Friday, August 28, 2015

-73kg Competition Report

Muki Sagi (ISR) is the ranked player in this pool but Shohei Ono (JPN) was the real star. A big thrower, Ono has missed many IJF circuit competitions due to some disciplinary issues that resulted in a competition ban for several months. This, plus the fact that he unexpectedly got eliminated early in last year's world championships caused his rankings to plummet. Nevertheless, Ono was the player to watch. He dismissed his first opponent, Sai Yinjirigala (CHN) with a fast uchimata for waza-ari and then with an unexpected sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Next, he took out Jorge Fernandes (POR) with a well-time kouchi-gari followed by a blistering osoto-gari for ippon. Against Vadzim Shoka (BLR), Ono decided to use his two favorite techniques, osoto-gari and uchimata, which scored waza-ari each. This brought him up against Sagi, who is quite a thrower himself. But he was not match for Ono, who threw him multiple times. First, with uchimata for yuko, then koshi-guruma for another yuko, then a big uchimata for waza-ari, and finally an unexpected drop morote-seoi-nage for yuko.

In Pool B, An Changrim (KOR) was doing to his opponents what Ono was doing in Pool A. He threw Igor Wandtke (GER) with a slick reverse seoi-nage for ippon. Then, he used a drop morote-seoi-nage against Dex Elmont (NED) for waza-ari. After that, it was back to reverse seoi-nage, against Nikola Gusic (MNE), for yet another ippon. The very strong Mongolian, Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal (MGL) gave him a tough fight but also succumbed to his throws: drop sode-tsurik-komi goshi for waza-ari and drop morote-seoi-nage for ippon.

In this pool Nugzari Tatalashvili is the ranking player but Hong Kuk Hyon (PRK) was the one to look out for. He was the silver medalist at the previous world championships but had not competed much in the IJF world circuit so his ranking was not high. He easily threw his first opponent, Cheung Chi Yip (HKG) with a hip throw for ippon. He had a tough time against Marcelo Contini (BRA) though and had to rely on penalties to win. Jaromir Jezek (CZE) gave him a shock by throwing him with ura-nage for yuko. He responded with a drop morote-seoi-nage for yuko to even things up. Then, he pushed ahead with a koshi-guruma for waza-ari. Against the tough Odbayar Ganbaatar (MGL), Hong once against used seoi-nage to score waza-ari and held on to that lead for the rest of the match. 

Riki Nakaya (JPN), as the defending world champion, opened up the accounts by throwing Jake Bensted (AUS) with a slick reverse seoi-nage for waza-ari. A pin later on gave him waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Against Javier Ramirez (ESP), Nakaya used a hand technique to take him down and proceeded to pin him for ippon. Perhaps the combination technique of the tournament happened in Nakaya's match against Sharofiddin Boltaboev (UZB). Nakaya came in with a one-handed uchimata and proceeded immediately to throw him with tomoe-nage for ippon. Against the awkward Miklos Ungvari (HUN), Nakaya relied on groundwork and pinned him for ippon.

Ono (JPN) vs An (KOR)
The battle between Ono and An was one worthy of the final. Ono opened up the accounts with his favorite uchimata for waza-ari. An then scored a waza-ari when he managed to counter Ono's osoto-gari attempt. With time ticking away and a shido down, An adopted a high grip on Ono who took advantage of the situation to throw him backwards with an ura-nage for a thundering ippon. The crowd gave a rousing applause. They enjoyed that.

Not to be outdone, Nakaya threw Hong with a very unorthodox and low osoto-gari that scored ippon. The crowd roared its approval. 


Hong came out fighting hard against Sainjargal (MGL) but the Mongolian surprised him with a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi that launched him into the air. Hong was lucky the score was only yuko. But he couldn't get back the score from the tactical Mongolian.

Sainjargal's teammate, Ganbaatar was not as experienced in tactical fighting and lost out to An on penalties.

