Japan finish out of sight while Olympic champion doubles Russia’s golden tally
The Ekaterinburg Grand Slam 2017 cast forward leading candidates for the World Championships as the heavyweights contested the seven remaining categories on the final day of competition in Russia.
Russia’s leg of the IJF World Judo Tour was staged in Ekaterinburg for the first time and the world-class roster of nations and judoka illustrated that regardless of the city the competition has the respect of judo’s premier athletes and is a key stop on the road to the Worlds.
Day two featured the women’s -70kg, -78kg and +78g categories and men’s -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories at the Palace of Sports.
Hashimoto Soichi (JPN) – The Ippon Hunter
HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN) is nobody’s understudy. The -73kg judoka now leads the world in the rankings having won gold on Saturday in Ekaterinburg.
However, HASHIMOTO, 25, who is undefeated on the IJF circuit since 2015, is the number two domestically with Olympic champion and double world champion ONO Shohei (JPN) for company at this weight.
The World Judo Masters winner has more than filled the void left by ONO who is taking some time out from international competition and will miss the World Championships to focus on completing his studies at Tenri University.
The charismatic star has excelled over the last 12 months as he has earned comparisons to Japan’s all-time great and 1992 Olympic champion KOGA Toshihiko (JPN) and this year the responsibility lies with the Worlds debutant to keep the -73kg title in Japan.
Judo’s founding nation has proved to be unbeatable at this weight with AKIMOTO Hiroyuki winning in 2010, NAKAYA Riki triumphing in 2011 and 2014 and ONO Shohei capturing the World crown in 2013 and 2015.
“I am very happy with this gold medal,” said HASHIMOTO who pushed for ippon in the final (against Marcelo CONTINI) despite being in control with an advantage of two waza-ari scores without reply.
Relentless in his pursuit of the maximum score and his favoured sode-tsurikomi-goshi, which he calls the HASHIMOTO special, the Japanese explained his philosophy.
“The reason is very simple, I always want to get ippon, when I had first waza-ari, I thought about defensive judo, but I really wanted ippon.
“Sode-tsurikomi-goshi is one of my main techniques, it is my favourite, but I can achieve this in many different ways and until the World Championships I will work on this even more.”
When asked about being his country’s only judoka at -73kg at the Worlds – and the absence of ONO Shohei – HASHIMOTO was positive and is relishing the opportunity to take his majestic talent to the World Championships stage.
“ONO is a very good rival for me, but he is nothing to do with me this year, as my main target is to become world champion.
“My target is Worlds gold and I want to win every contest by ippon in Budapest.”
As the IJF wraps up the elite side of proceedings in Ekaterinburg, a separate IJF delegation has arrived in Dagestan to film the latest #JudoForTheWorld video.
London 2012 Olympic champions Arsen GALSTYAN, Mansur ISAEV and Tagir KHAIBULAEV will lead training sessions with budding judoka and explain the role judo has played in their lives and making them the champions that they are today.
Stay tuned to the IJF’s social media channels for updates from the Dagestan filming.
The IJF World Judo Tour now heads for Mexico for the first Cancun Grand Prix from 16 – 18 June. The IJF visited Mexico for the first time last year to stage the World Judo Masters in Guadalajara and the best judoka in the world are set for the penultimate Grand Prix ahead of August’s World Championships.
Women -70kg: Valiant VAN DIJKE fights back to triumph on the road to Budapest European champion Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) won Grand Slam gold with a come-from-behind win in the final over former Casablanca African Open bronze medallist Alena PROKOPENKO (RUS). The Russian took an unexpected lead with a waza-ari from a sumi-gaeshi as the vastly-improved Russian tested the mettle of her Dutch opponent. Tokyo 2020 prospect VAN DIJKE is currently concentrating on Budapest 2017 and fought back from a waza-ari deficit to tie the contest with nine seconds remaining and moved into osaekomi for the win as the lack of contest management of the home judoka was exposed in the closing seconds.
In the first semi-final PROKOPENKO beat Tokyo Grand Slam winner NIIZOE Saki (JPN) by ippon with nine seconds left on the clock while in the second semi-final VAN DIJKE beat two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist Aleksandra SAMARDZIC (BIH) by ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by former Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Anna BERNHOLM (SWE) who submitted beaten semi-finalist SAMARDZIC with a juji-gatame. The Swede had lost at this stage at a Grand Slam on five occasions but looks stronger at -70kg and will be a judoka to watch in this category on the road to Tokyo 2020.
The second bronze medal contest was won by NIIZOE who had the beating of world silver medallist Maria BERNABEU (ESP). Former Baku Grand Slam winner BERNABEU lost by the smallest of margins as NIIZOE prevailed by a waza-ari to win her first Grand Slam medal outside of Japan.
Final PROKOPENKO, Alena (RUS) vs VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)
Bronze Medal Fights SAMARDZIC, Aleksandra (BIH) vs BERNHOLM, Anna (SWE) NIIZOE, Saki (JPN) vs BERNABEU, Maria (ESP)
1. VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED) 2. PROKOPENKO, Alena (RUS) 3. BERNHOLM, Anna (SWE) 3. NIIZOE, Saki (JPN) 5. SAMARDZIC, Aleksandra (BIH) 5. BERNABEU, Maria (ESP) 7. PEREZ, Maria (PUR) 7. PORTELA, Maria (BRA)
-78kg: World champ UMEKI earns first Grand Slam crown as title defence looms World champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) won her first Grand Slam title and in process recorded back-to-back wins on the IJF World Judo Tour. UMEKI, 22, who was worn her red backpatch since 2015 – as there are no World Championships in an Olympic year – won the Dusseldorf Grand Prix last time out and won all four of her contests in Ekaterinburg by ippon including the final against double European bronze medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR). World number five, POWELL, fighting in her first Grand Slam final, matched her Japanese opponent for much of the contest but when the action moved to the ground it was UMEKI who was sharper and applied a ude-garami and the Welsh judoka was forced to submit.
In the first semi-final European Championships bronze medallist JOO Abigel (HUN) lost out to UMEKI who forced the Hungarian to submit while also holding her down.
In the second semi-final POWELL left her leg in just long enough to turn Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Anna Maria WAGNER (GER) on the edge of the mat and drive over the youngster for ippon.
The first bronze medal was spectacularly claimed by WAGNER who launched Sofia European Open bronze medallist Antonina SHMELEVA (RUS) with a sumptuous hane-goshi for ippon with a minute remaining.
