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THE ROAD TO RIO 2016 IS OPEN
DAY - 1
One could expect a final between the world champion of Rio de Janeiro in 2013, Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL), and the current Olympic champion, Brazilian Sarah Menezes. If the first smoothly reached the final, it was not the same for Menezes, who lost in her first fight against Shira RISHONY (ISR). The 24-year-old and still ranked world number two Brazilian is struggling to get back to her best since her title brilliantly won in London 2012.
In the final, Munkhbat was opposed to Charline Van SNICK (BEL) who made her way to the podium by defeating, in the second round, the reigning world champion, Japan’s Kondo Ami. Both athletes perfectly cancelled each other out for more than three minutes, but Munkhbat was less active than Van SNICK and was penalized with a single shido which offered the victory to the Belgian.
The first bronze medal fight opposed the number 13 and 14 in the World Ranking List, respectively Monica UNGUREANU (ROU), winner of the Qingdao Grand Prix last year, and the bronze medallist of the last 2014 IJF event (Tokyo Grand Slam) JEONG Bo Kyeong (KOR). After the first minute, UNGUREANU was leading by a penalty, but this advantage was then reduced to nothing when she was also penalized. A few seconds later Kyeong scored with a shoulder movement combined with a leg attack for yuko, taking a more significant advantage. The Romanian, who was penalized a third time, was never able to put her opponent in danger and finally the first bronze medal of the competition went to JEONG Bo Kyeong.
Regularly present on the international podiums, Valentina Moscatt (ITA - Grand Slam Tyumen 2014: 3. place, Grand Prix Budapest 2014: 2. place, Grand Prix Astana 2014: 3. place) was again present in the final block of this first day of competition as she faced the two-time world champion, Asami Haruna (JPN - Tokyo 2010 and Paris 2011). After one minute and a half, Valentina MOSCATT was penalized with a first shido for a negative fighting attitude and again a few seconds later for false attack. The two penalties were enough for ASAMI to step on the podium.
MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL) vs. VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)
Bronze Medal Fights
JEONG, Bo Kyeong (KOR) vs. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)
MOSCATT, Valentina (ITA) vs. ASAMI, Haruna (JPN)
1. VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)
2. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)
3. ASAMI, Haruna (JPN)
3. JEONG, Bo Kyeong (KOR)
5. MOSCATT, Valentina (ITA)
5. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)
7. RISHONY, Shira (ISR)
7. XIE, Shishi (CHN)
The top favourites had a little trouble today in the -52kg category, since it was necessary to go back to the 6th and 8th seeded athletes to find the two finalists: MA Yingnan (CHN) and MISATO Nakamura (JPN). Following the retirement of its golden generation from Beijing in 2008, China is seeking new flagship judoka to continue the development of judo in the country. That may be the case with MA Yingnan who ended at the bottom of the podium on the occasion of the last world championships in Chelyabinsk, but won the Ulaanbaatar and Qingdao Grand Prix in 2014. Nakamura reaches again her best level after her title at the 2011 world championships in Paris, where she topped the podium.
MA Yingnan totally controlled the final, blocking all her opponent’s attacks and being active enough to avoid being penalized. NAKAMURA was penalized once during the regular time, but this small penalty was enough for MA to win the first Grand Prix of the season, securing some precious points for the Olympic qualification.
The top seeded athlete of the competition, Andreea Chitu (ROU), still managed to reach again the final block of a major international competition. For the bronze medal she was opposed to Skrypnik Darya (BLR) who currently only had a 5th place at an IJF event on her record. Just after 1 minute and a half was necessary to Chitu to score a superb hip makikomi technique for a clear ippon.
The second bronze medal was disputed between Mareen KRAEH who had the opportunity to offer a first medal to the host country and the Israeli, Gili Cohen, winner of the first edition of the Tbilisi Grand Pris last year. When the two athletes entered the field of play, the noise level clearly increased in the stadium. After 30 seconds, when KRAEH scored a first yuko with a o-soto-gari, the public exploded for the first time. This explosion was followed by a second one a few seconds later when the German again scored a yuko with a sasae technique. It was not even the halfway point of the match. A few penalties later, KRAEH could finally celebrate her victory and the first medal for Germany.
