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Mark Pickering – IJF
IJF Robin Willingham / IJF
Tel Aviv Grand Prix silver medallist Benjamin Fletcher (IRL) clinched his country’s second Grand Prix gold medal with a hard-fought win over Openweight World Championships silver medallist Toma Nikiforov (BEL) in the U100kg final. Fletcher, who struck for Ireland at the Tunis Grand Prix last year, defeated the European champion after 52 seconds of golden score by countering an ambitious sasae attempt.
The Fletcher household claimed two medals in Morocco as Ben’s older sister Megan won a career-best silver medal on Saturday.
In the first semi-final Fletcher conquered Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Grigori Minaskin (EST) by a waza-ari score from a harai-makikomi. In the second semi-final Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Kayhan Ozcicek-Takagi (AUS) was penalised for passivity after 71 seconds of golden score against Nikiforov (BEL) and was disqualified for his third indiscretion.
The first bronze medal was won by world number 72 Ozcicek-Takagi to sustain his rich run of form with back-to-back Grand Prix medals in 2019. World number 97 Aibek Serikbayev (KAZ) attempted a uchi-mata but was countered by the long-time member of the Japanese national team and former All Japan Championships winner.
The second bronze medal went to former Asian Championships bronze medallist Mukhammadkarim Khurramov (UZB) who beat Minaskin by ippon with a modified kata-guruma after only 51 seconds.
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