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HARRISON (USA), ORTIZ (CUB) and BAKER (JPN) rush to Rio with top seed status 

In Focus - Clash of Titans AGUIAR (BRA) vs HARRISON (USA)

The World Judo Masters 2016, the final Rio 2016 qualification event, came to a star-spangled conclusion on Sunday as Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) won through against her leading rival for Rio 2016 gold in Mayra AGUIAR of Brazil. 

World Judo Masters 2016: Day 3 - Final Block

World Judo Masters 2016: Day 3

Guadalajara was treated to ippons aplenty as Pan America’s first World Judo Masters left an impression with the spectatoirs and the global audience who saw the best of the best judoka give their all in judo’s all-star event.


It was a last stand for many judoka as the champions of judo gave one last account themselves at one of the greatest stages in world sport before returning home to plot their respective gameplans for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A host of already qualified judoka were able to not only test themselves against the best judoka in the sport but came to Mexico to win gold and to capture a seeded position for the Olympic Games which is offered to the top eight judoka on the Olympic qualification list in each category.


Mexico’s final day of Olympic qualification action featured the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories at the atmospheric Lopez Mateo Sports Centre.   




Japan’s heavyweight HARASAWA Hisayoshi has been widely seen as the leading fighter to threaten the supremacy of Olympic champion and eight-time world champion Teddy RINER (FRA) this summer. HARASAWA – who was unbeaten on the international stage since 2014 – was shockingly and convincingly beaten by Daniel NATEA (ROU) who weighed in at an imposing 178kg.


After the men’s heavyweight medal ceremony NATEA spoke to the media. The Romanian, who is prospering under the Roman Judo Federation’s new management led by former world champion Daniel LASCAU, said: “I came here with the goal of being seeded for the Olympics and I am really delighted to achieve that.


“I knew about the unbeaten run of HARASAWA but I fought to my own strengths and I am very pleased. I came here straight from a training camp in Antalya, Turkey, and I am always preparing to make big throws as I did there and today.”



One of the most intense and discussed rivalries in the sport, Kayla HARRISON (USA) and Mayra AGUIAR (BRA), was renewed just two months before the Olympics where they will be expected to meet again and potentially with the Olympic title at stake.


Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON won the 17th chapter her long-running duel against AGUIAR and said: “I’m feeling good, I really like the sound of Kayla HARRISON, two-time Olympic champion, that is the goal and it’s all about Rio. I have special rivalry with Mayra and in years to come I will think that I shared some of the best moments of my career with her on the mat.


“Now I will take my Olympic preparation one day at a time. I practice my ne-waza a lot and my coaches said to keep the pressure on in the final. I thought I could catch her with a juji-gatame and her arms were there and I was able to. This summer I want to win my second Olympic title.”


Japanese young gun BAKER Mashu (JPN) put in a herculean effort to win the -90kg title and in doing so astoundingly became the number one seed for the Olympics.


BAKER said: “It was really important for me to win here and to become the top seed. This was goal and I am satisfied. I grew up watching Ilias ILIADIS, he is a legend of judo and I was very pleased to be able to defeat him today. My dream has always been to go to the Olympics and now it is a reality.”


Mr. YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, IJF Hall of Famer and IJF Development Director, was present at a World Judo Masters for the first time and shared his insightful thoughts on his experience of the final qualification event for Rio 2016.


“I am very pleased to be at the World Judo Masters in Mexico for what has been an excellent competition. I have a very positive impression of Guadalajara and the people here in my first visit to the country.


“The IJF brings events to such regions in order to encourage the continued development of our sport around the world. Mr. VIZER, IJF President, has worked hard with his team to make judo more attractive to global audiences and we can see this at the Masters here which is a very important event.


Four-time world champion and 1984 Olympic champion YAMASHITA looked back on his own Olympic preparations and success as he offered his advice to the athletes bound for Rio 2016.