The second bronze medal contest saw JOO continue to build momentum towards Budapest 2017 as she defeated Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Karen STEVENSON (NED) by the maximum score after 90 seconds.
Final POWELL, Natalie (GBR) vs UMEKI, Mami (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights WAGNER, Anna Maria (GER) vs SHMELEVA, Antonina (RUS) JOO, Abigel (HUN) vs STEVENSON, Karen (NED)
+78kg: ASAHINA earns second Grand Slam win on the road in 2017 Paris Grand Slam winner ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) continued her undefeated streak with a comfortable win in Russia. Tokai University member ASAHINA, 20, has now won Grand Slams in Tokyo, Paris and Ekaterinburg in succession and won the All Japan Openweight Championships in April. The Japanese starlet defeated European Games silver medallist Jasmin KUELBS (GER) for her latest success with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata proving the difference after four minutes.
In the first semi-final European Championships bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) was thwarted by ASAHINA who threw with a harai-goshi for ippon.
In the second semi-final KUELBS showed off her ashi-waza to throw European Championships bronze medallist Carolin WEISS (GER) for the maximum score.
The first bronze medal was claimed by WEISS who bested double world silver medallist Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) by a waza-ari score which from a ura-nage after 20 seconds of golden score.
The second bronze medal contest was won by European Championships winner Maryna SLUTSKAYA (BLR) as CERIC accumulated three shido penalties to receive hansoku-make.
Final KUELBS, Jasmin (GER) vs ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights WEISS, Carolin (GER) vs ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA) CERIC, Larisa (BIH) vs SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR)
-81kg: The gold backpatch fits as KHALMURZAEV wins at home Rio 2016 Olympic champion Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) thrilled the partisan crowd as he beat two-time Grand Slam runner-up UNGVARI Attila (HUN) in the -81kg final. The 23-year-old crowd pleaser punched the air after throwing UNGVARI with a uchi-mata for ippon after just 58 seconds. KHALMURZAEV celebrated his second Grand Slam gold after a win in Baku in 2015 but this victory was extra sweet as it was his first IJF competition since he won the Olympics and it came in front of his family, friends and fans. KHALMURZAEV is now the front-runner to top the -81kg podium at the World Championships and the gold backpatch will be a target on his back for all entrants in Budapest.
In the first semi-final Paris Grand Slam winner Frank DE WIT (NED) was outlasted by KHALMURZAEV who threw the young Dutchman with an uchi-mata for a waza-ari score after 12 seconds of golden score.
In the second semi-final UNGVARI defeated Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Murat KHABACHIROV (RUS) as the latter ran out of steam in golden score. UNGVARI, the younger brother of Hungarian legend UNGVARI Miklos, rolled over the Russian after 68 seconds of golden score for a match-winning waza-ari.
The first bronze medal was clinched Pan American Championships bronze medallist Etienne BRIAND (CAN) who narrowly defeated KHABACHIROV with a waza-ari score after four minutes from a morote-seoi-nage to open his Grand Slam medal account.
Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (GEO) won the second bronze medal after a surprisingly one-sided clash against top seed DE WIT. REKHVIASHVILI has the tall order of filling the gap left by former world champion Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) who has moved up to -90kg but is making great strides as he showed here with three waza-ari scores giving him the platform to go on and win by ippon.
Final UNGVARI, Attila (HUN) vs KHALMURZAEV, Khasan (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights KHABACHIROV, Murat (RUS) vs BRIAND, Etienne (CAN) DE WIT, Frank (NED) vs REKHVIASHVILI, Zebeda (GEO)
1. KHALMURZAEV, Khasan (RUS) 2. UNGVARI, Attila (HUN) 3. BRIAND, Etienne (CAN) 3. REKHVIASHVILI, Zebeda (GEO) 5. KHABACHIROV, Murat (RUS) 5. DE WIT, Frank (NED) 7. CHAPARYAN, Andranik (ARM) 7. PENALBER, Victor (BRA)
-90kg: NAGASAWA goes unbeaten for Japan as TOTH takes silver on return Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist NAGASAWA Kenta (JPN) stepped up to the Grand Slam level with the best performance of his young career as he beat the returning former world silver medallist TOTH Krisztian (HUN) in golden score. TOTH, who was making his comeback having undergone shoulder surgery and recently returned to full health, is never involved in flat contests. The Hungarian has a tendency to be locked in the most engaging and dramatic of battles but could not generate his usual power and the contest was scoreless after four minutes. NAGASAWA found an extra gear in added time and, as Japan team manager INOUE Kosei looked on matside, was able to trap TOTH on the ground and the latter decided to tap out to save himself for another day as he aims for World Championships at home in August.
In the first semi-final Casablanca African Open winner Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) lost out to the returning TOTH by a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final four-time Grand Slam runner-up Noel VAN T END (NED) suffered defeat at the hands of NAGASAWA via a harai-goshi at the halfway mark.
The first bronze medal was won by VAN T END who made a strong finish as he beat double Grand Slam silver medallist Ushangi MARGIANI (GEO) in golden score by a waza-ari score for his fifth medal at this level.
The second bronze medal went to Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS) who held down SHERAZADISHVILI for 20 seconds for ippon having sent the Spaniard to the ground with a thunderous osoto-gari which warranted a waza-ari score. Final NAGASAWA, Kenta (JPN) vs TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)
Bronze Medal Fights VAN T END, Noel (NED) vs MARGIANI, Ushangi (GEO) SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP) vs MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)
-100kg: Outsider CIRJENICS surges up the rankings after Grand Slam glory Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist CIRJENICS Miklos (HUN) won -100kg gold as Hungary’s top performer in the final Grand Slam before his country hosts the World Championships in August. World number 22 CIRJENICS won all four of his contests by ippon with the finest display of his career. Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Niyaz ILYASOV (RUS) was countered for a waza-ari score before the flowing Hungarian added two further waza-ari scores. CIRJENICS had the Russian locked in a tate-shiho-gatame hold and then adjusted to a juji-gatame to win by submission.
In the first semi-final two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist Jevgenijs BORODAVKO (LAT) tapped out to CIRJENICS in the last 30 seconds.
In the second semi-final ILYASOV caught Olympic silver medallist Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) with an ouchi-gari after an initial uchi-mata attempt and the Georgian failed to counter as he fell down into the bronze medal contest.
The first bronze medal was indeed won by LIPARTELIANI against -100kg newcomer Alexandre IDDIR (FRA). The Frenchman moved up in February and came up against one of his old -90kg rivals and the pair could not be separated in four minutes of regulation time. An additional 20 seconds provided a winner as IDDIR was penalised with a shido for a false attack.
