The Tashkent Grand Prix 2017, the penultimate IJF Grand Prix of the season, opened on Friday with five different countries winning the five weight categories at stake on day one at the Tashkent Sports Arena.
Hosts Uzbekistan, who topped the medal table at their home Grand Prix in the first edition in 2013 and last year, had to settle for two bronze medals on the first day but still have leading medal hopes in the nine remaining categories.
The men's -60kg and -66kg categories were contested along with the women's -48kg, 52kg and -57kg on Friday with 15 of the 27 competing nations engaged in the final block in medal contests.
Official opening ceremony for#JudoUZB2017
Uzbekistan's well-established IJF World Judo Tour event is one of Asia's leading legs on the international circuit and is a popular location for internationals teams due to the high level of competition including a teak-tough Uzbek team, the competition itself and the training facilities (IJF Olympic Training Centre) and the warm atmosphere.
The opening ceremony took place prior to the medal contests on the opening day.
Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA (above), IJF Education and Coaching Director, addressed the crowd.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fifth edition of the Tashkent Grand Prix.
"Judo enjoys great popularity in Uzbekistan and every year we have a fantastic audience here to support our sport.
"On behalf of the IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER I would like to thank the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan for hosting the Grand Prix and their enormous contribution to judo. I wish everyone a successful competition and I declare the Tashkent Grand Prix 2017 open."
Mr. Rustam KURBANOV (above), Chairman of Uzbekistan State Committee of Physical Culture and Sports, said: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, athletes, coaches, officials and guests, I would like to welcome you all to our capital city. Uzbekistan is proud to host a lot of top level sports events and this is a special competition in our programme with the top judoka in the world all gathered here this weekend.
"We hope for you all to have a comfortable stay and may the strongest judoka win. Good luck to everyone."
Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA (above - left), IJF Education and Coaching Director, with Mr. Ahmedbaev ATHAM, JFU Chairman
#1yeartogo until #BuenosAires2018 Youth Olympic Games
6 October marks 1 year to go to until the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the festivities kicked off today in Argentina's capital city which will showcase the world's best young judoka next year as part of a full sports programme.
Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games winner (YOG) ABE Hifumi (JPN) was crowned senior world champion in August.
The 20-year-old world number one hit the headlines in Japan when he won the YOG and was billed as a leading Tokyo 2020 medal hope. ABE is now undefeated since 2015 on the IJF World Judo Tour and thrilled the crowd in Budapest as he won his first senior world title with a sensational performance.
In the next edition of YOG, which has Argentina's own Olympic judo champion Paula PARETO as one of its ambassadors, judo will provide eight individual weight categories as part of the programme in addition to a mixed international team event with nine teams comprised of eight judoka (four boys and four girls)
Day two of the Tashkent Grand Prix will feature four weight categories as the men's -73kg and -81kg judoka will be joined on the two tatami by the women's -63kg and -70kg categories.
European Championships bronze medallist Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) sees action at -63kg and will be one judoka to keep tabs on as Austria have brought their best judoka to Uzbekistan and will continue to make their presence felt on Saturday.
-48kg: Fifth Grand Prix gold for Mongolian maestro MUNKHBAT
World silver medallist MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) continued her fine form and her country's as she won her fifth Grand Prix gold medal on day one in Uzbekistan. MUNKHBAT sent world number five Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) over with pure te-waza and as the Serbian landed MUNKHBAT was already applying the hold down and maintained full control for 20 seconds and Tashkent Grand Prix gold.
In the first semi-final world silver medallist MUNKHBAT submitted European bronze medallist CSERNOVICZKI Eva (HUN) for ippon. In the second semi-final NIKOLIC defeated 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix winner Mariia PERSIDSKAIA (RUS). After a four minute stalemate, the Russian judoka was penalised with a shido for negative gripping after 20 seconds of added time to send her Serbian opponent into the gold medal contest.
The first bronze medal contest was won by PERSIDSKAIA who outclassed Nodira GULOVA (UZB) in the first contest in the final block on day one. The Russian judoka showed quick feet to catch 29-year-old GULOVA - who had won two Grand Prix medals, both bronze, and both in Tashkent -- with a stinging ashi-waza movement for a waza-ari and then submitted her Uzbek adversary with a juji-gatame for ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by CSERNOVICZKI who defeated world number eight Noa MINSKER (ISR) after three minutes in golden score. Hungarian CSERNOVICZKI is ready to embark on her third Olympic cycle towards Tokyo 2020 and went close to scoring with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi in regulation time. MINSKER read subsequent attacks with the same technique and was able to maneuvere off a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi to land on her front. A shido for a false attack against the Israeli settled the contest.
MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL) vs NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)
Bronze Medal Fights
GULOVA, Nodira (UZB) vs PERSIDSKAIA, Mariia (RUS)
CSERNOVICZKI, Eva (HUN) vs MINSKER, Noa (ISR)
1. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)
2. NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)
3. PERSIDSKAIA, Mariia (RUS)
3. CSERNOVICZKI, Eva (HUN)
5. GULOVA, Nodira (UZB)
5. MINSKER, Noa (ISR)
7. PAVLENKO, Anastasia (RUS)
7. TURKMANOVA, Jakhonoy (UZB)
-52kg: Stylish Grand Prix debutant TEMELKOVA takes gold for Israel
IJF World Judo Tour rookie and Grand Prix debutant Betina TEMELKOVA (ISR) starred in the -52kg category with a eyecatching gold medal in Tashkent. TEMELKOVA, 20, defeated three-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Agata PERENC (POL) to complete an incredible debut at the highest level with a masterful ko-soto, that had a hint of a modified kata-guruma about it, to earn ippon and Grand Prix gold at the first time of asking.
In the first semi-final TEMELKOVA dispatched former Zagreb Grand Prix winner Karolina PIENKOWSKA (POL) after four minutes by a waza-ari score after rolling her Polish rival to seal a place in her first Grand Prix final. In the second semi-final Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Ariel BEZALEL (ISR) lost out to PERENC by ippon who had led by a waza-ari score from a drop seoi-nage.
The first bronze medal was clinched by London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Charline VAN SNICK (BEL) who had too much quality for BEZALEL. The Belgian, who was being coached by former French international and 2009 Paris Grand Slam winner Dimitri DRAGIN, scored a waza-ari from a sode-tsurikomi-goshi and held down her opponent with a sankaku-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by 35-year-old Petra NAREKS (SLO) who was all business against 24-year-old PIENKOWSKA. Slovenia's NAREKS scored a waza-ari from a ouchi-gari and held off a plucky challenger from Poland who made sure that the former had to work hard to capture a place on the medal podium in Central Asia.
TEMELKOVA, Betina (ISR) vs PERENC, Agata (POL)
Bronze Medal Fights
VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL) vs BEZALEL, Ariel (ISR)
PIENKOWSKA, Karolina (POL) vs NAREKS, Petra (SLO)
1. TEMELKOVA, Betina (ISR)
2. PERENC, Agata (POL)
3. VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)
3. NAREKS, Petra (SLO)
5. BEZALEL, Ariel (ISR)
5. PIENKOWSKA, Karolina (POL)
7. ADIYASAMBUU, Tsolmon (MGL)
7. TUITEKOVA, Aigunim (KAZ)
-57kg: Poland's BOROWSKA takes pole position for the first time at a Grand Prix
Minsk European Open bronze medallist Anna BOROWSKA (POL) celebrated the biggest win of her career at the expense of former European Championships bronze medallist Timna NELSON LEVY (ISR) in the -57kg final. Former Junior European Championships winner BOROWSKA threw the Israeli with an o-goshi to level up their head-to-head series at 1-1 during a positive start for Poland.
In the first semi-final NELSON LEVY beat veteran Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) by two waza-ari scores to advance to the final. The Israeli was in the ascendancy from the start and took the contest to the Austrian which is an achievement in itself. NELSON LEVY scored twice and FILZMOSER could not impose herself as she moved down into the bronze medal equation. In the second semi-final BOROWSKA threw 21-year-old Minsk European Open silver medallist Giulia CAGGIANO (ITA) for the maximum score after three minutes of golden score. The Polish judoka sent the Italian youngster flat onto her back with force from a osoto-gari which was one of the ippons of the day.
The first bronze medal was won by 17-year-old European Youth Olympic Festival winner Kaja KAJZER (SLO) after a spirited contest against CAGGIANO. KAJZER will compete in the Junior World Championships later this month in Zagreb, Croatia, with a Grand Prix medal already on her resume after seeing off the young Italian after 6 minutes and 34 seconds of golden score. CAGGIANO was penalised for going out of the area to finish in fifth-place to bring an end to a contest which saw both judoka go toe-to-toe for over 10 minutes.
The second bronze medal was won by Sevara NISHANBAYEVA (KAZ) who won Tashkent Grand Prix bronze for the second year in a row at the expense of FILZMOSER. Kazakh judoka NISHANBAYEVA scored a waza-ari with an osoto-makikomi and trapped the Austrian in a kuzure-kesa-gatame but FILZMOSER escaped after 19 seconds. NISHANBAYEVA made sure with three seconds left with a ouchi-gari for ippon.
NELSON LEVY, Timna (ISR) vs BOROWSKA, Anna (POL)
Bronze Medal Fights
KAJZER, Kaja (SLO) vs CAGGIANO, Giulia (ITA)
FILZMOSER, Sabrina (AUT) vs NISHANBAYEVA, Sevara (KAZ)
1. BOROWSKA, Anna (POL)
2. NELSON LEVY, Timna (ISR)
3. KAJZER, Kaja (SLO)
3. NISHANBAYEVA, Sevara (KAZ)
5. CAGGIANO, Giulia (ITA)
5. FILZMOSER, Sabrina (AUT)
7. ABILKADIROVA, Aigerim (KAZ)
7. LEUNG, Po Sum (HKG)
-60kg: Azeri SHIRINLI earns first IJF World Judo Tour gold medal
Former Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Vugar SHIRINLI (AZE) struck -60kg gold for Azerbaijan's five-man team in Tashkent as he not only rediscovered his medal winning touch but made a breakthrough on the Grand Prix stage for the first time. Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Islam YASHUEV (RUS) took silver after falling by a waza-ari after four minutes. YASHUEV had won silver and bronze before at this level but today earned himself a gold medal that could see him play an increased role in the Azeri team.