The final bout, between Ono and Nakaya, was something of a grudge match. Both were fierce rivals who jostled for top position in Japan. In Astana, it was Ono who shined and he threw Nakaya with a powerful osoto-kosoto combination that floored his opponent. As Nakaya did not fall flat on his back and waza-ari was given but it was too difficult for Nakaya to get that sore back and Ono was world champion once again (he first won it in 2013 in Rio).

Nakaya, Ono, Sainjargal, An

Thursday, August 27, 2015

-57kg Competition Report

Romania’s Olympic silver medallist Corina Caprioriu (ROU) won her first match against Concepcion Bellorin (ESP) with a very slow and delayed tomoe-nage. Nevertheless, since the Spanish player landed flat on her back an ippon was given. Next, she defeated Manon Durback (LUX) with ouchi-gari for ippon. Her match against Hedvig Karakas (HUN) was a close one. Caprioriu was down by a yuko with time slipping away when she suddenly pulled off a koshi-guruma for waza-ari in the dying seconds.

Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN) did well to defeat her first opponent, Helene Receveaux (FRA)
by countering her for waza-ari and then strangling her for ippon. She followed that up with an even more stunning victory against Rafaela Silva (BRA) by strangling her until she was unconscious. Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN) proved to be something of a strangling specialist when she defeated her third opponent, Viola Waechter (GER) with yet another strangle for ippon. Standing in her way to the top of the pool was Marti Malloy (USA) who is something of a newaza specialist herself. She proved to be a difficult opponent and the match went into Golden Score where Beauchemin-Pinard managed to counter Malloy’s kosoto-gari to score waza-ari.

There were two favorites in this pool, Telma Monteiro (POR) and Automne Pavia (FRA). It was the French player who prevailed. Pavia easily defeated her first opponent, Hana Carmichael (USA) with her favorite osoto-gari for yuko, followed by an osoto-makikomi for ippon. Although she is not a newaza specialist, Pavia won her second match, against Nekoda Smythe-Davis (GBR) with a hold down for ippon. That brought up against Monteiro whom she defeated with an osoto-gari counter against Monteiro’s ippon-seoi-nage attempt. It only scored yuko but was enough for her to win the match.

Kaori Matsumoto (JPN) is not highly ranked because she had not competed much in the IJF circuit but she was without question the top favorite. A newaza specialist, she handily beat her first opponent Choe Hyon A (PRK) with her special roll into osaekomi for ippon. Her favorite ashiwaza is kosoto-gari and she used this to good effect, throwing her second opponent Lien Chen-Ling for ippon with it. In her next fight, against Irina Zabludina (RUS), she used a left ippon-seoi-nage, which is not a common technique for her. It scored waza-ari. So did her next throw, he favorite kosoto-gari. This gave her waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Her toughest fight in the preliminaries would be Sumiya Dorjsuren whom she threw with kouchi-gake for yuko. It was enough to win her the match.

Beauchemine-Pinard  (CAN) had had a great tournament so far and she was performing above expectations but the very experienced Caprioriu (ROU) proved too strong for her and countered the Canadian’s side takedown for waza-ari.

The match between old rivals Matsumoto (JPN) and Pavia (FRA) was a very tactical one and was won by the Japanese by a single shido penalty. She was through the final, which was a rematch of her 2012 Olympic final against Caprioriu.

Pavia (FRA) has always been a tactical player, much more so than Malloy (USA). Still the American managed to survive until the end of regular time. In Golden Score however, she crumbled and got a shido.

The Dorjsuren (MGL)-Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN) fight was another tactical match that went into Golden Score. Agains, it was the experienced player, Dorjsuren, who prevailed causing her Canadian opponent to incur a shido.

Matsumoto (JPN) proved she was still on top form, defeating Caprioriu (ROU) yet again, with her trademark sticky-foot kosoto-gari for waza-ari. After that, she played largely tactical match until the end of match time. Matsumoto was a World Champion again.

Caprioriu, Matsumoto, Pavia & Dorjsuren.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Players to watch: -73kg

Pool A
Muki Sagi
Shohei Ono

Pool B
Dex Elmont
An Changrim
Mansur Isaev
Rok Draksic

Pool C
Musa Mogushkov

Pool C