MA, Yingnan (CHN) vs. NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
CHITU, Andreea (ROU) vs. SKRYPNIK, Darya (BLR)
KRAEH, Mareen (GER) vs. COHEN, Gili (ISR)
1. MA, Yingnan (CHN)
2. NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN)
3. CHITU, Andreea (ROU)
3. KRAEH, Mareen (GER)
5. COHEN, Gili (ISR)
5. SKRYPNIK, Darya (BLR)
7. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)
7. MAROS, Barbara (HUN)
World medallist and European champion Automne Pavia (FRA), undoubtedly came to Düsseldorf to show her supremacy over the -57kg weight category. But this was without counting on the desire to win of LIEN Chen-Ling (TPE) who blocked her way to the final already in the quarterfinals. In the first half of the draw of the French, it is ultimately the gold medallist of the 2013 Tyumen Masters, DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL), who secured a place on the podium by defeating LIEN. In the second half of the draw, the task was also very complicated for Rafaela Silva (BRA), world champion in 2013 in Rio, who had to fight for nearly four minutes with Laetitia BLOT (FRA) in golden score before she could enjoy seeing the referee announcing ippon after her last effort to throw the French.
It took only a few seconds for Silva to score a first waza-ari against DORJSUREN and almost four more minutes to put an end to her competition day, with a ippon, 14 seconds before the final gong.
Clearly not yet back to her best, Automne Pavia still managed to enter the final block where she was opposed to her compatriot Laetitia Blot for a place on the podium. Clearly bothered by the longer arms of PAVIA and her ample attacks, and despite the high rhythm that she tried to impose, BLOT was incapable of putting PAVIA in danger. The world bronze medallist, controlled the fight and scored a uchi-mata for ippon. But the ippon was changed to waza-ari. Blot then tried to push PAVIA to make mistakes and she almost succeeded as PAVIA was penalized three times for stepping out of the tatami. But this was not enough for BLOT to step on the podium.
In the second bronze final, the bronze medallist at the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam, KARAKAS Hedvig (HUN) was opposed to LIEN Chen-Ling (TPE), but due to an injury, LIEN could not compete and the medal went to KARAKAS Hedvig.
DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL) vs. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)
Bronze Medal Fights
PAVIA, Automne (FRA) vs. BLOT, Laetitia (FRA)
KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN) vs. LIEN, Chen-Ling (TPE)
1. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)
2. DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL)
3. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)
3. PAVIA, Automne (FRA)
5. BLOT, Laetitia (FRA)
5. LIEN, Chen-Ling (TPE)
7. EQUISOAIN, Jaione (ESP)
7. KIM, Jan-Di (KOR)
The -60kg weight category was also difficult for the favourites as word number 1, GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL), world number 2, Amiran PAPINASHVIL (GEO), world number 4 Orkhan SAFAROV (AZE) and world number 5 TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) were eliminated and therefore not present on the podium at the end of the day.
World number 7 and winner of the 2014 Tokyp Grand Slam, KIM Won Jin (KOR), was the first to enter the final against the other Japanese athlete of the category, SHISHIME Toru, who was not among the top eight favourites of the competition. After three minutes, only penalties were visible on the scoreboard, with two for each fighter. The third penalty given to Kim, secured the victory for SHISHIME.
The first bronze medal fight opposed IBRAYEV, Rustam (KAZ) and PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO). It took less than a minute for IBRAYEV to launch a one arm sumi-gaeshi for a perfect ippon, leaving world number 2 and Moscow Grand Slam winner, PAPINASHVILI, at the bottom of the podium.
Junior world champion Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP) entered his first world judo tour final block for a place on the podium against Phelipe PELIM (BRA). Even if GARRIGOS looked more active and seemed to run nonstop throughout the fight, the first to score was the Brazilian, with a arai-makikomi for yuko. This small advantage was enough to secure the victory, but Francisco GARRIGOS definitely showed that he will be a very strong competitor in the future.
