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Dazzling judo on Day 2 of Marrakech Grand Prix, IJF signs Morocco deal

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Dazzling judo on Day 2 of Marrakech Grand Prix, IJF signs Morocco deal
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On Day 2 of the 2019 Marrakech Grand Prix, the IJF and the Moroccan hosts signed a key agreement to open a training centre in Marrakech, and to introduce judo into 40 schools across the country.

Our Woman of the Day was Andreja Leski. The Slovenian number two clearly came here to show that she intends to become number one. A powerful kosoto attack on Australia’s Katharina Haecker saw her become Champion here in Morocco two years in a row.

Aiming to be number one: Slovenia's Andreja Leski won the -63kg gold medal after defeating Australia’s Katharina Haecker in the final

She was awarded her -63kg gold medal by Mr Rachid Talbi Elalami, Minister of Youth and Sports of the Kingdom of Morocco.

"I actually came here with focus on that gold medal. I really wanted, because I needed those points. In Paris I was close, also in Dusseldorf for the final, but now luckily yeah I managed it," Andreja Leski said in an interview.

Our Man of the Day was Russia's Denis Iartcev. The Russian technician put on a phenomenal display against London Olympic Champion and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Lasha Shavdatuashvili, catching him not once with his beautiful ashi-waza, but twice. The Russian clearly has his sights set on gold at this year's World Championships.

Sights set on gold at this year's World Championships: Russia's Denis Iartcev won the -73kg gold medal after defeating Georgia's Lasha Shavdatuashvili in the final

Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Iartcev was awarded his -73kg Marrakech Grand Prix gold medal medal by Mr Karim Kassi Lahlou, Wali of Marrakech-Safi.

"I am very happy about the victory. But it is the result of my hard work and I wouldn't call it an incredible phenomenon, I just did what I had to do and I am very happy with my performance today," Denis Iartcev said in an interview.

Second gold helps France top medals table on Day 2

The -70kg category saw France’s Margaux Pinot in fine form. In the final, she took on Ireland’s Megan Fletcher, and secured a juji gatame armlock and the gold medal, providing a second gold for France and putting her country on top of the medals table at the end of Day 2 of the Marrakech tournament, alongside Uzbekistan, which also so far boasts two golds and a bronze.

Lock and load: France’s Margaux Pinot won the -70kg gold medal after a juji gatame armlock helped her secure victory against Ireland’s Megan Fletcher in the final

Pinot was awarded her gold medal by Mr Youssef Belkasmi, General Secretary of the Ministry for Higher Education & Scientific Research.

The man to beat: Bulgaria’s Ivalyo Ivanov was the man to beat at -81kg, defeating Turkey’s Vedat Albayrak to win gold in the final

Bulgaria’s Ivalyo Ivanov was the man to beat at -81kg, and he showed why in a superb final against Turkey’s Vedat Albayrak. A brilliant ko uchi gari scored an emphatic ippon for Ivanov.

Her Excellency Daniela Bazavan, Ambassador of Romania in the Kingdom of Morocco, awarded Ivanov his medal.

Move of the Day

Our Move of the Day was a colossal utsuri goshi by Sharofiddin Boltaboev of Uzbekistan against Damian Szwarnowiecki of Poland.

Pure judo: A colossal utsuri goshi by Sharofiddin Boltaboev of Uzbekistan during his -81kg quarter final against Damian Szwarnowiecki of Poland provided our Move of the Day

The Uzbek launched his opponent up in the air with power and speed, before switching his hips across and planting him flat on his back with skill and control. Pure judo to round off Day 2 of the Marrakech Grand Prix.