Battle in Baku

Australia’s Rio 2016 hopefuls have found the going tough at the extremely strong Baku Grand Slam event in Azerbaijan over the weekend. Two third round finishes were the best results for the Australian contingent who were looking to gain valuable ranking points as Rio draws closer.

VIS athlete Eoin Coughlan also had a first round bye in the -81kg division before edging local Ziya Namazov in a fight that lasted the full five minutes. In another encounter that went the distance, Coughlan could not move past Israel’s Asaf Chen who won.

Top 14 ranked -63kg fighter Katharina Haecker went down to Japan’s Megumi Tsugane after getting a bye through to the second round while in the -48kg class Chloe Rayner lost by ippon in her opening fight against Aurore Urania Climence of France.

Attention now turns to next week’s Grand Slam event in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which is the last major event to accrue ranking points before the Olympic qualification period closes on 31 May.

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