KIM, Won Jin (KOR) vs. SHISHIME, Toru (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
IBRAYEV, Rustam (KAZ) vs. PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO)
PELIM, Phelipe (BRA) vs. GARRIGOS, Francisco (ESP)
1. SHISHIME, Toru (JPN)
2. KIM, Won Jin (KOR)
3. IBRAYEV, Rustam (KAZ)
3. PELIM, Phelipe (BRA)
5. GARRIGOS, Francisco (ESP)
5. PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO)
7. LIMARE, Vincent (FRA)
7. REBAHI, Mohamed (ALG)
The top seeded athlete and 2014 Asian Games winner, DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg, entered the final, where he was opposed to TAKAICHI Kengo (JPN), ranked 15 in the world and winner of the first edition of the Budapest Grand Prix, last year. In the semi-final, DAVAADORJ defeated the two-time-winner of the Paris Grand Slam, David Larose, who is coming back after a long period away from the tatami due to an injury.
After half of the final, TAKAICHI was leading by a penalty difference, as DAVAADORJ had received two shido penalties. One penalty later, but this time to the Japanese, was not enough for the Mongolian to get the ultimate award and he had to remain on the second step of the podium.
Beside the two finalists and David LAROSE who were among the favourites of the competition, none of the other top seeded athletes were able to enter the final block. The first bronze medal fight opposed Yakub SHAMILOV (RUS) and Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO). In the opening seconds SHAMILOV produced a first effort with a powerful tomoe-nage for waza-ari. But after 2 minutes and 5 seconds, MARGVELASHVILI, executed a ko-soto-gari, with a perfect timing for ippon.
The second bronze medal fight saw An Baul (KOR) entering the tatami against David Larose (FRA). The Korean was also the first to score with a shoulder movement for yuko, while the French, slower and less precise than his opponent, was penalized for passivity. This first yuko was enough for AN to step on the second World Judo Tour podium of his career, after the silver medal gained last year in Jeju.
DAVAADORJ, Tumurkhuleg (MGL) vs. TAKAICHI, Kengo (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
SHAMILOV, Yakub (RUS) vs. MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO)
AN, Baul (KOR) vs. LAROSE, David (FRA)
1. TAKAICHI, Kengo (JPN)
2. DAVAADORJ, Tumurkhuleg (MGL)
3. AN, Baul (KOR)
3. MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO)
5. LAROSE, David (FRA)
5. SHAMILOV, Yakub (RUS)
7. GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO)
7. KHALFAOUI, Houcem (TUN)
Of the eight top seeded athletes in the -63kg category, only two athletes were still present in the final block, since Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO), Edwige GWEND (ITA), Anne-Laure BELLARD (FRA), JOUNG Da-Woon ( KOR), Junxia YANG (CHN) and Hannah MARTIN (USA) were prematurely eliminated from the competition. The two finalists were not unknown as TSEDEVSUREN Munkhzaya (MGL) had already stepped on the podium of a World Judo Tour event three times and Alice SCHLESINGER (GBR) was bronze medalist at the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam but that was for Israel.
It took a little bit more than one minute for Alice SCHLESINGER to write the first line of her new career with Great Britain by scoring a clear ippon with an unstoppable uchi-mata on the edge of the fighting area. The silver medal of TSEDEVSUREN is the fourth one of the tournament for Mongolia.
The first bronze medal was disputed between Mariana SILVA (BRA), winner of the 2014 Panamerican Open in Buenos Aires, and TASHIRO Miku (JPN), bronze medalist at the last world championships in Russia. SILVA rapidly scored a yuko, but TASHIRO took again the lead with a waza-ari. Silva again scored a second yuko with a counter attack, but this was not enough to jump in front again. With one waza-ari against two yuko, TASHIRO Miku won the first bronze medal of the day.
The second third place was entirely European, since the Austrian Magdalena KRSSAKOVA opposed the German Martyna TRAJDOS who had failed in the semi-finals against Schlesinger. If most of the fight was led by the German with only one shido, she suddenly found a small opportunity to throw her opponent with ko-uchi-gari for waza-ari. Just before the end of the match, she added one yuko to the scoreboard to secure her third place.
