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Qingdao Grand Prix: Japanese fighters strike on day two


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Qingdao Grand Prix: Japanese fighters strike on day two

Four gold medals were up for grabs on day two of the Qingdao Grand Prix in China and Japanese judoka’s won two of them to finally open up their account on the east coast.

Nami Nabekura celebrated her second Grand Prix gold medal after Budapest when she beat European U23 Champion Lucy Renshall of Great Britain in the final of the -63 kilo division.

The Japanese fighter handed her nation a first gold of the event with a fine uchi-mata for a yuko in golden score – judo’s equivalent of extra time.

Erina Ike also made it to the top step of a Grand Prix podium for a second time when she won the -70 kilo title.

Also a winner at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix, the Japanese judoka delivered a bold display in Qingdao and went on to beat South Korea’s Ye-Su Hwang in the showpiece fight.

After a first attempt at an immobilization failed to kill off the fight, Ike finally struck gold at the second time of asking with the same holding technique. This time there was no escape for Hwang who had to settle for silver.

Uali Kurzhev made sure organisers played the Russian national anthem for a third time in two days of competition in Qingdao.

The Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist continued his fine season with victory in the men’s -73 kilo class.

He denied China a home victory by beating Sai Yinjirigala courtesy of an ippon with 94 seconds of the fight remaining.

The South Korean contingent finally got off the mark in the gold medal count as Jae-Hyung Lee celebrated victory in the men’s -81 kilo category.

Lee won his first IJF World Judo Tour title when he defeated American Nick Delpopolo in the final.

A ko-uchi-gari for a waza-ari score proving decisive for the rising star.

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