Pedro Lasuén, euronews: “Day 2 of the Havana Grand Prix here in Cuba and with two athletes on top of the podium, Israel looks in control and has clearly signalled its intention to take part in the Olympic Games.”
Israel sends clear message to rivals
Israel’s Yarden Gerbi produced a stunning performance to clinch the women’s under 63 kilo category. The 2013 World Champion, who was up against local hope Maricet Espinosa in the showpiece match, triumphed thanks to this impressive waza-ari.
Gerbi’s compatriot Linda Bolder handed Israel its second gold medal of the day after downing Hungarian sensation Szabina Gercsak in the under 70 kilo final. The 27-year-old was made to battle hard throughout the contest and triumphed by yuko while Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov also had to dig deep in the men’s under 73 kilo category.
The World number One, a big favourite going into the Havana Grand Prix, faced the 2013 World bronze medallist Victor Scvortov, who showed the Cuban crowd his fighting spirit.
Orujov got off to a slow start and conceded an early yuko before stepping it up a gear with a devastating counter-attack for a waza-ari, enough to seal the win.
In the under 81 kilo class, World number eight, Khasan Khalmurzaev kept his composure to defeat America’s Travis Stevens in the final. The Russian looked in great shape and clinched the title with an early waza-ari.
The bronze medals were won by Hungary’s Laszlo Csoknyai and Roman Moustopoulos of Greece.
The second day of competition was marked by Szabina Gerscsak’s courage in the under 70 kilo class. The current Junior World Champion reached the final bout and although she lost against Bolder, judo fans are now aware of the fact that she has the potential to clinch a world title.