SCHLESINGER, Alice (GBR) vs. TSEDEVSUREN, Munkhzaya (MGL)
Bronze Medal Fights
SILVA, Mariana (BRA) vs. TASHIRO, Miku (JPN)
KRSSAKOVA, Magdalena (AUT) vs. TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER)
1. SCHLESINGER, Alice (GBR)
2. TSEDEVSUREN, Munkhzaya (MGL)
3. TASHIRO, Miku (JPN)
3. TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER)
5. KRSSAKOVA, Magdalena (AUT)
5. SILVA, Mariana (BRA)
7. BAZYNSKI, Nadja (GER)
7. HERRMANN, Vivian (GER)
It was necessary to search for the thirteenth position in the world ranking list to find the first finalist of the day in the -70kg category. To reach the final ARAI Chizuru (JPN) eliminated Lea PUESCHEL (GER), Anzhela MAROZAVA (BLR) Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) and Iljana MARZOK (GER). For the title of champion of the Grand Prix, she was opposed to the first German representative reaching a final in Düsseldorf, Szaundra DIEDRICH (GER), who was third in the Grand Prix of Astana last year.
After a minute of observation, the first strong attack came from Szaundra DIEDRICH but for no score. Then Arai was penalized for stepping outside of the fighting area. At the half of the final, the German launched what looked like a perfect uchi-mata, but lacking of arm control, she could not conclude her movement. It was the time for Arai to take the lead with a small yuko with a ko-uchi-barai, a yuko which was enough to win the fourth gold medal for Japan on the occasion of this 2015 edition of the Düsseldorf Grand Prix.
The young Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED), having only a fifth place in the 2014 World Junior Championships to her credit, and Iljana MARZOK (GER), winner of the Qingdao Grand Prix in 2014, were opposed in the first match for a bronze medal. A little more than one minute was necessary for VAN DIJKE to score ippon with a superb counter attack.
In the second match for the bronze medal, Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) met Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER). Although the German was the top seeded athlete of the tournament, she was defeated in the semi-final by teammate Szaundra DIEDRICH, who created the surprise of the day in the weigh category. Due to an injury, Laura VARGAS KOCH could not compete and Kelita ZUPANICIC was awarded with the third place.
DIEDRICH, Szaundra (GER) vs. ARAI, Chizuru (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED) vs. MARZOK, Iljana (GER)
ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN) vs. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)
1. ARAI, Chizuru (JPN)
2. DIEDRICH, Szaundra (GER)
3. VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)
3. ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN)
5. MARZOK, Iljana (GER)
5. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)
7. BAKACAK, Sukran (TUR)
7. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)
If ONO was not among the favorites of the competition, it is because he was not part of the top 8 seeded athletes of the category. Nevertheless, it was obvious that the 2013 world champion in Rio, had a great chance to reach the final in Düsseldorf, and that's what he did without having to put in too much energy, except against the young Korean AN Changrin in the semi-final, where he eventually won by waza-ari. In the final he was opposed to the world number 12, Georgian Nugzari TATALASHVILI, who made a flawless competition until then.
ONO was penalized with a first shido for stepping out of the fighting area after a few seconds, but he immediately took the control over the final by scoring waza-ari with an uchi-mata. After a little more than two minutes, TATALASHVILI trying to find some opportunities to come back, was surprised by the counter attack of the Japanese fighter who literally incrusted the Georgian into the tatami.
The number one seeded, MUKI Sagi (ISR), could only claim up to a bronze medal, as he was eliminated by AN, junior world champion in 2014 during the preliminary rounds. But for this he had to first face Marcelo CONTINI (BRA). After two minutes, MUKI was already leading with a waza-ari and a yuko. The Israeli concluded the fight with a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for a second waza-ari.
The second third place was disputed between Victor SCVORTOV (UAE), bronze medalist of the last World Championships in Chelyabinsk and AN Changrim (KOR). After less than a minute, AN scored the first with a left handed eri-seoi-nage for waza-ari. Always first on Kumikata, quicker and more precise than his opponent, AN showed that at his young age he is already a well accomplished judoka.
