beaten in the final, Gabriella Willems (Judo Club Andrimont) wins silver in -70kg in Abu Dhabi

Coached by Cédric Taymans, the 25-year-old Liégeoise, 33rd in the world in her category, was beaten after 41 seconds in overtime receiving a third penalty against the Greek Elisavet Teltsidou (IJF 36), 26 years old. After a very physical fight, the two judokas found themselves with two penalties each after 4 minutes of regulation time, Telstidou winning with the ‘golden score’ to clinch his first Grand Slam title.

To reach the final, Gabriella Willems had won her first four fights, facing unseeded Fai Alsulbud, 21, of Saudi Arabia, in the first round after just 16 seconds, against Slovenian Anka Pogacnik, 30, world 19th , afterwards. In the quarter-finals, Gabriella Willems took out the Israeli Maya Goshen, 22, 27th in the world, and in the semi-finals the 20-year-old Italian, Martina Esposito (IJF 51).

This is Gabriella Willems’ 3rd Grand Slam medal, the 2nd in silver. Fifth in Tel Aviv in February 2021, she was on the 3rd step of the podium a month later in Tbilisi. In 2020, she won silver in Düsseldorf.

Returning to competition at the end of April at the Euro after a year’s absence due to knee surgery, Gabriella Willems had been eliminated in the second round at the Worlds in Tashkent a fortnight ago.



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