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Russian European champion Mikhail Igolnikov won his second Grand Slam of the year with a narrow win over Budapest Grand Prix winner Toth Krisztian (HUN). The Düsseldorf Grand Slam winner added the Abu Dhabi title to his collection by edging out his Hungarian rival by a waza-ari score to win Russia’s first gold medal in the U.A.E.
World number 16 Igolnikov is now Russia’s leading contender for Tokyo 2020 at U90kg and there’s still four events remaining on the IJF World Judo Tour in 2018.
In the first semi-final Igolnikov countered a ura-nage from Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Mammadali Mehdiyev (AZE) for his second and match-winning waza-ari to move forward into the final. In the second semi-final Toth beat Agadir Grand Prix bronze medallist Quedjau Nhabali (UKR) after 12 seconds of golden score by ippon from a front uchi-mata.
The first bronze medal was won by world number two Aleksandar Kukolj (SRB) who threw 2017 Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Nhabali with a majestic piece of ashi-waza. The Serbian star produced one of the best ippons of the competition with a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi in the opening contest of the final block.
The second bronze medal went to Mehdiyev who beat Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Sergiu Toma (UAE) with a ko-soto-gake for ippon with little resistance from the home judoka.
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