ONO, Shohei (JPN) vs. TATALASHVILI, Nugzari (GEO)
Bronze Medal Fights
MUKI, Sagi (ISR) vs. CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA)
SCVORTOV, Victor (UAE) vs. AN, Changrim (KOR)
1. ONO, Shohei (JPN)
2. TATALASHVILI, Nugzari (GEO)
3. AN, Changrim (KOR)
3. MUKI, Sagi (ISR)
5. CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA)
5. SCVORTOV, Victor (UAE)
7. CHAINE, Guillaume (FRA)
7. GANBAATAR, Odbayar (MGL)
Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO), who was designated as the top ranked male athlete of 2014 (in all categories) confirmed his supremacy over the -81kg by entering the final against Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL), who surprised everybody by defeating the 2013 world champion Loïc Pietri from France.
Two minutes and 15 seconds were necessary to see the first penalty on the scoreboard, when both athletes were penalized for passivity. Moments later, TCHRIKISHVILI received a second penalty but still remained in the balance for the world champion. Almost out of breath, Joachim BOTTIEAU produced a fantastic effort to avoid all the Georgian’s attacks and slowly but surely kept that one penalty advantage until the final gong, to write his name on the top of today’s results.
In the first bronze medal fight Loïc Pietri, who looked a little tired today, was opposed to Laszlo CSOKNYAI (HUN), who obtained a silver medal in Tunisia earlier this year on the occasion of the African Open. It took almost three minutes for Pietri to score a first yuko with a counter attack. Lacking of speed and accuracy the Frenchman showed a more defensive dimension today in Düsseldorf, but it was enough to finally secure the bronze and 120 world ranking points.
The second bronze medal fight saw again the Canadian Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER, who is accustomed to international podiums (bronze medallist in London 2012 and world silver medallist in Chelyabinsk) and the local judoka Sven MARESCH fought for a place on the podium. But in front of his public, MARESCH immediately showed that he was the leader on the tatami, and he scored a superb ippon before the halfway point of the fight.
TCHRIKISHVILI, Avtandili (GEO) vs. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL)
Bronze Medal Fights
CSOKNYAI, Laszlo (HUN) vs. PIETRI, Loic (FRA)
VALOIS-FORTIER, Antoine (CAN) vs. MARESCH, Sven (GER)
1. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL)
2. TCHRIKISHVILI, Avtandili (GEO)
3. MARESCH, Sven (GER)
3. PIETRI, Loic (FRA)
5. CSOKNYAI, Laszlo (HUN)
5. VALOIS-FORTIER, Antoine (CAN)
7. STEVENS, Travis (USA)
7. STSIASHENKA, Aliaksandr (BLR)
DAY - 3
In the women’s -78kg weight category, if Luise MALZAHN (GER) was the top seeded athlete, former world and reigning Olympic champion, Kayla HARRISON (USA), was definitely the woman to beat today in Düsseldorf, especially after her last victory on the occasion of the Tokyo Grand Slam on 5 December 2014. With no surprise, the American entered the final after her victories against Laia TALARN (ESP), Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) and SATO Ruika (JPN). In the final she faced the second top seeded athlete, Anamari VELENSEK (SLO), who won the Paris Grand Slam in 2014.
After one minute, both athletes were penalized with a shido for passivity. The American took this opportunity to launch her first main attack scoring an opportunist ko-uchi-gari for yuko. HARRISON was then penalized for a wrong grip. A last action from HARRISON, which started before the final gong, but ended after for no score didn’t change the final score and the American added one more line to her impressive prize list.
In the first bronze medal fight, Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) and 2013 Moscow Grand Slam winner, JOO Abigel (HUN) met for a place on the podium. The Hungarian bided her time until the second half of the fight to score a o-soto-gari for waza-ari but it was changed to a yuko.
The second bronze medal fight saw tho non-seeded athletes having the chance to step on the podium: Daria POGORZELEC (POL), who only won a bronze medal on the occasion of a World Judo Tour event and SATO Ruika (JPN), already winner of two Grand Slam titles in her career. The experience of the Japanese was clearly enough to give her the chance to reach the podium as she scored a o-uchi-gari for yuko, which she saved until the final gong.
