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Mark Pickering – IJF
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / IJF
Former Baku Grand Slam winner Lien Chen-Ling (TPE) celebrated her second Grand Prix win at the expense of Oberwart European Open winner Anna Borowska (POL) who was subdued in the U57kg final. Tokyo-based Lien, who was a key training partner for the recently retired London 2012 Olympic champion Mastumoto Kaori (JPN).
Lien earned her first IJF gold medal since her 2017 triumph at the Baku Grand Slam to step up her bid for honours at the World Championships in Tokyo in August and next year in the same city at the Olympics. The world-class Chinese Taipei judoka eventually pinned down Borowska with a ushiro-kesa-gatame and after 17 seconds her Polish adversary elected to tap out.
In the first semi-final Sofia European Open winner Sappho Coban (GER) narrowly lost out to Anna Borowska (POL) by a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final Lien threw London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Automne Pavia (FRA) with an uchi-mata for a waza-ari score and then pinned down the French star with a sankaku-gatame to progress to the final.
The first bronze medal was won by Tel Aviv Grand Prix winner Timna Nelson Levy (ISR) who came from behind to defeat Pavia by ippon. Nelson Levy dispatched her French foe with a ko-soto-gake for ippon as the latter was caught flat-footed with 18 seconds left on the clock.
The second bronze medal was won by 2009 world bronze medallist Karakas Hedvig (HUN) who outfought and outscored Coban who finished fifth. Hungary’s veteran scored with a tani-otoshi for a waza-ari and added a second from a sumi-gaeshi for a comprehensive win in the penultimate contest on the opening day in Marrakech.
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