The second bronze medal went to Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Laurin BOEHLER (AUT) who secured his first Grand Slam medal in explosive fashion. The Austrian lifted up BORODAVKO with a gigantic ura-nage for ippon as the crowd roared with approval.
Final ILYASOV, Niyaz (RUS) vs CIRJENICS, Miklos (HUN)
Bronze Medal Fights LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO) vs IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA) BORODAVKO, Jevgenijs (LAT) vs BOEHLER, Laurin (AUT)
+100kg: Mobile MOURA eyes Worlds challenge after maiden Grand Slam success The eighth Grand Slam medal for Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist David MOURA (BRA) was finally of the golden variety as he conquered former Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) in an entertaining men’s heavyweight final. MOURA and MATIASHVILI were fighting to break into the elite ranks alongside Olympic and world medallists but both have their hands full on to earn international selections with depth at the domestic heavyweight levels in Brazil and Georgia. The heavyweights shook each other with osoto-gari attacks but for no score and were eventually separated in golden score when the Georgian received a second shido to finish second and put MOURA onto the top of the podium.
In the first semi-final MOURA defeated Mongolia’s Rio 2016 Olympic flagbearer BATTULGA Temuulen (MGL) by ippon with a left-sided uchi-mata. In the second semi-final European u23 Championships bronze medallist Uladzislau TSIARPITSKI (BLR) lost out to MATIASHVILI by a waza-ari.
The first bronze medal was won by 2016 Tyumen Grand Slam winner Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) who delivered a buzzer-beating waza-ari which was awarded in time and spared both men from golden score.
The second and last bronze medal contest saw BATTULGA work his way past Baku Grand Slam silver medallist BOR Barna (HUN) by a waza-ari score to delight the huge group of travelling Mongolian fans in the upper tier at the Palace of Sports. Final MATIASHVILI, Levani (GEO) vs MOURA, David (BRA)
Bronze Medal Fights TSIARPITSKI, Uladzislau (BLR) vs VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS) BATTULGA, Temuulen (MGL) vs BOR, Barna (HUN)
1. MOURA, David (BRA) 2. MATIASHVILI, Levani (GEO) 3. VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS) 3. BATTULGA, Temuulen (MGL) 5. TSIARPITSKI, Uladzislau (BLR) 5. BOR, Barna (HUN) 7. NATEA, Daniel (ROU) 7. SILVA, Rafael (BRA)
Japan unmatched in Russia with 100 days until the Worlds
The opening day of the third Grand Slam of the year marked an important milestone on Saturday as the countdown reached 100 days until August’s all-star World Championships extravaganza in Budapest.
Ekaterinburg, Russia, is the host city this weekend as the sport welcomes a new destination on the IJF World Judo Tour. As the fourth largest city in Russia, Ekaterinburg, is a natural choice as the setting for the Russian leg of the tour and the final Grand Slam before the Worlds.
The Palace of Sports is hosting Olympic champions and world medallists among the star-laden entry as 286 judoka and 36 nations are on the tatami this weekend.
Seven weight categories are engaged on each day in the Urals and Saturday saw the women’s -48kg, -52kg, -57kg and -63kg judoka and the men’s -60kg, -66kg and -73kg judoka compete.
Ezio Gamba – The modest mastermind steering Russia’s success
The Russian national team, who have entered 54 judoka this weekend, is steered by Team Manager Ezio Gamba.
The 1980 Olympic champion and 1984 Olympic silver medallist, who was inducted into the IJF Hall of Fame in 2013, outlined his vision for the Russian team and discussed the make-up of their high-performance programme.
“I set things up for four years or even eight years, this is the reason why I already set all projects for Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” said Gamba, who was also appointed as the European Judo Union General Secretary in April.
“I started this project in 2009 and while now I also have an EJU role which can take up some time, I am fortunate that I have an organised team here in Russia which is full of leaders and supporters.
“The head coaches are realty able to manage all the things, I am in connection with them at all times for planning and organisation which is all done by me. I am really satisfied with where we are and what we can do.
“For our seniors, u23 judoka, juniors and cadet teams I set their targets and for me there is not a great concern about points or rankings. I take note of results in the European Championships and the World Championships but everything is a work in progress. I want everyone to finish each competition with an athlete having information and input on what they need to work on.
“When they win this is the most difficult time, it is difficult to push them 100% and for them to take suggestions. When they win they have motivation to increase their work and develop new things. I don’t want to push anyone to be in the World Masters, World Championships or European Championships; I must observe their physical condition and level of each judoka.”
Gamba went on to explain the numbers in each Russian team and their annual workload.
“We have 70 men and 40 women in the senior team and the numbers are the same for the u23 group.
“The senior group are involved in competing or training for 300 days a year with the u23 judoka working for approximately 240 days.
“The juniors put in around 150 days while the cadets do approximately 100-120 days and this is how we move our judoka forward. With my colleagues we decide to involve all women and all age groups together in our training camps.”
Asked how the Russian team have enjoyed such consistent success, Gamba, detailed his theory and approach that has led to five medals at London 2012 (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and three medals at Rio 2016 (2 gold and 1 bronze).
“It is true that the results have been amazing and we have the top total number of medals in these eight years – no other nation is as high, so we have a high quantity and the quality is there. I prefer to have seven bronze medals in a Worlds than two gold medals because I have the belief that each of those bronze medals can become gold in the future.
“When I started with the Russian Judo Federation, I said I don’t want to follow seven or 10 judoka, I want to be able to lead a team for three Olympic cycles. We have a fair number of staff certainly but when you compare it to France, who has four national centres and 2000 elite judoka in training, Japan has mass numbers in Universities and Brazil has some volume, we have modest numbers.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished and believe we are getting stronger and stronger.”
Mr. Evgeniy KUYVASHEV, Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region, said: “Dear guests and participants, we are glad to welcome you all at this event at the cultural, scientific and sporting centre of Russia, Ekaterinburg.
“I am sure that this event will add motivation to develop judo in Russia. I wish you all beautiful judo and a lot of success.”
Mr. Valentin KHABIROV, RJF Vice President and Executive Director, said: “This is a welcoming speech on behalf of Mr. Vasily ANISIMOV, RJF President. Dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the first Grand Slam here in Ekaterinburg.
“We are delighted that participants from all over the world are here in Ekaterinburg to compete in this prestigious event. I am sure that this competition in the Ural region will motivate judoka for years to come and hope you will all have a wonderful impression of this hospitable city.
