JudoInside – News – Saki Niizoe meets the expectactions to win gold in Tokyo

With three gold medals in grand slams to her name, Saki Niizoe was clearly the favourite of the final for women U70kg at the Grand Slam in Tokyo, but with what Aiofe Coughlan (AUS) had shown during the day, everything was possible. On one hand we had the left uchi-mata and o-uchi-gari of the Japanese, on the other the right seoi-nage, which nevertheless looked a little weaker than Niizoe’s attack.

Actually, it was Niizoe who scored the first waza-ari with a ko-soto-gake. However, the advantage was cancelled after the video referee decision, landing was clearly not on the side at 90°. This was a warm-up for what was about to come. With a massive harai-goshi, Niizoe propelled Coughlan to the roof and then to the floor for a classic ippon. Niizoe was not just good, she was perfect.

It must be underlined that after the tsunami of Japanese victories in the first female categories, the performance of Aoife Coughlan is remarkable. What Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP), who won against Elvismar Rodriguez (VEN) and Elisaveta Teltsidou (GRE), who defeated Serafina Moscalu (ROU), did to reach the podium was also amazing.

Number one seed of the tournament Miriam Butkereit (GER) began her competition well by beating Riho Saiganji (JPN), giving the tone that things would not be easy for the local athletes in this category. Then Butkereit was surprised by Serafina Moscalu (ROU) in the quarter-finals. As for the rest of the category, the hierarchy was better respected, with the other seeds progressing quietly during the elimination phases.

Aoife Coughlan (AUS), who had shown really good judo since the morning, kept on winning to reach the final after she defeated Serafina Moscalu (ROU) in the semi-final and eventually taking a silver medal. Coughlan was good today, but she missed the last step.

This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com

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