HARRISON, Kayla (USA) vs. VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)
Bronze Medal Fights
STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED) vs. JOO, Abigel (HUN)
POGORZELEC, Daria (POL) vs. SATO, Ruika (JPN)
1. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
2. VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)
3. JOO, Abigel (HUN)
3. SATO, Ruika (JPN)
5. POGORZELEC, Daria (POL)
5. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)
7. ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB)
7. SOARES, Samanta (BRA)
In the women’s +78kg weight category, the surprise came from the fact that the two top seeded athletes, Franziska KONITZ (GER) and YU Song (CHN) were not able to enter the final, the Chinese being defeated during the preliminary rounds. It was the third and fourth seeded competitors who finally fought for gold, YAMABE Kanae (JPN) and Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN).
In the final, CHEIKH ROUHOU was rapidly penalized with a first shido, and again before the halfway point of the fight. Both fighters looked set to trade penalties, until YAMABE Kanae applied a sweeping movement with perfect timing for ippon.
Among the four athletes qualified in the bronze medal fights, only one was not seeded, Carolin WEISS (GER), the three others being the two Ukrainian Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR) and Svitlana IAROMKA and the top seeded and third in the world ranking list, Franziska KONITZ (GER), who had an occasion, together with her teammate WEISS, to add one more medal to the German prize list. Thus the first bronze medal fight took place between Iryna KINDZERSKA and Carolin WEISS (GER) and after a long gripping battle, WEISS won the bout by two penalties against one.
Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR) and Franziska KONITZ (GER) faced for the second bronze medal on the podium and this match had exactly the same outcome as the previous one, as KONITZ won for Germany with two penalties against one.
YAMABE, Kanae (JPN) vs. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)
Bronze Medal Fights
KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR) vs. WEISS, Carolin (GER)
IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR) vs. KONITZ, Franziska (GER)
1. YAMABE, Kanae (JPN)
2. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)
3. KONITZ, Franziska (GER)
3. WEISS, Carolin (GER)
5. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)
5. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)
7. KOCATURK, Gulsah (TUR)
7. KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)
In the men’s -90kg weight category, Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) confirmed his first place in the world ranking list by entering the final, hoping that he would not imitate his teammate Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI who lost in yesterday’s final of the -81kg category. The big surprise came from the presence of the Russian, Kazbek ZANKISHIEV, to face the Georgian for the Grand Prix title. Only ranked 120 in the world, ZANKISHIEV only had a silver medal at the Tallin European Cup, obtained in September 2014, so far. But throughout the preliminaries, he showed great skills and consistency, successively defeating Mihail MARCHITAN (UAE), Guillaume ELMONT (NED), Mewene FEKIR (ALG), Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) and NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) in the semi-final.
After 25 seconds, LIPARTELIANI launched a first homemade uchi-mata, but ZANKISHIEV easily escaped for no score. But being less active than the Georgian, the Russian was penalized with a first shido, followed a few seconds later by a second one. Just after the first three minutes, and a long ground work session, world number one, LIPARTELIANI, immobilized his opponent in an uncomfortable position, but could keep the hold until the end for ippon.
The winner of the Tokyo Grand Slam, GWAK Dong Han (KOR) and the two-time world silver medallist, NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN), were opposed in the first bronze medal fight of the day. After three minutes NISHIYAMA scored a superb sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for ippon. But the score was changed to waza-ari after the action was replayed by the refereeing commission. The Japanese who already celebrated his victory, had to refocus and was finally able to win the bronze medal.
The second bronze medal fight opposed the number 23 on the world ranking list Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB) and the world number 9, Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO), who finished first in Ulaanbaatar last year. The Georgian secured the bronze medal with a single yuko obtained with an opportunist counterattack.
LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO) vs. ZANKISHIEV, Kazbek (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights
GWAK, Dong Han (KOR) vs. NISHIYAMA, Daiki (JPN)
KUKOLJ, Aleksandar (SRB) vs. GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO)
1. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)
2. ZANKISHIEV, Kazbek (RUS)
3. GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO)
3. NISHIYAMA, Daiki (JPN)
5. GWAK, Dong Han (KOR)
5. KUKOLJ, Aleksandar (SRB)
7. NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)
7. SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP)
The only favorite present in the final was the number 8 seeded, Ramadan DARWISH (EGY), who during the preliminaries defeated Jorge FONSECA (POR) and Lyes BOUYACOUB (ALG), before taking advantage over the world number 2 and top seeded athlete, Cyrille MARET (FRA) and NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar (MGL), the 2008 Olympic champion in the semi-final. The last stage of his already successful competition was against the 23-year-old athlete, HAGA Ryunosuke (JPN), who recently won the European Open in Rome.