“I would like to thank the IJF and President Mr. Marius VIZER for supporting us and trusting the city of Ekaterinburg to host this vitally important event.”
Mr. Sergey SOLOVEYCHIK, IJF Vice President and EJU President, said: “Dear guests, spectators and judoka, I am happy to welcome you to this Grand Slam 2017 competition and this message is on behalf of the IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER. Many judoka have arrived here from 36 nations and we have Olympic champions and world champions and many other exceptional judoka.
“I would like to thank the Interim Governor of the Sverdlovsk region, the sponsors and organisation team for their efforts. Now I declare the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam 2017 open.”
On Sunday the heavyweights will power up as they bid to seize Grand Slam gold with the seven remaining categories due to be contested. Watch the men’s -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg and the women’s -70kg, -78kg and +78kg divisions live and free on Sunday from 10am local time at www.ippon.tv
Women -48kg: Fourth Grand Slam gold for Worlds-ready KONDO Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist KONDO Ami (JPN) showed that she is ready to challenge for a third consecutive Worlds medal this summer after a straightforward win in Ekaterinburg. Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Sabina GILIAZOVA (RUS) was unable to impose herself as class act KONDO held down the Russian with a ushiro-kesa-gatame hold for 20 seconds to clinch the gold medal.
World number six KONDO, 22, had won successive Grand Slam bronze medals in Tokyo and Paris since Rio 2016 and was recently selected for this year’s World Championships. KONDO, who won the Worlds in 2014 and bronze a year later, is now in pole position for Budapest 2017.
In the first semi-final GALBADRAKH was surprisingly beaten by GILIAZOVA by a waza-ari while in the second semi-final Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Melanie CLEMENT (FRA) fell to KONDO who trapped her opponent in osaekomi with a kami-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon.
The first bronze medal contest saw Tashkent Grand Prix winner Mariia PERSIDSKAIA (RUS) tumble after only 16 seconds to CLEMENT. The French judoka produced a left-sided harai-goshi for ippon inside 20 seconds to capture her first Grand Slam honours.
The second bronze medal contest went to world number two GALBADRAKH who salvaged a place on the medal podium despite being far from her best. GALBADRAKH prevailed as five-time Grand Slam medallist Nataliya KOMOVA (RUS) received her third shido in golden score to be disqualified and the Kazakh has work to do if she is to win her first Worlds senior medal in August.
Final GILIAZOVA, Sabina (RUS) vs KONDO, Ami (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights PERSIDSKAIA, Mariia (RUS) vs CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA) GALBADRAKH, Otgontsetseg (KAZ) vs KOMOVA, Nataliya (RUS)
-52kg: Brazilian maestro MIRANDA wins ahead of Worlds tilt Three-time world medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA) won the fourth Grand Slam gold medal of her decorated career as she beat European Championships silver medallist Alesya KUZNETSOVA (RUS) in the -52kg final. MIRANDA, who is only missing gold from her Worlds collection, won all four of her contests in Russia including a gusty display in the final to pull back the contest from ne-waza ace KUZNETSOVA who moved up from -48kg to -52kg in February. KUZNETSOVA scored first from a tate-shiho-gatame hold for 18 seconds and the knowledgeable crowd raised the volume inside the Palace of Sports whenever the contest reached the ground. MIRANDA levelled the score in regulation time with a waza-ari before rolling over her opponent in added time for a gold medal-winning score.
In the first semi-final KUZNETSOVA downed former world bronze medallist Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) after three minutes and 25 seconds of added time. The home judoka rolled BUCHARD for a match-winning waza-ari as she came out victorious in a battle of two former -48kg standouts who have moved up to -52kg.
In the second semi-final Olympic bronze medallist Natalia KUZIUTINA lost out to MIRANDA via a left-sided ippon seoi-nage which came after a titanic tussle. The Brazilian and the home judoka went over double their regulation time as four minutes and four seconds of golden score was needed to deliver to first and last score of the contest.
In the first bronze medal contest Antalya Grand Prix silver medallist Gili COHEN (ISR) was held down by KUZIUTINA as the Russian won bronze to a loud ovation from her supporters.
In the second bronze medal contest BUCHARD bested Pan American Championships bronze medallist Ecaterina GUICA (CAN) in 13 seconds. The French judoka, who has finally committed to the -52kg category having flirted with the division since 2014, won by ippon as she finally looks settled at her new weight category.
Final KUZNETSOVA, Alesya (RUS) vs MIRANDA, Erika (BRA)
Bronze Medal Fights COHEN, Gili (ISR) vs KUZIUTINA, Natalia (RUS) BUCHARD, Amandine (FRA) vs GUICA, Ecaterina (CAN)
-57kg: Returning ROPER seals history as Panama’s first IJF medallist Former world bronze medallist Miryam ROPER (PAN) exceeded all expectations on her return to the international circuit as she marked her first IJF World Judo Tour appearance for Panama by not only winning her country’s first ever IJF medal but also ensured that it was gold and therefore Himno Istmeño would be played for the first time. London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian Miryam Roper, 34, who was born in Germany to a German mother and Panamanian father, was deemed surplus to requirements for Germany following her second Olympics as they looked to move in a new direction and to introduce younger talent. ROPER believed that she still had plenty to offer at the elite level and that was proved to be the case on Saturday as the -57kg judoka won gold for Panama.
ROPER, who was funded to take part in Ekaterinburg by the IJF and fought without a coach, was opposed to former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) in the final and took control of an attack to set her opponent off balance for ippon as she broke down in tears of sheer elation having gone through every emotion imaginable in elite sport in the last year.
In the first semi-final Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner LKHAGVATOGOO Enkhriilen (MGL) was dismissed by ROPER who held down the Mongolian for 20 seconds to guarantee a first ever medal for Panama at this level.
In the second semi-final UDAKA – who defeated Olympic champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA) in golden score in their quarter-final - was too strong for 20-year-old Pan American Championships winner Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN). The Canadian received a third shido in golden score to receive her marching orders and it was the Japanese judoka who advanced
The first bronze medal contest saw beaten semi-finalist KLIMKAIT defeat Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Daria MEZHETCKAIA (RUS) to win her first Grand Slam medal with a morote-seoi-nage. MEZHETCKAIA had recorded a waza-ari of her own with the same technique but KLIMKAIT marginally outworked her opponent and was a worthy winner with a winning margin of one waza-ari.
