Hosts Azerbaijan dominate from the outset

The fourth edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games surged into life on Saturday with all eyes on the tatami as Olympic and world judo medallists were in action at the Heydar Aliyev Arena.

Day one featured seven fully sighted weight categories as the men’s -60kg, -66kg and -73kg weights shared the tatami with the women’s -48kg, -52kg, -57kg and -63kg categories in addition to the women’s visually impaired -57kg and -70kg weights.

Hosts Azerbaijan were represented in all nine finals including four all-Azeri gold medal clashes.

The first final of the day pitted two Azeri judoka against each other and it was Bazarragcha ERDENEBAT (AZE) who marked her debut for her new country by winning -48kg gold by a waza-ari against new teammate Aisha GURBANLI (AZE). ERDENEBAT, 21, previously competed for Mongolia.

The second women’s final saw Nazakat AZIZOVA (AZE - above, blue) defend her country’s pride against Irem KORKMAZ (TUR). The home judoka fell behind to a waza-ari from an uchi-mata and never recovered as KORKMAZ broke the Azeri grasp on the gold medals with a tactically astute display to clinch the -52kg title.   

In the -57kg final African Championships silver medallist Ratiba TARIKET (ALG) met three-time Grand Slam bronze medallist Kifayat GASIMOVA (AZE). A waza-ari from TARIKET was the difference after four minutes as veteran GASIMOVA could not maintain her country’s searing pace while Algeria could celebrate their first gold medal.

Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist and top seed Busra KATIPOGLU (TUR) made sure that four different countries won the four gold medals at stake in the women’s fully sighted competition on day one. KATIPOGLU defeated the second Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist from March in Khanim HUSEYNOVA (AZE) in just over a minute as the home judoka was penalised three times in quick succession to receive hansoku-make after going out of the area twice and failing to take a grip.

In the men’s -60kg category world number one Orkhan SAFAROV (AZE) delivered a thrilling finale as he scored a waza-ari and pinned down former Samsun Grand Prix winner Bekir OZLU (TUR) with 25 seconds left having trailed to a waza-ari. The Azeri tied up the Turkish fighter on the ground for 19 seconds to add a second waza-ari and seal a dramatic home victory.

One more of Azerbaijan’s leading champions was in action in the next weight category up as world number four Nijat SHIKHALIZADA (AZE) fought African Championships winner Houd ZOURDANI (ALG). The -66kg gold medal remained in Azerbaijan as SHIKHALIZADA threw beautifully for ippon after 46 seconds with a textbook uchi-mata. The medals were presented by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev who had a special embrace with winner SHIKHALIZADA before the familiar sounds of the hosts’ anthem played out at the Heydar Aliyev Arena.

A mouth-watering men’s final that many hoped for when the draw was made on Friday came to fruition as European champion Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE) squared off against Olympic silver medallist and

Islamic Solidarity Games 2017 Ambassador Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) with the top -73kg prize on the line. The 19-year-old world number five repeated his Paris Grand Slam win over world leader ORUJOV by osaekomi as he moved from yoko-shiho-gatame to kami-shiho-gatame and his older teammate was powerless in his attempts to escape.

Day one concluded with two Visually Impaired women’s judo titles up for grabs. They were both all-Azeri encounters which ensured that the Azerbaijan anthem would be played for a fifth and sixth time to the delight of the public. 

The -57kg VI final saw Afag SULTANOVA (AZE) come from behind to defeat compatriot Sevda VALIYEVA (AZE). The latter led by a waza-ari from an impressive uchi-mata but in the final minute SULTANOVA pushed the pace and trapped her adversary on the ground in a pin for 20 seconds and ippon.  

The -70kg final and last contest of the day matched Ramila KASHTAYEVA (AZE) against Turana AGHAYEVA (AZE). The former reigned as she threw with an uchi-mata after 10 seconds and followed up with groundwork and AGHAYEVA elected to tap out while in a yoko-shiho-gatame hold

Click here for the full results from day 1.  

What is the Islamic Solidarity Games?

The Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) is the organisation responsible for the direction and control of the ISG. ISSF is a section of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference) is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations, and has a membership of 57 states, across four continents.

The OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim world to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony throughout of the world.

The official website of The Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF): www.issf.sa

This is the fourth edition of the multi-sport, multi-national Islamic Solidarity Games which were first held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2005. 

Who is competing?

Olympic, world and Paralympic medallists are among the judoka with 34 nations and 135 judoka represented in the fully sighted competition alone.

Find the full list of competitors here: http://www.ippon.org/isg_2017.php

How are the IJF involved?

The IJF has sent a number representatives from its various commissions to support the competition in areas such as competition management, sporting matters, refereeing, anti-doping, education and coaching, media and information technology.

IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER is also in Baku attending the Islamic Solidarity Games.

How can I follow the event?

Live results are available at http://www.ippon.org/isg_2017.php

For more information on the Islamic Solidarity Games, Baku 2017, visit www.baku2017.com 

COMPETITION PROGRAMME
Sunday - Individual

10:00 - 14:00 Preliminaries on two mats 
18:00 - 21:30 Final block on two mats 

Women: -70kg, -78kg, +78kg 
Men: -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Men’s visually impaired judo: -66kg, -73kg, -90kg, +100kg

Monday - Teams

10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries on two mats
15:00 - 18:00 Final block on two mats

Location: Heydar Aliyev Arena  

ijf.org - 13. May 2017