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Daria Bilodid reigns supreme at the Zagreb Judo Grand Prix

Daria Bilodid reigns supreme at the Zagreb Judo Grand Prix
By Everton Gayle
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Teenage sensation Daria Bilodid extended her winning-streak to 25 contests to wrap up her sixth win in nine months.


Teenage sensation Daria Bilodid won her 25th consecutive match to wrap up her sixth win in nine months. The 17-year-old from Ukraine, who has never lost to a Japanese judoka, beat the world number three Irina Dolgova to clinch her third grand prix gold medal.

Dolgova, 22, was penalised for a third and final time and received a hansoku-make as her Ukrainian foe maintained her sensational form heading into her second world championships in September.

Bilodid, who was our woman of the day, said it was a tough day on the tatami. She had to beat Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi, Japanese world champion Funa Tonaki and in the final, Dolgova of Russia.

Bilodid said: "I really want to be a world champion this year because last year I lost in that competition and I'm ready to go ahead to prepare to work hard and to be the champion, but I will do my best."

World champion Ai Shishime defeated world number three Amandine Buchard to avenge her 2013 defeat in their one and only previous meeting. The French top seed fell to number two seed Shishime by a waza-ari score as the Japanese topped a grand prix medal podium for the third time.

Paris grand slam winner Christa Deguchi won her fifth competition in a row and fifth in 2018 to continue her run through the category and up towards the summit of -57kg.

Hohhot Grand Prix silver medallist Jessica Klimkait and Deguchi, who have been teammates since 2017, had met twice previously and the latter had won both of those contests which occurred in April and May of 2018.

Their third clash culminated in the same manner as the world number 13 beat world number 14 Klimkait to close in on a title push at her first senior world championships in Baku. Klimkait was disqualified after picking up three shidos as Canada dominated a star-filled weight division in Zagreb.

Our man of the day was world champion Naohisa Takato, (JPN) who won his sixth competition in a row to extend his winning run to 26 straight contests.

The two-time world champion met Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Adonis Diaz (USA) in a first-time encounter as the world number 24 from America was a shock finalist in Croatia.

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Takato won his second grand prix title in just 57 seconds with a crunching ouchi-gari earning ippon to provide his first grand prix title since his 2014 victory in his happy hunting ground of Budapest.

European bronze medallist Tal Flicker (ISR) won his first IJF medal of the year to set out his intentions of again being on the World Championships podium this autumn.

The reigning world bronze medallist defeated Ukraine’s first and only ever world champion Georgii Zantaraia (UKR) by a waza-ari score to celebrate winning the second grand prix title of his thriving career.

Our move of the day came at under 52 kilograms as Angelica Delgado took on Israel's Betina Temelkova for one of the bronzes. A wonderful Osoto Gaeshi counter attack earned her the medal and some important ranking points.

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