“My main focus was to study my opponents, to know their style and from there I knew how I would compete. I never lost to a non-Japanese judoka because I put a lot of importance in my kumi-kata (gripping). I am very excited for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. One match that I know many people hope to see is Teddy RINER against HARASAWA and I feel the same. There are always surprises, unexpected events at the Olympics, and maybe we will see this in Rio de Janeiro.”


IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER with the Rio 2016 Olympic group of referees and IJF Head Referee Directors


                         PLUS LIVE RESULTS

                              CLICK HERE: IJF Live results - Judo Masters Guadalajara 2016


-78kg: HARRISON heads to Rio with the advantage over AGUIAR         

FINAL -78Kg Harrison (USA) vs Aguiar (BRA) World Masters Guadalajara

Kayla HARRISON (USA) celebrates -78kg gold 

Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) wrote the 17th and final chapter of her back and forth rivalry against Olympic bronze medallist Mayra AGUIAR (BRA). The star duo were tied 8-8 coming into the Masters and the highly-anticipated final materialised with American HARRISON taking a priceless win over the Brazilian. HARRISON was sharper in ne-waza as AGUIAR laid on her front and thought her arms were not exposed as she anticipated a stop being called to the action. However, HARRISON, who led by a yuko, was able to capture an arm and pulled away to make the Brazilian submit as USA won their second gold medal in Guadalajara. 



In the first semi-final HARRISON eased past World Judo Masters silver medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) by ippon with a momentous koshi-guruma on the edge of the tatami as the Welsh fighter was unable to challenge the throne of the American. In the second semi-final Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) lost out to Olympic bronze medallist Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) who registered a yuko and a waza-ari which were the only scores of the contest.



The first bronze medal was won by STEENHUIS who defeated Olympic silver medallist Gemma GIBBONS (GBR). British hero GIBBONS, who has shown fantastic fighting spirit throughout this cycle as she has been hampered by injuries, was scored on with a yuko from a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi as Dutch fighter STEENHUIS had yet another successful outing for the Netherlands. The second bronze medal contest was won by European bronze medallist POWELL who dismissed Almaty Grand Prix winner ZHANG Zhehui (CHN) to move into the top eight on the Olympic qualification list. Cardiff-based POWELL won their first head-to-head contest and a second consecutive World Judo Masters podium place as she blasted ahead with a uchi-mata earning a waza-ari. The British judoka added a second waza-ari and is now poised to become the first Welsh female judoka to compete at an Olympics Games.                                                      


AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA) vs HARRISON, Kayla (USA)                                                                         

Bronze Medal Fights

STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED) vs GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)                                 
POWELL, Natalie (GBR) vs ZHANG, Zhehui (CHN)                                  



Final Results 

1. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)                                                                                   
2. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)   
3. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)                                      
3. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)   
5. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)                                     
5. ZHANG, Zhehui (CHN)                                      
7. GALEONE, Assunta (ITA)   
7. TURKS, Victoriia (UKR)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


+78kg: Cuba’s Olympic champion ORTIZ ready to defend her title in Rio 

Olympic champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) has won two world titles since being crowned at London 2012 and is now the overwhelming favourite to retain her Olympic crown and golden backpatch in Rio. ORTIZ, 26, is a big stage performer and took the fight to world number three MA Sisi (CHN) who could be identified by her newly-dyed purple hair. ORTIZ failed with an audacious drop seoi-nage before both judoka were penalised for passivity after a series of low-key exchanges. Cuban power settled the final as ORTIZ took control with a waza-ari and held down MA with a kami-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds and gold.



In the semi-finals ORTIZ downed Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN) by ippon after three minutes while in the second semi-final Japan were dealt another heavyweight blow as Rio-bound YAMABE Kanae (JPN) fell by ippon to MA.


The first bronze medal was won by YAMABE who bounced back from defeat to deny European Championships silver medallist Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR) by ippon after 90 seconds.The second bronze medal was won by Almaty Grand Prix bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) who won the finest medal of her career at the expense of CHEIKH ROUHOU by ippon in the second minute.               




