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Mark Pickering – IJF
IJF Fawaz Alenezi / International Judo Federation
Swedish Tommy Macias (SWE) upset the form book as the early favourite for U73kg gold, Olympic champion Fabio Basile (ITA), was denied a first IJF gold medal in Ekaterinburg. Former Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner and Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist Macias showed off his ne-waza prowess by manoeuvring from a possible hold down to an armbar and the Italian, who lit up the preliminaries with his lethal ashi-waza, tapped out using his left foot.
In the first semi-final former Pan American Championships winner Eduardo Barbosa (BRA) fell to Basile by a waza-ari score from another foot sweep. In the second semi-final Macias showed his character and composure in equal measure to defeat Grand Slam debutant Georgii Elbakiev (RUS) by a waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal contest saw Rome European Open silver medallist Evgenii Prokopchuk (RUS) defeat Elbakiev with a ko-soto-gake for ippon. Siberian native Prokopchuk opened his Grand Slam medal account in style as Russia claimed third and fifth in the U73kg category.
The second bronze medal went to world number 31 Behruzi Khojazoda (TJK) who defeated Barbosa by a waza-ari score to win his country’s first Grand Slam medal.
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