In the second bronze medal contest Olympic champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA) defeated 18-year-old LKHAGVATOGOO who put forward a respectable showing despite losing by hansoku-make for accumulating three shido penalties.
Final ROPER, Miryam (PAN) vs UDAKA, Nae (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights MEZHETCKAIA, Daria (RUS) vs KLIMKAIT, Jessica (CAN) LKHAGVATOGOO, Enkhriilen (MGL) vs SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)
-63kg: TRAJDOS tops Grand Slam podium to boost Worlds intentions European Games Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) topped the Grand Slam medal podium in Russia to cast herself forward as one of the top contenders for the World Championships. Tokyo 2015 Grand Slam winner TRAJDOS, 28, held down former European bronze medallist Ekaterina VALKOVA (RUS) for 20 seconds for her 10th Grand Slam medal and most important to date.
In the first semi-final TRAJDOS held down Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Amy LIVESEY (GBR) for 20 seconds, ippon and a place in the gold medal contest. A kesa-gatame hold subdued the British judoka from St Helens who moved down into the bronze medal contest as a result of the defeat.
In the second semi-final VALKOVA drove past Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Mariana SILVA (BRA) by ippon in just 17 seconds.
The first bronze medal contest saw SILVA pick up a third Grand Slam bronze medal as former Pan American Championships bronze medallist Stefanie TREMBLAY (CAN) was disqualified with hansoku-make.
In the second bronze medal contest LIVESEY struck Grand Slam silverware for the first time as she beat Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Daria DAVYDOVA (RUS) by a waza-ari score after four minutes.
Final TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER) vs VALKOVA, Ekaterina (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights TREMBLAY, Stefanie (CAN) vs SILVA, Mariana (BRA) LIVESEY, Amy (GBR) vs DAVYDOVA, Daria (RUS)
-60kg:Japan unleash NAGAYAMA who is now set for impactful Worlds debut Tokyo Grand Slam winner NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) outshone former European Championships winner Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) by registering three scores without reply. The 21-year-old unleashed a torrent of attacks as he opened with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata after 40 seconds before adding a waza-ari from a modified ura-nage. NAGAYAMA, who will join Olympic bronze medallist TAKATO Naohisa as his country’s -60kg judoka in Budapest, added a third waza-ari with ashi-waza and comfortably saw out the clock to earn his finest international triumph of his young career.
In the first semi-final PAPINASHVILI (GEO) beat former Junior World Championships winner Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP) by ippon after only 26 seconds.
In the second semi-final NAGAYAMA registered three waza-ari without reply against Savva KARAKIZIDI (RUS) before putting the Russian judoka out of his misery by ippon.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Cedric REVOL (FRA) who defeated KARAKIZIDI by a waza-ari from a drop seoi-nage after four minutes of action.
In the second bronze medal contest GARRIGOS suffered his second defeat in a row as Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Albert OGUZOV (RUS) was designated as the winner by ippon after 14 seconds.
Final NAGAYAMA, Ryuju (JPN) vs PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO)
Bronze Medal Fights KARAKIZIDI, Savva (RUS) vs REVOL, Cedric (FRA) GARRIGOS, Francisco (ESP) vs OGUZOV, Albert (RUS)
-66kg: ABDULZHALILOV rules for Russia Antalya Grand Prix winner Abdula ABDULZHALILOV (RUS) made his Grand Slam outing count on Saturday as he methodically worked his way to the top of the -66kg medal podium. The Russian judoka won his country’s first gold medal at their home Grand Slam when two-time Grand Slam winner Charles CHIBANA (BRA) attempted to turn out of a throw by bridging and that is not legal due to the risk of injury for the athlete and the Brazilian was disqualified.
In the first semi-final Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) succumb to ABDULZHALILOV with a booming seoi-nage for ippon.
In the second semi-final CHIBANA dramatically came from behind to deny Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Yakub SHAMILOV (RUS) a home final. The Brazilian trailed to a waza-ari from a tani-otoshi but with six seconds left on the clock the former picked up his Russian rival and dispatched him for ippon.
The first bronze medal contest saw Junior European Championships winner Dzmitry MINKOU (BLR) beat DOVDON by ippon for his first Grand Slam podium. The 20-year-old shocked his accomplished Mongolian opponent by ippon as Belarus were off the mark in Ekaterinburg.
In the second bronze medal contest Casablanca African Open winner Islam KHAMETOV (RUS) edged out SHAMILOV (RUS) by a waza-ari to grace the medal podium.
Final CHIBANA, Charles (BRA) vs ABDULZHALILOV, Abdula (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights MINKOU, Dzmitry (BLR) vs DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL) SHAMILOV, Yakub (RUS) vs KHAMETOV, Islam (RUS)
-73kg: Japanese juggernaut HASHIMOTO installed as favourite for Worlds glory Sensational HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN) won his third career Grand Slam medal as Japan were irresistible on day one in Russia. World number two HASHIMOTO, who is undefeated on the tour since 2015, maintained his unbeaten run that could well extend beyond his first World Championships in August. HASHIMOTO, who is only behind Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) on the World Ranking List, routed surprise finalist and Lima Pan American Open winner Marcelo CONTINI (BRA) with two waza-ari scores going unanswered before the Japanese ace made sure of gold with a beautiful sode-tsurikomi-goshi throw for ippon.
In the first semi-final HASHIMOTO defeated former Pan American Championships winner Arthur MARGELIDON (CAN) with a tai-otoshi for ippon.
In the second semi-final CONTINI (BRA) bested former Glasgow European Open silver medallist Sam VAN T WESTENDE (NED) by ippon after 67 seconds to remain fresh for the final.
In the first bronze medal contest VAN T WESTENDE could not escape the clutches of Pierre DUPRAT (FRA) in osaekomi as the latter wrapped up the Dutchman with a tate-shiho-gatame hold to win by ippon.
In the second bronze medal contest former Junior European Championships winner Benjamin AXUS (FRA) also pinned down his opponent for bronze. The young Frenchman saw off MARGELIDON to match his countryman DUPRAT.
Final CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA) vs HASHIMOTO, Soichi (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights VAN T WESTENDE, Sam (NED) vs DUPRAT, Pierre (FRA) MARGELIDON, Arthur (CAN) vs AXUS, Benjamin (FRA)
1. HASHIMOTO, Soichi (JPN) 2. CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA) 3. DUPRAT, Pierre (FRA) 3. AXUS, Benjamin (FRA) 5. VAN T WESTENDE, Sam (NED) 5. MARGELIDON, Arthur (CAN) 7. MOHYELDIN, Mohamed (EGY) 7. YONDONPERENLEI, Baskhuu (MGL)
10:00 Preliminaries on three mats 17:00 Final block on two mats
The World Championships nears as Russia hosts the third Grand Slam of 2017
The 2017 World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary – which will coincide with the 65th anniversary of the International Judo Federation – is on track to be the grandest and biggest judo showcase of all time in August.
