having been penalised three times, it is Karen Stevenson who finally climbed on the third step of the podium.

In the semi final Dutch judoka Karen Stevenson did not waver and engaged with all her energy and liveliness in a match against Raz Hershko that was to last almost 3 minutes 30 into the golden score period. Out of breath, the Israeli champion did not seem to find a solution in front of this wisp Stevenson who kept moving and launching strong and dangerous attacks. It was actually the first time since 2006 that two Dutch heavyweights finished in the top 8 of an international Olympic qualification match, that's a milestone for the Dutch.

With two shido apiece in added time, everything seemed possible and especially possible for Stevenson, but she finally gave in to Hershko though, who found the resources to throw her hard, quickly, on her back, with control for a clear ippon.

In the other part of the table, we witnessed an all-Chinese battle since the two representatives of the Middle Empire, Xin Su and Shiyan Xu, qualified for the semi-final, the advantage going to Xin Su who won by ippon.

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