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Judo: Another action packed day at the Hohhot Grand Prix 2017


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Judo: Another action packed day at the Hohhot Grand Prix 2017

It was non-stop for day two of the Hohhot Judo Grand Prix in Northern China. Two hundred and twenty six judoka from 26 nations aimed to improve their World Ranking List points ahead of the Suzuki World Judo Championships this coming August.

Ippon of the day

Austrian – Magdelena Krssakova slammed Russian – Ekaterina Volkova to the floor and got “the ippon of the day” in the under 63 kilogram bronze-medal-bout.

Woman of the day

Japan’s Tashiro Miku was named “woman of the day.” Ranked world number 24, she defeated world number 3 Kathrin Unterwurzacher in the final.

In her first round contest, Tashiro landed the high-scoring “uchi mata” foot technique against China’s Li Lele.

Then in the final, the world number 3 had Tashiro on the ropes with a waza ari, the second highest score a judoka can earn. But Tashiro soon hit back, levelling the score with a waza ari of her own.

Unterwurzacher soon made a fatal error. In touching Tashiro’s leg during an attack, she incurred a third penalty and was disqualified. But there were no hard feelings as the world number three warmly congratulated her opponent for a victory well won.

Man of the day

The title of “man of the day” went to China’s own Saiyinjirigala in the under 73kg category. He hails from Hohhot and received his gold medal in front of his home crowd from Mr Tan Jingfeng, the Director of inner Mongolia sports bureau.

Saiyinjirigala showcased some truly exceptional moves in several rounds including: an ippon against Czech – Jakub Jecminek; another one against Mongolia’s Sanjmyatav Bayartuvshin; and a stunning waza ari in sudden-death extra-time (or “golden score”) against Dirk Van Tichelt from Belgium.

The pressure was showing as Saiyinjirigala went on to face Canada’s Pan American Championship winner Arthur Margelidon in the final.

But he left Margelidon flat on his face scoring yet another waza ari during “golden score.”

With that, an overjoyed Saiyinjirigala won China’s first home gold in his own backyard.

“I was really nervous today because I had the chance to win a gold medal in Hohhot,” admitted Saiyinjirigala. “There were so many young people here watching, all of whom were really interested to watch the Judo and to find out what the sport is all about.”

The best of the rest

Canadian Antoine Valois-Fortier got the gold-medal in the under 81kg category and managed to get the Canadian National Anthem played on Canada Day.

Valois-Fortier’s winning moment was a blistering waza ari in golden score against world number one and European Champion, Alan Khubetsov from Russia.

“It felt pretty good especially leading the world championship to get back in shape,” said Valois-Fortier. “I had surgery earlier this year so to finally get my rhythm back felt really good. And like you said, it’s Canada Day today so to hear the anthem was special.”

Overall the Japanese have been on a winning streak with a total of four gold-medals to add to their already enviable judo record.