With that spectacular stage looming, the stars are out in force in Ekaterinburg, Russia for the third Grand Slam of the year - following Paris and Baku - and the final edition before August’s annual marquee judo event.
The first edition of the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam is a vital fixture for nations as it offers a major test against not only an array of Russia’s enviable talent pool but also the international elite who are also chasing World Ranking List points and a seeded position at the Worlds which is reserved for top eight judoka in each weight category.
Russia have entered 54 judoka including Olympic champion Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) and Olympic bronze medallist Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS) as team manager Ezio Gamba rotates his squad as the Italian mastermind steers everything towards the Worlds and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Olympic champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA) is among the top international names in action with Olympic medallists and former world champions featuring heavily in the draw.
36 nations found out their fate at Ekaterinburg draw
The draw took place on Friday afternoon at the Estrada Theatre as the nations, coaches, officials and the media were engrossed in the first official business of #JudoRussia2017.
Mr. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director, revealed that 286 judoka (122 women, 164 men) would compete from 36 nations over the two-day competition at the Palace of Sports with seven categories being contested on each day.
CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT 7 RETURNS FOR #JUDORUSSIA2017
London 2012 Olympic champion Lucie DECOSSE (FRA) was among the coaches in attendance at the draw
Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA (below - centre), IJF Education and Coaching Director, said: “Dear Mr. Minister, dear judo friends, dear ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of our President Mr. VIZER, I would like to extend my appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality.
“I would like to thank Ekaterinburg for hosting this Grand Slam. Russia has a special place in judo and I would like to thank our hosts for the excellent organisation. I wish you all good luck.”
IJF delegation at the draw
Mr. Leonid RAPOPORT (below - centre), Minister of Physical Culture and Sport of Sverdlovsk Region, said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all to Ekaterinburg city. It is a great experience for us to host this event, over 5,000 people are involved in judo in this region and three judoka from this region will represent Russia this weekend.”
Mr. Valentin KHABIROV (below - right), Russian Judo Federation Vice President and Executive Director, said: “Ladies and gentlemen I bid you a warm welcome to Ekaterinburg and I am glad to see you here. We want to thank the Ekaterinburg Government for supporting us to host this event. We wish you good luck and hope to see beautiful judo.”
The local organising committee delegation
WOMEN -48kg Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) can clinch world number one status with a victory in Ekaterinburg on Saturday. The Astana Grand Prix winner can leapfrog one-time teammate-turned arch-rival MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) with a third Grand Slam gold medal. Former world champion and fellow Olympic bronze medallist KONDO Ami (JPN) will provide the stiffest opposition while the growing presence of four-time Grand Slam medallist Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) cannot be overlooked.
Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS) should dictate the -52kg category at home on day one. The Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist has all the experience and quality to emerge triumphant from a deep roster of world-class judoka including three-time world medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA) and London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah MENEZES (BRA) who will eventually come good in her new weight category.
Rio 2016 Olympic champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA) be chasing a first Grand Slam gold medal on Saturday as the Brazilian hero aims to top the medal podium for the first time since the Games last summer. The 2013 world champion was fifth in Paris this year and won silver at the Tbilisi Grand Prix in March. European Championships bronze medallist Helene RECEVEAUX (FRA) and former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) are also among the top seeds who could be pitted against the returning former world bronze medallist Miryam ROPER who will now be wearing the colours of Panama. Pan American Championships winner Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN) and her country’s second -57kg starlet Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD are both called upon and will be anxious to perform with the recent news of the incoming Japan-born Christa DEGUCHI being cleared to represent the Great White North from October.
Former European Games winner Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) is the top seed in the -63kg category. The Dusseldorf Grand Prix silver medallist last graced a Grand Slam podium in 2016 when she won bronze in Paris and as the world number eight will be keen for a timely rankings boost to solidify a seeded start in Budapest in August. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Mariana SILVA (BRA) – who finished fifth at her home Olympics – will be joined by teammate and Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Ketleyn QUADROS (BRA). Three-time World Judo Masters winner Kim POLLING (NED) was due to compete at -63kg but elected to sit this one out and may be considering a return at her familiar -70kg category.
Former world number one Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) took silver at the Pan American Championships in April behind Colombian legend Yuri ALVEAR. The 27-year-old has one Grand Slam gold medal to her name which came four years ago in Baku and has her best chance yet to double her gold medal tally as the number one seed in Russia. Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Maria PORTELA (BRA) has won five Grand Slam medals and has to go back to 2012 for her sole victory but it did come in Russia when the country’s premier judo event was held in Moscow. European champion Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) is going to be one of the judoka to follow in this category on the road to Tokyo 2020 and could open her Grand Slam gold medal account on Sunday.
European Championships bronze medallists JOO Abigel (HUN) and Natalie POWELL (GBR) are among the top seeds along with reigning world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) who won the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in February and will be battling to achieve a consistent year. France’s young and highly-talented upstarts Madeleine MALONGA and Sama Hawa CAMARA will vie for honours as Audrey TCHEUMEO sits this one out after her fourth European Championships victory.
European champion Maryna SLUTSKAYA (BLR) is in the form of her life after three wins in a row including capturing her first major title last time. The world number three has won the Prague European Open, Tbilisi Grand Prix and European Championships this year in the space of six weeks and could add a fourth consecutive gold if the 25-year-old can finish unbeaten at a Grand Slam for the first time. European Championships bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) is another European heavyweight whose stock has never been higher but Asia’s new force ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) will be unperturbed by any challenger having been selected to compete at her first World Championships this August in Budapest. Tokai University member ASAHINA, 20, won the Tokyo Grand Slam at the end of 2016 and won the Paris Grand Slam at the start of 2017 before toppling her domestic rivals at the All Japan Openweight Championships in April.
Former European Championships winner Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) starts as the top seed despite a barren spell having not won a competition since 2015. The 28-year-old world number three took silver at his home Grand Prix in March but has not won an IJF World Judo Tour event since clinching the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam title a couple of years ago. Former world silver medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) and his stable mate and former world champion GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL), who were seen pushing tractor tyres up mountains in Ulaanbaatar in their pre-Ekaterinburg camp, are joined in -60kg action by European Championships bronze medallist Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP).
