Marie-Eve Gahie, Sagi Muki, Noel Van T End and Gili Cohen in gold. Fabio Basile, Beka Gviniashvili and Or Sasson in silver. Irina Dolgova, Baruch Shmailov and Peter Palchik in bronze. The Ekaterinburg Grand Slam (March 15-17) smiled to the Team adidas fighters.
By Ludovic Mauchien
She has been waiting for this since 2016 and her success in Abu Dhabi. France’s Marie-Eve Gahie (-70 kg) just won her 2nd Grand Slam in Yekaterinburg. The World silver medalist and World N°1 defeated Austria’s Polleres, World n°3, in ½ final (Ippon with Ura Nage). In the final, she dominated the former World n°1, Brazil’s Portela.
He cannot be stopped since his title of European champion last spring. Winner in Abu Dhabi last October and Tel Aviv in January, then finalist in Paris, Sagi Muki (-81 kg) won a new title in Russia, his 3rd Grand Slam. In the final, he beat Japan’s Nagase by launching his attack in the closing seconds of the fight. The Israeli had previously defeated Belgium’s Casse in the ½ final. A stage reached by Dutchman Frank De Wit, who finally ranked 5th, beaten by Georgia’s Maisuradze for bronze.
In the wake of Sagi Muki, the Israeli team is on a roll and continues to illuminate the mats. In -52 kg, it was Gili Cohen’s turn to shine. Finalist in Tel Aviv at the beginning of the year, she won her 2nd Grand Slam by winning Spain’s Perez-Box in the final with one of the most beautiful Ippons of the competition (Ko Uchi Gari). In the ½ final, she had beaten Van Snick of Belgium (Golden Score).
If Sagi Muki was not at his first attempt, Noel Van T End (-90 kg) made a master stroke by winning the 1st Grand Slam of his career after… 5 silver medals ! In the 1/2 finals, he dominated the former world N°1, Serbia’s Kukolj (Golden score) before beating Georgia’s Beka Gviniashvili in the final. The latter had previously won Brazil’s Macedo in 20 seconds. The final was engaged but Noel Van T End managed to surprise his opponent in the last minute with an Ippon Seoi nage.
In -73 kg, Fabio Basile would logically have wished to leave Russia with a gold medal, which he has not touched since the Rio Olympics in 2016. But, in the final, he came across an ace of Ne waza, Sweden’s Macias and had to give up. The Italian wins his 6th medal in one year.
On his side, Or Sasson (+100 kg) played his 2nd final of 2019. He won the 1st one in Tel Aviv. He lost this one 4 seconds from the end by being trapped by Russian Bashaev’s Seoi.
They will not have known the joy of a final but leave happy all the same Russia thanks to a beautiful bronze medal. Russia’s Irina Dolgova (-48 kg) was first beaten in ½ final by Figueroa before getting the bronze against Japan’s Yamazaki (2 Waza).
In -66 kg, Israel’s Baruch Shmailov (-66 kg) won again the bronze (after Paris) by beating his compatriot Tal Flicker. Finally, Peter Paltchik (-100 kg) brought Israel his 5th medal of the tournament by dominating Dutchman Korrel for the bronze medal win after his loss to Adamian in the ½ final.
On the medals ranking, Russia finished 1st at home with 3 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals. Israel (2, 1, 2) ends 2nd ahead of France (2, 1, 0) and Japan (1, 2, 4).