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Tel-Aviv GP 2019 - Day 3 and Wrap-up

Day 3, the final day of the Tel-Aviv GP saw the home team end it on a high note. Rio Bronze Medalist Ori Sasson took gold in the -100 category, obviously winning the last medal in the last match on home soil has it's own emotional advantages, but he managed to win it in the weirdest of ways - With two of his opponents being disqualified sandwiching two resounding ippon throws. In his first match, which went a full 3 minutes into Golden Score, he outlasted Russia's Shakhbazov on penalties. In his next match, Ukraine's Kolesnyk only lasted 23 seconds, before Sasson threw him with a resounding Morote Seoinage (as a big guy myself, there's no greater satisfaction than the thud of your opponent on the mat that indicates a sure ippon). In the semi-final, the Azeri - Kokauri, managed to last a full two-minutes before being thrown by Sasson with Kouchi Gari for Ippon. Leaving only the other Ukrainian - Yakiv Khammo - between Ori and the final Gold for Israel. It would take nearly 7 minutes - before Khammo too was disqualified in Golden Score, and the last national anthem played in Tel-Aviv was hatikvah.

 In other news - Ireland's Ben Fletcher took home a Silver in the -90 category, a day after his sister Megan took Bronze in the Women's -70. On his way, Fletcher beat former Japanese and current Australian Judoka - Kaihan Ozcicek-Takagi who ultimately took Bronze.

All told, I think Israel did very well in hosting her first Grand Prix, and I hope that this event will continue, however, I hope they find a better place for it on the schedule. Being that it ended just two weeks before the Paris Grand Slam - one of the biggest of the year, a lot of the bigger names stayed home - for example, despite the large Italian contingent, Fabio Basile and Odette Giufrida were not there, nor was France's Clarisse Abegnonou, despite her friendship with tournament hostess Yarden Gerbi. Although the Arena was full, it was held in the Shlomo arena - a smaller venue than the Menora Mivtachim Arena, and than the Tel-Aviv Expo center where last year's European Open was held. 

It was also nice to see several teams (including team USA) hanging out in Israel to train in the lead-up to the Paris Grand Slam.

Finally, I was debating about a day one match up - Rishony vs. Cherniak on Reddit. Someone reviewed the video and asked if the throw was really a Wazari or not. I'd argue that it was. After reviewing the video, and grabbing the screenshot below, here is my thinking:

- Rishony throws Cherniak with Soto-Makikomi
- Cherniak's full right side hits the mat, plainly evident to the referee, but not to the camera, because Rishony's body is in the way.
- Since her arm is tied up, and since she wanted to try to sell it as a non-scoring throw, Cherniak tries to pull her arm out and successfully lifts her hips within an instant.

If you slow the video down enough between seconds 29 and 30, this might be more evident, here is a screen shot from the 0:29+ mark - you can see that Cherniak's elbow and tricep are on the mat, because her fore arm is facing up, it's almost impossible for her not to have had her side on the mat at this point. While there is a small gap in the crook of Rishony's body where Cherniak's arm is, the white in the background appears to be her Gi, not the yellow of the mat.


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