Agbegnenou strikes gold in Doha

Doha, France’s Clarisse Agbegnenou further confirmed her ratings as the “numero uno” in the under 63 kg category as she crafted an ippon victory in golden score over Japan’s Nami Nabekura to claim the gold medal at the ongoing International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Masters Doha 2021.

The three-day Tokyo Games qualifying event, being held in Qatar for the first time, is bringing together 36 best world athletes in each category – in both the women’s and men’s at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall in Lusail.

Four events, women’s -63 kg and -70 kg and men’s -73 and -81kg categories, were held on Tuesday – the second day of the three-day event.

En route the final of her category, the 28-year-old Agbegnenou, a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Games and a four-time world champion (2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019), had successively dominated Britain’s Lucy Renshall (in the golden score) in round two before scoring an ippon victory over Venezuela’s AnriquelisBarrios in the quarter-finals.

Up against Magdalena Krssakova of Austria, the silver medalist at the 2020 European Judo Championships, the Togolese-born French Judoka left no one in doubt about her intentions in Doha as she recorded another ippon victory over her 26-year-old opponent to set the final match against Nabekura.

An encounter between the two outstanding judokas has always been impressive.

The Japanese defended a lot, and at the end of regulation time, she returned to the fight looking more dangerous despite having two penalties.  After 2 minutes and 40 seconds of the golden score, the Agbegnenou, the reigning European champion, won thanks to a tani-otoshi throw.

With the victory, the French now extended her head-to-head lead over her Japanese opponent to 3-1. The Doha win follows her earlier victories at the Masters of Guangzhou in 2018 and the Grand Slam of Paris 2020. The defeat at the 2019 Masters in Qingdao is the only time Nabekura had gained the upper hand.

“I am quite delighted with today’s result. With Naberuka’s judo, you had to find the solution, you had to be patient and have good self-control,” said Agbegnenou after her victory.

In the other event of the women’s, Japan’s Yoko Ono secured the gold medal in the under 70kg category after defeating Russia’s Madina Taimazova, who was appearing in the final of the World Masters for the first time, in the final.

The Japanese had earlier recorded victory against Spain’s Maria Bernabeu in Round 2 before dispatching Kim Seong-Yeon of South Korea in the quarters. After that, she eliminated the Netherland’s Sanne van Dijke in the semi-final on penalties before booking the final clash against the Russian.

In the men’s event, world No. 13 An Chang-rim of South Korea created an upset in the under 73kg category by defeating the world No. 2 Soichi Hashimoto of Japan to claim gold after a keenly-contested match.

The 26-year-old An, the 2018 world champion, stopped Brazil’s Eduardo Katsuhiro Barbosa in the first round before claiming a Waza-ari victory over Turkey’s Bilal Ciloglu in the second round. An, a two-time Asian champion (2015 and 2017) then recorded another Waza-ari win against Uzbek’s KhilmatillokhTuraev in the quarters before eliminating Kazakh’s ZhansaySmagulov with ippon in the semis.

Meanwhile, in the last contest of the day, the men’s under 81kg, reigning European champion Tato Grigalashvili of Georgia defeated Netherland’s Frank de Wit to claim the ultimate prize in Doha.

De Wit had a great start against the 21-year-old number world No. 8 who appeared to be dodging the fight initially, but was extremely dangerous with quick leg swipes and takeovers. The strategy earned the Georgian waza-ari, after which he also took De Wit in an arm clamp as he claimed victory.

For Qatar’s representative, Morad Zemouri and Khalil Rebahi, the three-day tournament provided the much-needed experience which will come handy in the future.

While Zemouri was edged out in the first round by Germany’s Dominic Russell in the under 81kg category, Rebahi meanwhile was eliminated by Portugal’s Anri Egutidze in the same category.

About 400 athletes, including 215 men and 184 women from 69 countries representing five continental federations, are participating in the 200,000 euros total-prize-money event, which is taking place until January 13. Winners of each category are awarded 1,800 points in the World Ranking List.​


Source: Qatar Olympic Committee

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