Fancy footwork and flying finishes on Day 2 of Hague Judo Grand Prix

Fancy footwork and flying finishes on Day 2 of Hague Judo Grand Prix
By Philip Pangalos
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Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov was our Man of the Day on a thrilling Day 2 of The Hague Judo Grand Prix, while China's Yang Junxia was our Woman of the Day


An exciting Day 2 of The Hague Judo Grand Prix  2018 saw incredible home support for Frank De Wit of The Netherlands. The Dutch fans were expecting fireworks as he came up against Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov in the -81kg final.

However, it would be Ivanov who became our Man of the Day as he incredibly came from behind to win his first world tour title in over two years, stunning De Wit, who had to settle for silver, but still showed great sportsmanship in the face of defeat. Ivanov’s power could not be contained, with a Khabareli style attack leading to a hold down for the win.

Feeling good: Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov took gold in the -81kg final after defeating Frank de Wit of The Netherlands

"Yes I’m feeling very good. So happy, and not only for this, it’s a very good gift for my boy, and now I go home and I train, and maybe I go to the Masters," Ivaylo Ivanov said in an interview.

Masterclass of groundwork

In the women's division, the -63kg category was dominated by Yang Junxia, who produced a masterclass of ground work to earn our pick for Woman of the Day. Winning all her morning's fights with the same signature move.

Dominant performance: Yang Junxia of China took gold in the -63kg category after defeating Alice Schlesinger of Great Britain in the final

In the final, Yang faced Alice Schlesinger of Great Britain. After several strong attacks, she once again produced an unstoppable roll which would prove the difference. She freed her legs and tied up the head to secure the unorthodox pin and the title. The title was Yang’s first Grand Prix gold medal for over three years.

Fancy footwork: Russia’s Musa Mogushkov defeated Akil Gjakova of Kosovo to take gold in the -73kg final

In the men's division, Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Musa Mogushkov of Russia took on Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Akil Gjakova of Kosovo in the -73kg final. A wazari score from a foot sweep deep into extra time was enough to crown the Russian champion after a skillful piece of footwork and timing worthy of the gold medal and his third Grand Prix title.

Gold for Great Britain

There was another medal for Great Britain, this time gold, as Olympic bronze medallist Sally Conway topped the podium in the -70kg division.

Conway won her third Grand Prix gold medal after Hohhot Grand Prix winner and home favourite Sanne Van Dijke of The Netherlands could not participate in the -70kg final after picking up an injury earlier in the day. Conway will now break back into the world’s top 10 and move closer to the Dutch judoka who started the day ranked fifth in the world.

"I was happy not only to come away with the gold medal toady but just with my overall performance. I think things are going in the right direction, When I compete, I always think ok this could have gone better, this was good, but I always try and analyse, and see what to work on when I go back to my judo club and try and get better and better really," Sally Conway said in an interview.

The gold medal for Great Britain meant that all nine categories contested so far in the tournament have been won by different nations.

Move of the Day

Our Move of the Day came from Russian, Dennis Iartcev. The -73kg athlete launched the Netherlands’ Sam van 't Westende with an incredible O guruma in the third round. The move was a perfect combination of beautiful technique and timing, finished in style.

Flying finish: Russia's Dennis Iartcev launched the Netherlands’ Sam van 't Westende with an incredible O guruma in the third round of the -73kg division
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