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Twelve years after her Olympic medal Priscilla Gneto still counts

Twelve years after her Olympic medal Priscilla Gneto still counts

1 Mar 2024 16:25
IJF Media team by Jo Crowley and JudoInside
JudoHeroes & IJF Media / Copyright:

Each year Priscilla Gneto wins a Grand Slam, however again this early in the season is a surprise for the 32-year old French who defeated Haruka Funakubo in the final U57kg. Her third Grand Slam victory in her career. How many candidates can you have U57kg as French committee. Gneto still counts as a fine backup.

She already has an olympic medal, albeit from 12 years ago while the other has two world medals and all that experience showed on the tatami.

With 54 seconds to go, Gneto swung under under her Japanese adversary, hooking her outside leg to block a step away, knocking her down just enough to score waza-ari, after review. Holding that lead from two penalties down was not easy and on the final bell another review took place, to ensure there was enough effort from Gneto. She finished her day with a positive score, a gold medal and 1000 world ranking points.

2013 Junior world champion Arleta Podolak (POL) hasn’t had a medal on the World Judo Tour since 2016 but today looked like it could be her day. It was a fine performance from her first seconds on the mat. She countered Maksetbaeva’s (UZB) seoi-otoshi in the first exchange for her first score and then threw with her own seoi-otoshi to seal the deal, never looking like she got into her top gear.

In the second round Podolak threw Olympic and double world champion Silva (BRA) for waza-ari in the last 20 seconds and held on to the lead confidently before throwing Kajzer (SLO) for ippon in the quarter-final.

For bronze Seija Ballhaus and Podolak fought a very close match, 3 shido awarded between them but no real gap to be found. Going into extra time, the Polish athlete looked to find new energy stores, using them to swing under Ballhaus with a seoi-otoshi to score waza-ari and secure her first ever grand slam medal.

Pauline Starke, among the top seeds of the day, was not prepared to allow it. She brought a very physical fight to Pardayeva and eventually held her down. The latter had an excellent day and showed signs of a bright future but today the medal was for the German.

Maysa Pardayeva (TKM) knocked out number 3 seed Tina Nelson Levy ISR) in round two and then European champion Kurbonmamadova (AIN) in the quarter-final She dropped into the bronze medal contest after losing her semi-final but lost the bronze bout afterall.

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