MA, Sisi (CHN) vs ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)                                                                                                


Bronze Medal Fights
YAMABE, Kanae (JPN) vs IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)                                 
CERIC, Larisa (BIH) vs CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)                  


Final Results

1. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)                                     
2. MA, Sisi (CHN)                                      
3. YAMABE, Kanae (JPN)
3. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)                        
5. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)                                                                    
5. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)                   
7. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)             
7. SAVELKOULS, Tessie (NED)                                                                                                                                                


-90kg: From Kodokan start to top Olympic seed status for BAKER      

FINAL -90Kg BAKER (JPN) vs KHALMURZAEV (RUS) World Masters Guadalajara

World bronze medallist BAKER Mashu (JPN) claimed the -90kg World Judo Masters title in his first time competing at the invite-only event. BAKER won more admirers with a heroic display which culminated with a pulsating golden score victory over Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS). BAKER, 21, who was icing his right shoulder during the break after a lung-busting semi-final win over Ilias ILIADIS (GRE), scored a yuko after one minute and 32 seconds of added time after both judoka had the crowd and their coaches on the edge of their seats. The win lifts BAKER to the top of pile as the number seed one for his first Olympics in Rio. BAKER started judo aged six at the Kodokan and has gone from starting his journey at the spiritual home of the sport to returning as a member of the national team for weekly training and now as a distinguished member of Japan’s Olympic team. There is still more to come from KHALMURZAEV, as there is from BAKER, as the two men delivered an extraordinary contest. 



In the first semi-final BAKER (JPN) outlasted Greek great Ilias ILIADIS (GRE) by a yuko and a waza-ari. BAKER, who was nine years old when ILIADIS won the 2004 Athens Olympics, scored a waza-ari with a driving ouchi-gari and added a yuko from an innovative piece of te-waza as both men fought purely on instinct in the closing minute. In the second semi-final Axel CLERGET (FRA) who has already spoken of his desire to continue for one more cycle was unsuccessful against Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS) as he lost to a sumi-gaeshi for ippon.



The first bronze medal was awarded to Almaty Grand Prix bronze medallist Mihael ZGANK (SLO) as CLERGET was second best in the opening contest of the final block on day three. The Frenchman, who has openly conceded that he is the back-up for Rio 2016 for French number one Alexandre IDDIR (FRA), was penalised for going out and for a false attack while ZGANK was only penalised once for passivity in the scoreless contest to earn a career-best result. The second bronze medal went to Baku Grand Slam winner Marcus NYMAN (SWE) who will now be a near certainty for a seeded position at the Olympics. ILIADIS could not compete in the bronze medal contest due to an injury.   



KHALMURZAEV, Khusen (RUS) vs BAKER, Mashu (JPN)   


Bronze Medal Fights

CLERGET, Axel (FRA) vs ZGANK, Mihael (SLO)                                    
ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE) vs NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Final Results

1. BAKER, Mashu (JPN)                                                                            
2. KHALMURZAEV, Khusen (RUS)                                     
3. ZGANK, Mihael (SLO)                                                                               
3. NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)                                 
5. CLERGET, Axel (FRA)                                       
5. ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE)                               
7. GROSSKLAUS, Ciril (SUI)                                  
7. MEHDIYEV, Mammadali (AZE)                                                                                                                                                                                                               


-100kg: Azeri GASIMOV grabs top seed status for Rio 2016     

World number one Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) was Azerbaijan’s top performer on day three as Peter SEISENBACHER saw more success for his leading judoka in Guadalajara. GASIMOV guaranteed top seed status for Rio 2016 by defeating former World Judo Masters bronze medallist Cyrille MARET (FRA) by ippon after three minutes. Azerbaijan finished the Masters with two gold medals and two bronze medals, a fantastic return for the nation at the most crucial event before the Games and a telling sign of SEISENBACHER being a master of timing and tactics. 



