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Maria Perez of Puerto Rico won the bronze medal in the category under 70 kg.

MARIA PEREZ BACK ON TRACK

This weekend another Grand Prix was held, this time in Tbilisi, Georgia. 372 athletes from 52 different nations found their way to the Georgian capital for the traditional Tbilisi Grand Prix. In this tough competition two of our athletes managed to pick up a medal.

Maria Perez is back after her injury.

First and foremost, there was a bronze medal for Maria Perez of Puerto Rico in the category under 70 kg. Perez is known for going for the Ippon and this time was no exception. The former Vice-World Champion powered through the preliminary rounds and could soon find herself in the semifinal, where she was to face Rio Olympic bronze medalist Laura Vargas-Koch of Germany. An incredible hard battle between the two, which was decided after almost four minutes of Golden Score, unfortunately, sending Perez to the bronze medal match, where she met with Israel’s Yarden Mayersohn. In this match Perez left no doubt who was the better of the two and came up with a great Ippon win after only 40 seconds. 

Perez suffered from an injury which she picked up at the World Masters in December but showed this weekend, that she is back on track, ready to take on the rest of the Olympic qualification period. We are happy to see you back, Maria!

Ganbataar showed a good performance throughout the day.

Another bronze medal went to Martyna Trajdos of Germany in the -63 kg category. The tall German has won not less than 23 medals at the IJF World Tour and this weekend she could add another medal to her collection. Trajdos came into the tournament as the number one seed but did not have the easiest of days - After a loss in the quarter final, she faced World Bronze medalist, Polish Agatha Ozdoba-Blach, in a very tight match which went not less than six minutes into Golden Score, before Ozdoba-Blach was given a third and final Shido sending Trajdos to the bronze medal match. Here she met with European Bronze medalist Lucy Renshall of Great Britain in another hard battle which, as well, was decided in Golden Score. A tough day for the German who showed a great fighting spirit and in the end of the day could pick up a well-deserved bronze medal. 

Odbayar Ganbaatar of Mongolia ended his day with a 5th place in the -73 kg category. Ganbataar had a good performance throughout the day and just narrowly missed out on a podium spot. After two Ippon wins in the preliminary rounds, Ganbaatar fell short against the later Gold medalist Guillaume Chaine of France in the quarter final, which put him down to the repechage. Here, Ganbaatar managed to produce another ippon win before he unfortunately suffered a loss in the bronze medal match. Nevertheless, a good effort from the Mongolian, who we are sure to see back on the podium soon! 

In the category +78 kg, there was a 7th place for Marketa Paulusova of Czech Republic. A good result for the Czech heavyweight in her Grand Prix debut! We are sure that there is more to come from this young lady.  

Next weekend will also be action packed, as the IJF World Tour will move to Turkey where the Grand Prix of Antalya will take place. A big number of IPPON GEAR athletes will be in action, so stay tuned as we will cover all action from Turkey. Good luck to all of our athletes!

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