After a very good competition day, Ramadan DARWISH probably expected more than what he was able to demonstrate in the final. While struggling for the gripping, he could not avoid the quick o-uchi-gari of HAGA for yuko, the Japanese immediately following to the ground with a simple but efficient turn-over and an immobilisation for ippon. This victory gives the chance to HAGA to add a gold medal won on the occasion of a Grand Prix, after he already collected bronze and silver in the past years.
Cyrille MARET (FRA) who definitely came for the title, could only enter the final block for a bronze medal against CHO Guham (KOR) and he looked exhausted at the end of the day. But the waza-ari that the French scored with a counter-attack for waza-ari was enough to secure a place on the podium.
In the second bronze medal fight, two great names of the category Henk GROL (NED) and NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar (MGL), had to face off to decide who would step on the podium. Less active than his opponent the Dutch athlete was penalized with a shido for passivity, and looked unlikely to throw his opponent. But luckily for him, NAIDAN made a mistake by attacking without enough control, GROL did not miss the occasion to throw him with a counterattack for waza-ari. Once again the Dutch champion steps on an international podium.
It must be noted that several other favorites had difficult competition days as Karl-Richard FREY (GER), bronze medallist in Chelyabinsk last summer, Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE), 2013 world champion, Maxim RAKOV (KAZ), 2009 world champion and Dimitri PETERS (GER), Olympic bronze medallist, did not enter the final block of the competition.
DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY) vs. HAGA, Ryunosuke (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
MARET, Cyrille (FRA) vs. CHO, Guham (KOR)
GROL, Henk (NED) vs. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)
1. HAGA, Ryunosuke (JPN)
2. DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)
3. GROL, Henk (NED)
3. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)
5. CHO, Guham (KOR)
5. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)
7. CORREA, Luciano (BRA)
7. RAKOV, Maxim (KAZ)
In the last category of the day, SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN), who is currently the main contender to threaten Teddy Riner, was expected to enter the final, which he easily did after his victories against Jean-Sebastien BONVOISIN (FRA), Feyyaz YAZICI (TUR), Or SASSON (ISR) and Sven HEINLE (GER). In the final he faced his teammate, OJITANI Takeshi, who cleaned out the second half of the draw as world bronze medallist Faicel JABALLAH (TUN), KIM Sung-Min (KOR) suffered early defeats.
The final took place between two athletes who perfectly know each other and therefore cancelled each other out. The difference was only made by the penalties and it is not the last attempt of OJITANI to throw SHICHINOHE, who changed the score. The world silver medallist will definitely be one of the rivals of Riner in the upcoming months and years.
The German team had two extra chances to add bronze medals to the host country delegation prize list, as Andre BREITBARTH (GER) and Sven HEINLE (GER) were in contention for a place on the podium. In the upper part of the draw, BREITBARTH faced Or SASSON (ISR), but after less than a minute he was already one waza-ari behind as SASSON produced his effort to send the German to the floor with a left handed morote-seoi-nage.
The second bronze medal fight opposed HEINLE to Oleksandr GORDIIENKO (UKR). After leading by a yuko after more than three minutes of fight, the German combined a ippon-seoi-nage with a ko-uchi-gari technique to score waza-ari and to take the lead, to give a last bronze medal to Germany for a total of six bronzes and one silver for the host nation.
SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN) vs. OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
SASSON, Or (ISR) vs. BREITBARTH, Andre (GER)
GORDIIENKO, Oleksandr (UKR) vs. HEINLE, Sven (GER)
1. SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN)
2. OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN)
3. HEINLE, Sven (GER)
3. SASSON, Or (ISR)
5. BREITBARTH, Andre (GER)
5. GORDIIENKO, Oleksandr (UKR)
7. MEYER, Roy (NED)
7. OKRUASHVILI, Adam (GEO)
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Photos © IJF Media by Tamas Zahonyi
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