In the first semi-final SHIRINLI bested 21-year-old Junior Asian Championships bronze medallist Doston RUZIEV (UZB) by two waza-ari scores. SHIRINLI threw RUZIEV with a drop seoi-nage for a waza-ari and the the crowd sensed that their judoka may have to turn his attention to going for bronze instead of gold. That was the case as the travelling Azeri doubled his advantage with a second waza-ari and secured a place in his first Grand Prix final.
In the second semi-final Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Sharafuddin LUTFILLAEV (UZB) fell to YASHUEV by a waza-ari score. The Russian judoka caught the Uzbekistan star off guard when he launched an uchi-mata which was the only score of the contest as LUTFILLAEV failed to threaten the scoreboard.
The first bronze medal was won by LUTFILLAEV who beat Uzbekistan's number three in the category and Asian Championships bronze medallist Mukhriddin TILOVOV (UZB). LUTFILLAEV opened the scoring with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata and when he went back to it TILOVOV attempted to avoid giving away the score by bridging which is against the rules due to the potential injury risk and the youngster was disqualified.
The second bronze medal was won by world number 170 Abylaikhan SHARATOV (KAZ) when RUZIEV tried to bridge and received hansoku-make after only 13 seconds. SHARATOV was appearing in a Grand Prix for the second time and completed a medal-winning day to ensure more outings for Kazakhstan before the year is out while RUSTIEV will rue his error.
SHIRINLI, Vugar (AZE) vs YASHUEV, Islam (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights
TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB) vs LUTFILLAEV, Sharafuddin (UZB)
RUZIEV, Doston (UZB) vs SHARATOV, Abylaikhan (KAZ)
1. SHIRINLI, Vugar (AZE)
2. YASHUEV, Islam (RUS)
3. LUTFILLAEV, Sharafuddin (UZB)
3. SHARATOV, Abylaikhan (KAZ)
5. TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB)
5. RUZIEV, Doston (UZB)
7. BOQIEV, Sukhrob (TJK)
7. SUBHONOV, Rakhimjon (UZB)
-66kg: Belarus youngster MINKOU produces career-best performance
Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist Dzmitry MINKOU (BLR) defeated Asian Championships bronze medallist GANBOLD Kherlen (MGL) to win -66kg gold. MINKOU, 21, defeated GANBOLD, 25, who moved up the -66kg last year, by two waza-ari scores. GANBOLD launched a reaching ouchi-gari but was off balance and MINKOU used his upper body to drive him over for a waza-ari score. A defensive MINKOU then feared the uchi-mata from the Mongolian but then added a second waza-ari score having only seconds earlier slipped off a utsuri-goshi attempt from GANBOLD. The Belarus judoka, who started the day ranked 15th in the world, will now be pushing for a place in the top 10 and has all but assured himself of a spot in December's invite-only World Judo Masters.
In the first semi-final GANBOLD defeated Minsk European Open silver medallist Artur TE (KGZ) with little resistance. The Mongolian scored a waza-ari from an uchi-mata and then moved into the osaekomi as he held down TE for 20 seconds, ending in a kami-shiho-gatame position. In the second semi-final Sardor NURILLAEV (UZB) was thrown for ippon which silenced the home crowd. MINKOU needed 76 seconds to cleverly catch his Uzbek opponent with a ko-soto-gari for ippon to guarantee his first Grand Prix medal.
The first bronze medal was won by NURILLAEV after world number seven Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR) was penalised with a shido in golden score after 10 seconds for a leg grab. It represented a first IJF medal for 22-year-old NURILLAEV who will now jump up the rankings from the his lowly number 43 position in the -66kg category.
The second bronze medal went to DOVDON by a single score against Artur TE (KGZ). Mongolian DOVDON countered a weak seoi-nage attempt to lift his opponent with a ura-nage for a waza-ari score and he protected his advantage to win his ninth career Grand Prix medal.
GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL) vs MINKOU, Dzmitry (BLR)
Bronze Medal Fights
NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB) vs SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR)
TE, Artur (KGZ) vs DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)
1. MINKOU, Dzmitry (BLR)
2. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)
3. NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB)\
3. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)
5. SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR)
5. TE, Artur (KGZ)
7. JEREB, Andraz (SLO)
7. VAN GANSBEKE, Kenneth (BEL)
12.00 Preliminaries on two mats
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg
12:00 Preliminaries on two mats
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Location: Tashkent Sports Arena