-66kg Top seed DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg (MLG) will be looking for a third Grand Slam triumph when he takes to the tatami on Saturday. On his day the world number two can light up any competition and is a go-to guy in terms of producing highlight reel moments. The 26-year-old has teammate DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) for company in the category while Paris Grand Slam silver medallist ARDANOV Anzaur (RUS) and two-time Grand Slam winner Charles CHIBANA (BRA) have the credentials to present a serious medal challenge.
World number two HASHIMOTO Soichi is part of a nine-strong Japanese team at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam. The 25-year-old, who is undefeated on the tour since 2015, is bidding to win his third Grand Slam and maintain his unbeaten run to go into his first World Championships in August as the favourite. European Championships bronze medallist Tommy MACIAS (SWE) has Grand Slam pedigree having won gold in Abu Dhabi last year and the Swede will be the number two seed at -73kg in Russia. Former Tyumen Grand Slam winner Uali KURZHEV (RUS) will also be seeded and among the leading medal contenders.
Paris Grand Slam winner Frank DE WIT (NED) will be the top -81kg seed ahead of some vastly-experienced and accomplished judoka. The 21-year-old, who has finished seventh at the Baku Grand Slam and fifth at the European Championships since his stunning win in France, will be determined to regain the form that saw him win his first Grand Slam in February. Rio 2016 Olympic champion Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) wears his gold backpatch for the first time in an IJF event as he returns to the circuit following a straightforward victory at the Sarajevo European Cup in April where he eased back into action. World bronze medallist Victor PENALBER (BRA) won the Tbilisi Grand Prix last time out in March and much will also be expected from London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER (CAN) who is competing on the IJF World Judo Tour for the first time in 2017.
Qingdao Grand Prix winner Max STEWART (GBR), who is one of the youngest judoka in the category at 23 years of age, is the number one seed for the first time at a Grand Slam. The British judoka will present his strongest case yet for a Grand Slam podium after two fifth-place finishes. Four-time Grand Slam runner-up Noel VAN T END (NED) and former world silver medallist TOTH Krisztian (HUN) are also in their lower 20’s and seeded for Sunday’s intriguing offering.
The -100kg category features serious firepower as Tbilisi Grand Prix silver Martin PACEK (SWE), world bronze medallist Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL), Olympic silver medallist Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) and two-time Grand Slam silver medallist Alexandre IDDIR (FRA) are all in it to win it on the last day in Russia. Luciano CORREA (BRA) won the World Championships a decade ago and is a surprise inclusion at 34 years old.
Baku Grand Slam silver medallist BOR Barna (HUN) is one of leading names entered in the men’s heavyweight category but that will mean little come Sunday when a hoard of hulking heavyweights size him up with the intention of contesting the last final of the competition. World Judo Masters winner Daniel NATEA (ROU) needs a medal to get back on track after a fruitless first quarter to 2017 while double Olympic bronze medallist Rafael SILVA (BRA) and Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist David MOURA (BRA) will see action in addition to the second Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) who is danger of becoming the forgotten man in his country’s heavyweight dynamic having being usurped by newly-crowned European champion Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) and veteran Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO).
10:00 Preliminaries on three mats 16:30 Opening ceremony 17:00 Final block on two mats
Azerbaijan edge Algeria in men’s thriller while Turkey stuns the hosts in women’s final
The team competition brought the Islamic Solidarity Games judo programme to a crowd-pleasing finale as Azerbaijan
The IJF has proposed a mixed team event to be added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics programme with a final decision by the IOC expected by the Executive Board in June 2017.
A team competition is held on the last day of the IJF’s annual World Championships (cadet, juniors and seniors) and a mixed team format was used at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Dr. Lisa ALLAN, IJF Competition Manager, spoke positively about the competition and highlighted the home country’s use of young technical officials.
“It was nice to see the Azerbaijan Judo Federation using some new, young technical officials at the event. It shows that they are clearly thinking of the future and important events such as next year’s World Championships here in Baku.”
The team competition also received praise as the one-day spectacle has proven to be one of the most thrilling attractions in world sport.
“The team event was very competitive and we look forward to seeing it on a bigger stage which we hope will be the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”
Men’s team event
In the men’s team final hosts Azerbaijan were matched against Algeria.
A rematch of the -66kg individual final kicked off the match as Nijat SHIKHALIZADA (AZE) renewed acquaintances with Houd ZOURDANI (ALG). The Azeri reigned supreme again with 11 seconds left of the contest after the Algerian received a third shido for passivity and was disqualified. Azerbaijan 1 - 0 Algeria
Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) was firmly in control against Oussama DJEDDI (ALG) at the halfway point with the latter having two shidos to his name but without any scores registered. ORUJOV, who took silver in the individual event, attacked with a weak ko-soto-gake and was countered with the same technique by DJEDDI for ippon and a stunning upset. Azerbaijan 1-1 Algeria.
Baku Grand Slam runner-up Rufat ISMAYILOV (AZE) restored his country’s advantage as Algeria did not have a competitor at -81kg and had to forfeit the point. Azerbaijan 2-1 Algeria.
A rematch of the -90kg final came next as Mammadali MEHDIYEV (AZE) fell to Abderrahmane BENMADI (ALG) by a waza-ari as the Algerian avenged his defeat to peg back the home team and restore parity once again. Azerbaijan 2-2 Algeria.
The fate of the men’s team gold medals went down to the last contest of the competition as Ushangi KOKAURI (AZE) fought Nadjib TEMMAR (ALG) with everyone on the line. TEMMAR picked up a right foot injury in the opening 30 seconds and had to hold back the tears as he was now severely restricted in his movement. In incredible drama KOKAURI gave Azerbaijan the edge with a waza-ari and sealed the title for his team by ippon in front of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic Mr. Ilham ALIYEV. Final score Azerbaijan 3-2 Algeria.
Algeria took their place in the men’s final as their team of four beat Kazakakstan’s three-man team on cumulative points having finished all square at 2-2 in their semi-final.
Azerbaijan made their way into the gold medal contest by defeating a young Uzbek team 4-1 in a ruthless display.
The bronze medals were won by Uzbekistan who defeated Saudi Arabia 4-1 and Turkey who bested Kazakhstan 3-2.