In the first semi-final GASIMOV beat the rugged Martin PACEK (SWE) on shido penalties 1:2 before MARET bested former world champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) in the second semi-final by the same method with a margin of 0:1 on shidos.


The first bronze medal was won by KRPALEK who defeated African Championships silver medallist Lyes BOUYACOUB (ALG). The Czech fighter is nearing his best form at the right top as he opened the scoring with a waza-ari from a drop morote-seoi-nage before adding a second waza-ari to take the contest. The second bronze medal was won by PACEK who defeated former world silver medallist Jose ARMENTEROS (CUB). The Swede screamed with delight as he confirmed a seeded position for the Olympics by rolling his Cuban opponent for two waza-ari as the hard-working PACEK continues to mystify opponents on the IJF World Judo Tour and now has the perfect start for Rio 2016.          



MARET, Cyrille (FRA) vs GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Bronze Medal Fights

KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE) vs BOUYACOUB, Lyes (ALG)                        
PACEK, Martin (SWE) vs ARMENTEROS, Jose (CUB)           




Final Result

1. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)                                                                    
2. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)                                         
3. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE)     
3. PACEK, Martin (SWE)                                       
5. BOUYACOUB, Lyes (ALG)                         
5. ARMENTEROS, Jose (CUB)                          
7. KORREL, Michael (NED)                                     
7. DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)                                                                                                                                                                                                    


+100kg: Romania’s NATEA stuns the favourites to break into heavyweight elite

Interview - Daniel Natea (ROU) Winner +100Kg Judo Masters Guadajara

European bronze medallist Daniel NATEA (ROU) looked like a new man at the World Judo Masters as he won all four of his fights by ippon including the final against European Championships silver medallist Or SASSON (ISR). NATEA had never beaten SASSON but was unstoppable on Sunday as he burst ahead after five seconds with a waza-ari from a harai-makikomi and then moved into the osaekomi for 15 seconds as the stunned Israeli could not escape a kesa-gatame hold. Romanian colossus NATEA will now turn his attention to the one and only, Olympic champion and eight-time world champion Teddy RINER (FRA).  



In the first semi-final NATEA overcame KOKAURI Ushangi (AZE) by ippon after leading by a waza-ari before the athletic SASSON beat BOR Barna (HUN) with a drop seoi-nage for a yuko which settled the contest after five minutes.


Harasawa's two-year unbeaten run on the international stage was emphatically ended by NATEA (ROU) in th quarter-finals. NATEA defeated Japan's Rio 2016-bound heavyweight and uchi-mata specialist by ippon in arguably the biggest shock of the competition.



The first bronze medal went to HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN) as BOR was injured and could not come out for the final block contest. The second bronze medal went to Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Roy MEYER (NED) as he fought back from a waza-ari deficit against KOKAURI to level the score and then jumped into osaekomi to hold down the Azeri. MEYER shifted from a sankaku-gatame position into a mune-gatame with surprising agility after countering a weak uchi-mata to take control and end the contest on the ground. The flamboyant Dutchman was feeling the Mexican rhythm as he showed off his fancy footwork by dancing his way out of the field of play.                



SASSON, Or (ISR) vs NATEA, Daniel (ROU)


Bronze Medal Fights

BOR, Barna (HUN) vs HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)                    
MEYER, Roy (NED) vs KOKAURI, Ushangi (AZE)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Final Result

1. NATEA, Daniel (ROU)                                                                                    
2. SASSON, Or (ISR)                                      
3. HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)                     
3. MEYER, Roy (NED)  
5. BOR, Barna (HUN  
5. KOKAURI, Ushangi (AZE)                                                                    
7. KAMBIEV, Aslan (RUS)                         
7. JABALLAH, Faicel (TUN)




IJF Media & Communications Department
Mark Pickering, IJF Media Manager  

Nicolas Messner, IJF Media Director  


Photos © IJF Media by G. Sabau  



IJF - 1007 Lausanne, Switzerland 

Avenue Frédéric-César-de La Harpe 49

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