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Europeans hit back at Japanese domination Tchrikishvili, Agbegnenou win golds

 CHELYABINSK, Russia, Aug 28, (AFP): French-woman Clarisse Agbegnenou and Avtandil Tchrikishvili of Georgia led the European fightback to Japan’s dominance by winning gold medals at the Judo World Championships in Chely-abinsk on Thursday. Twice European champion Agbegnenou gained revenge on Israel’s Yarden Gerbi, who beat her in the world final last year in Rio. The 21-year-old, whose coach Larbi Benboudaoud, himself a former world champion, describes as a “bulldozer” on the mat, produced one of the throws of the day to beat Gerbi for under-63kg gold. Agbegnenou slipped her arm around Gerbi’s waist before thrusting her hip across the front of the 25-year-old, hoisting her off the ground and head over heels onto her back with a perfect o-goshi (hip throw) for the maximum ippon score.

Afterwards Adgbegnenou said her target would be the Olympic gold medal in Rio in two years time. And she put down her tenacity to having grown up with three brothers, including tennis-playing twin Antoine. “I can’t believe it, I’m stunned, it’s fantastic,” she exclaimed. “When I found out I would fight her (Gerbi) in the final I told myself: you have to get your revenge! “I’ve got three brothers and that can only forge you. You’re the only girl, you don’t have a choice, you have to take the war to them or you’ll get eaten alive! “I have a force with my twin. I’ve never been alone, I have a protector. It’s enriching.”

Before the competition, the confident fighter of Togolese origin had said: “Frankly and honestly, and without being arrogant, I can’t see myself not becoming world champion this year!” It was France’s first gold medal of the competition and added to bronze medals won by Automne Pavia and Amandine Buchard the previous days. Japan’s Miku Tashiro and Tina Trstenjal of Slovenia took the under-63kg bronze medals. In the men’s under-81kg event, another double European champion Tchrikishvili made up for his defeat to France’s Loic Pietri a year ago by winning the title this time around.
In the final he defeated Canada’s Olympic bronze medallist Antoine Valois-Fortier with an ura-nage (rear throw), similar to a wrestling suplex move, for the half-point waza-ari score. Ivan Nifontov, world and European champion in 2009 and Olympic bronze medallist in London, took bronze alongside Pietri.
Japan, who had dominated the lightweight divisions, winning four of the previous six gold medals, had to be content with just the one bronze on Thursday. On Friday the men’s under-90kg and women’s under-70kg divisions will take place.
Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA) bt Yarden Gerbi (ISR)
Brtonze medal bouts:
Tina Trstejak (SLO) bt Anne-Laure Bellard (FRA)
Miku Tashiro (JPN) bt Edwige Gwend (ITA)
Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA) bt Anne-Laure Bellard (FRA)
Yarden Gerbi (ISR) bt Miku Tashiro (JPN)
Avtandil Tchrikishvili (GEO) bt Antoine Valois-Vortier (CAN)
Bronze medal bouts:
Ivan Nifontov (RUS) bt Alain Schmitt (FRA)
LoÔc Pietri (FRA) bt Takanori Nagase (JPN)
Avtandil Tchrikishvili (GEO) bt Alain Schmitt (FRA)
Antoine Valois-Vortier (CAN) bt LoÔc Pietri (FRA).

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