Pan American Championships silver medallist Emmanuel LUCENTI (ARG) won his first Grand Prix gold medal with a win over Russian Grand Slam bronze medallist Etienne BRIAND (CAN) in the -81kg final on Saturday. Two-time Olympian LUCENTI, 32, ended his five-year wait since his last IJF medal (Miami Grand Prix silver) as he always bring his best judo when competing in the Americas. The veteran, who made his Grand Prix debut in 2009, became his country’s first male Grand Prix winner by taking a first time meeting between two of Pan America’s most established -81kg judoka as he threw BRIAND with a drop seoi-nage for a waza-ari which proved decisive after four minutes.
In the first semi-final BRIAND defeated Ekaterinburg Grand Slam silver medallist UNGVARI Attila (HUN) with a beautiful ippon-seoi-nage after 49 seconds of golden score. It was an emphatic ending from BRIAND who guaranteed his best finish at a Grand Prix.
In the second semi-final LUCENTI defeated world bronze medallist Victor PENALBER (BRA) in golden score when the Brazilian received a second shido for passivity after an extra two minutes. PENALBER was the favourite in the contest between the two rival South American nations but did not expect such resistance and commitment from the Argentine who followed wins over European Games winner Sagi MUKI (ISR) and former world runner-up Srdjan MRVALJEVIC (MNE) with a dogged display against his Brazilian opponent.
The first bronze medal contest saw PENALBER emerge victorious against 21-year-old Buenos Aires Pan American Open winner Jack HATTON (USA). Two waza-ari scores were the difference after four minutes as the Brazilian threw with an osoto-gari and a reverse seoi-nage which both troubled the scoreboard.
The second bronze medal went to number one seed UNGVARI who forced former world silver medallist Srdjan MRVALJEVIC (MNE) to tap out to a sankaku-jime with 50 seconds left in the contest. UNGVARI, who was urged on from the stands by his older brother UNGVARI Miklos, is in the best form of his career and will fancy his chances of home success in Hungary this summer.
LUCENTI, Emmanuel (ARG) vs BRIAND, Etienne (CAN)
Bronze Medal Fights
PENALBER, Victor (BRA) vs HATTON, Jack (USA)
MRVALJEVIC, Srdjan (MNE) vs UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)
1. LUCENTI, Emmanuel (ARG)
2. BRIAND, Etienne (CAN)
3. PENALBER, Victor (BRA)
3. UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)
5. HATTON, Jack (USA)
5. MRVALJEVIC, Srdjan (MNE)
7. LIVESEY, Owen (GBR)
7. TURCIOS, Juan Diego (ESA)