Women’s team event
Newcomer and individual gold medallist Bazarragchaa ERDENEBAT (AZE) started off at -52kg but fell to Dilara LOKMANHEKIM (TUR) who made amends for her surprising fifth-place finish even though it was her debut at this weight having moved up from -48kg. Turkey 1-0 Azerbaijan
Turkey doubled their lead when individual bronze medallist Nazlican OZERLER (TUR) threw Ichinkhorloo MUNKHTSEDEV (AZE) for ippon to give their team control of the match. Turkey 2-0 Azerbaijan
The -63kg contest was a rematch of the individual final as Busra KATIPOGLU (TUR) and Khanim HUSEYNOVA (AZE) went the distance with the gold medals on the line. In golden score the score could not have been more delicately poised with both judoka having two shidos and running perilously close to a third shidos which would have resulted in qualification. After three minutes of added time the Turkish judoka attacked with a hip technique for a contest and match-winning score to crown her team as the champions. Turkey 3-0 Azerbaijan
The match became a rout when Sukran BAKACAK (TUR) held down Gulsadaf KARIMOVA (AZE) for 20 seconds with a kesa-gatame for ippon. Turkey 4-0 Azerbaijan
Individual gold medallist and former European champion Kayra SAYIT (TUR) completed the whitewash with victory over Iryna KINDZERSKA (AZE) as the former held down the one-time Ukraine fighter for ippon. Final score Turkey 5-0 Azerbaijan
Turkey, whose team included three individual gold medallists, brushed aside Morocco and Algeria in the round robin (5-0 and 4-1) while Azerbaijan beat Uzbekistan in their semi-final clash.
The one and only set of women’s team bronze medals went to Uzbekistan who defeated Algeria 3-2 in a tense match. Algeria only started with four judoka, with no -70kg athlete, and so already were 1-0 down having had to forfeit that contest. Algeria picked up wins at -57kg and +70kg but Uzbekistan triumphed at -52kg, -63kg and gained the decisive point from the forfeited contest.
Click here for the full results from the Islamic Solidarity Games
The IJF World Judo Tour resumes next week in Russia with the first Ekaterinburg Grand Slam from Saturday 20 – Sunday 21 May. Watch all the action live and free at www.ippon.tv
IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER will hold a Twitter question and answer session in Ekaterinburg on Saturday 20 May from 4pm local time.
Use #AskVizer to submit your questions on Twitter.
Azerbaijan continue to set the pace ahead of Uzbekistan on day two
The heavyweights rounded off two days of intense individual action on the tatami at the Islamic Solidarity Games as hosts Azerbaijan were ever-present on Sunday.
Visually impaired judo was again on show as the Paralympic version of the sport is gaining notoriety for its high level judo and level of professionalism.
Judo is the only martial art in the Paralympic Games programme and the IJF and IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) have an MoU to share resources and expertise for the global development of visually impaired judo.
Mr. Janos TARDOS, Visually Impaired Judo Technical Delegate, said: “I believe that the visually impaired judo was a success here in Baku. The athletes of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan I have to give a special mention to for their degree of skill and the professionalism of their Paralympic judo programme.
“We were also part of the European Games here in 2015 and we have benefited from that experience and exposure. It is a very exciting time to be involved in visually impaired judo as we approach our continental championships including a Visually Impaired Pan American Championships for the first time this year.
“I would like to thank the International Judo Federation and its President Mr. Marius VIZER for his constant support and encouragement. I hope this event will prove to be another important step in the growth of visually impaired judo as we prepare to start a new cycle and our Tokyo 2020 qualification phase.”
Day two showcased seven fully sighted weight categories as the men’s -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg weights shared the tatami with the women’s -70kg, -78kg, +78kg categories in addition to the men’s visually impaired -66kg, -73kg, -90kg and +100kg weights.
In the penultimate women’s final African Championships silver medallist Sarra MZOUGUI (TUN) proved too strong for 20-year-old Cagri GUZELSOY (TUR) as the Tunisian won by ippon.
The women’s heavyweight title went to former European champion Kayra SAYIT (TUR) – one of the most accomplished judoka in the entire competition – who held down Iryna KINDZERSKA (AZE) on her Azeri debut having formerly represented Ukraine.
In the first men’s final of the day Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Saeid MOLLAEI (IRI) defeated Ilker GULDUREN (TUR) with a clever ouchi-gari for ippon at -81kgs.
Up at -90kgs Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Mammadali MEHDIYEV (AZE) bested African Championships bronze medallist Abderrahmane BENAMADI (ALG) by pinning the Algerian judoka with a rudimentary kesa-gatame hold for 20 seconds.
In a dream final for the fans European champion Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) went toe-to-toe against Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Elmar GASIMOV (AZE). It was the 35-year-old veteran who prevailed after GASIMOV received a third penalty for going out of the area.
The men’s heavyweight title was won by Antalya Grand Prix silver medallist Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) who toppled African Championships winner Nadjib TEMMAR (ALG) to top the podium.
Following the competition of the fully sighted judo the attention turned to the visually impaired section with the Paralympic form of the sport being included in Baku 2017 on Saturday and Sunday.
Four men’s visually impaired weight categories brought day two to a compelling close as the home crowd waited to see their hero Ilham ZAKIYEV (AZE) in action.
Before that could happen, the -66kg final opened the visually impaired portion of the final block as
Elchin TALIBOV (AZE) was disqualified for three shidos to hand the gold medal to his teammate Bayram MUSTAFAYEV (AZE).
In the -73kg category Ramil GASIMOV (AZE) came away with gold for the home team as Feruz SAYIDOV (UZB) received a direct hansoku-make for an attack that was deemed to be against the spirit of judo.
Uzbekistan’s medal golden medal trail resumed at -90kg with Shukrat BOBOEV (UZB) throwing Mohammad ALI SHANANI (IRI) for ippon with an uchi-mata with 22 seconds left on the clock.
Double Paralympic champion Ilham ZAKIYEV (AZE) lost out in his semi-final and the hugely disappointed heavyweight took an eternity to leave the field of play having left the tatami as he greeted his many adoring fans.
ZAKIYEV finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Paralympics having won bronze at London 2012 and is still planning one more Games as he aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020. The 37-year-old national hero, who is also the Azerbaijan Paralympic Committee Vice President, won a VI event at the Baku 2015 European Games to huge fanfare.
Azerbaijan’s heavyweight treasure defeated Dursun HAYRAN (TUR) with an osoto-gari after 16 seconds to win bronze and spark wild celebrations in the stands.
In the men’s heavyweight final Shirin SHARIPOV (UZB) denied a home victory as he saw off Kanan ABDULLAKHANLI (AZE) in the last contest on day two.