France enjoy hat-trick of gold medals at Düsseldorf Grand Prix

Saturday, 23 February 2013
By Duncan Mackay at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle in Düsseldorf

Automne Pavia Dusseldorf February 23 2013February 23 - France were the dominant nation at the opening day of the second International Judo Federation Grand Prix here, winning three events as Japan claimed two.

Automne Pavia (pictured top) and Clarisse Agbegnenou led the way as both women claimed their second consecutive Grand Prix titles, having each won in the Paris earlier in the month.

Pavia, the London 2012 bronze medallist, was given the verdict in the -57 kilogram category over Japan's Nozomi Harai, who was penalised for being too passive. 

Agbegnenou sealed victory in the -63kg section over another Japanese, Kana Abe, in impressive fashion with a classic o-soto-gari for an ippon. 

The third French judoka to stand on top of the podium Pierre Duprat, who was awarded victory in the men's -73kg over Holland's Dex Elmont, who was disqualified for an illegal leg grip.

The Japanese were ensured of victory in the men's -66kg section thanks to team-mates Masaaki Fukuoka and Masashi Ebinuma clashing in the final. 

In the end it was Ebinuma, the 2011 world champion and London 2012 bronze medallist, who came out on top.

The other Japanese victory came in the women's -48kg Riho Okamoto, who beat South Korea's Bo Kyeong Jeong, disqualified after three penalties. 

Majlinda Kelmendi Dusseldorf February 23 2013Kosovo's Majlinda Kelmendi scored a victory over Romania's Andreea Chitu to help ease some of the disappointment of London 2012

The other women's title, in the -52kg, went to Majlinda Kelmendi, whose long campaign to be allowed to compete for Kosovo at London 2012 failed and she was forced to represent Albania, only to be beaten in the first round.

She bounced back here with victory in the final against Romania's Andreea Chitu, the emotion clearly visible as she shed tears during the medal ceremony.

There was also a win in the men's -60kg for Mongolia's Boldbaatar Ganbat against Brazil's Diego Santos, who was disqualified a minute before the end of the final for receiving three penalties.

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