At the IJF Judo Masters in Doha An Baul confirmed the strong Korean team potential.
Winning the gold U60kg An seems back after a turbulent Olympic cycle, reports Judo Inside.
In the final, the latter faced the Israeli Baruch Shmailov, now a regular at the Masters final block, since he finished in second place in the event in 2018.
With the number one seed, Manuel Lombardo (ITA), being defeated early, it was Denis Vieru (MDA) who forced the door of the first semifinal, which he ultimately lost to the 2015 world champion, the South Korean An Baul.
Once again we saw a particularly close fight in which neither of the finalists seemed able to exploit the slightest flaw in their opponent’s defence. After a long period of golden score and two penalties on each side, it was finally An Baul who used his experience and succeeded in throwing Shmailov, using a dropping eri-seoi-nage.
It was therefore a difficult day for the favourites in the category as most of them were eliminated during the preliminary rounds. One of the survivors was Kherlen Ganbold (MGL), seeded number two, who fought Aram Grigoryan (RUS) in the first bronze medal contest. The Russian won after his opponent was disqualified with a third shido.
In the second match for bronze, another favourite, Vazha Margvelashvili (GEO), was pitted against Moldovan Denis Vieru, who has had a very good day but who in the last golden score couldn’t find the right solution and was finally thrown with a yoko-tomoe-nage for waza-ari, offering the bronze medal to Vazha Margvelashvili.
An won the Masters title in 2016 and regained this prestigious event gold in Doha. In ten edition of the Masters, this category had eight different winners U66kg.