Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships Preview - 66kg

Japan's Masashi Ebinuma might be ranked 3rd but he's by far the best bet for the gold medal. Principally a left-handed player, Ebinuma likes to do drop morote-seoi-nage and uchimata to the left. In recent years, he has also developed a reverse seoi-nage to the left.

He won the 2013 Rio World Championships final in grand style although he was seriously injured by Kazakhstan's Azamat Mukanov, who had launched a series of waki-gatame attacks, one of which looked like it was going to result in a broken arm. (It's surprising the referee didn't stop the match and disqualify Mukanov for attempting what looked clearly like an illegal attack). Though in obvious pain, Ebinuma summoned the fighting spirit to launch an ouchi-gari that landed the Mukanov flat on his back for a massive ippon. It was obvious which player the crowd was rooting for when it roared its thunderous approval at the outcome.


The last time Ebinuma lost in an international event was the 2012 London Olympics when he was defeated by eventual champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia, whose unorthodox sacrifice technique caught the Japanese off guard for ippon. The Georgian has recently been fighting at -73kg though. In any event, he had a serious knee injury at the 2014 Budapest Grand Prix (via Hans van Essen of JudoInside.com)

Interestingly, Ebinuma has twice lost to Mongolia's Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar, in 2012 and 2011, but the Mongolian has already moved up to -73kg. Another player Ebinuma has had problems with is Russia's Musa Mogushkov, who twice beat in 2011. But the Russian too has moved up to -73kg.

The players that will give him the biggest challenge in Chelyabinsk are likely to be the unorthodox Russian Mikhail Pulyaev and the crafty Ukrainian Georgi Zantaraia. Ebinuma and Pulyaev have fought twice, with one win each. Ebinuma has never fought Zantaraia who has just recently moved up to -66kg (but has adapted remarkably well).

This weight category is full of really solid players who could upset the favourites. This includes Brazil's Charles Chibana and Mongolia's Davaadorj Tumurkhuleg. It seems that France's top player in this category David Larose is injured and won't be competing. He too would have been a tough challenger. Hans van Essen of JudoInside.com tells me that Japan's little-know Kengo Takaichi could be a dark horse.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships Preview - 60kg



There’s no question the top favorite in the -60kg division is Japan’s Naohisa Takato whose last defeat in the IJF world circuit was more than two years ago at the 2012 Dusseldorf Grand Prix.

Since then, he has crushed all challengers. Along the way, he has picked up six IJF World Tour titles and a World Championship title as well.

Principally a left-handed player, his main techniques are yoko-sutemi, which he does to his left, kouchi-gari which he attacks with his left leg, and two right-sided techniques in the form of sode-tsuri-komi-goshi and a very special utsuri-goshi where he hoists his opponent up in the air before coming in with a massive hip throw. He doesn't seem to like newaza much but with his awesome throwing capabilities, he doesn't have to rely on groundwork to win.

Top challengers would be Georgia’s Amiran Papinashvili, Russia’s BeslanMudranov and Mongolia’s Ganbat Boldbaatar, the last player to have beaten him in the IJF world circuit. It's worth noting that he's beaten all of them in the past two years or so; and he has also defeated Olympic champion Arsen Galstyan, most recently in the final of the 2014 Tyumen Grand Slam. He is a firm favorite in this category.

Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 - DAY 3

(Via IJF)


-78kg | +78kg | -90kg | -100kg | +100kg 

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games judo competition came to a close on Saturday as the five remaining gold medals were at stake at the SECC Hall.  


Judo’s return to the Commonwealth programme will long be remembered for sold out crowds and the generating an electric atmosphere which led to widespread national and international coverage for the three-day competition.

On day three the raucous crowd saw the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg judoka all compete for Commonwealth Games gold in Scotland.  

Hosts Scotland and neighbouring England more than played their part as their astounding domination continued despite Wales and South Africa both showing their resolve by winning gold on the final day.

Mr. Densign WHITE, IJF Technical Delegate for the Commonwealth Games, said: “The competition has gone very well, the coverage the sport has received here and around the Commonwealth has exceeded all expectations.  

“Team Scotland’s first gold medal came from their judoka Kimberley RENICKS and this was front page news here. I’ve been impressed with the quality of all the countries and this is a good level for those who are not able to compete on the World and Olympic stage. It’s a level where anyone can achieve something and has been a great platform for judo which has once again proven to be an international spectacle.”

Matt DIVALL, Team Manager of table-topping England, reflected on the accomplishments of his team and the unforgettable Glasgow 2014 experience.

“It’s been an incredible competition, it’s the most special moment in judo for me and it’s all down to the athletes,” said DIVALL.

“They’ve all gone out there and given it their all and done themselves and their country proud. We don’t have many opportunities to come together as England but there was a great spirit in the team and I’m sure this is something that will all be a great incentive for all the athletes in the future.”


Dr. KERR CBE, 1984 Olympic javelin champion Tessa SANDERSON CBE, IJF Technical Delegate Densign WHITE

As judo prospers across the commonwealth, IJF Hall of Famer and 10th Dan Dr. George KERR CBE, said that Britain has the opportunity to take the sport to new heights by building on the success of judo at the Games.

“I thought the event was thoroughly enjoyable and the atmosphere in the hall was something special. The hosts surpassed themselves and the Glasgow people really made this competition special. The venue has been full every day and this is hugely encouraging for the sport in Britain.

“Glasgow will stage the 2015 European Championships next April and that will be a major accomplishment and opportunity to again show the capacity of the officials here to deliver top level events. I’d like to thank all the officials, fans, volunteers and the athletes and teams who were all superb.”

In addition to the medal success, there were firsts for Pakistan and Mauritius. Pakistan’s only fighter Shah HUSSAIN SHAH (PAK) took -100kg silver which was his country’s first medal of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games while Annabelle LAPROVIDENCE (MRI) won her country’s inaugural medal in Scotland.

Guernsey, who boast a population of just 65,000, were represented in judo at the Commonwealth Games for the first time as Louis PLEVIN (GGY) took part in the -90kg category to enter his name in the record books.

Over the three days the medals were shared by 15 countries which is two more countries than the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games. 

The full results can be seen at http://www.ippon.org/com2014.php


WOMEN

-78kg: POWELL makes breakthrough for Wales against GIBBONS    

Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Natalie POWELL (WAL) made her mark for Wales as she confidently won her country’s first judo medal by defeating Olympic silver medallist Gemma GIBBONS (ENG). After a frustrating start for Wales on the tatami, POWELL gave them a much-needed lift and inspired the nation towards finishing fourth in the medal table. In the battle of Team GB teammates and Rio 2016 rivals, POWELL looked sharper from the outset and went ahead after a minute with a waza-ari. GIBBONS was unable to assert herself as she was penalised with two shido penalties for false attacks while her opponent received one shido for going out of the area. 


In the first semi-final POWELL bested 18-year-old San Salvador Pan American Open bronze medallist Ana Laura PORTUONDO (CAN) by a countering an ashi-waza attack for ippon after going ahead with a waza-ari. In the second semi-final Edinburgh-based GIBBONS (ENG) held down African Championships bronze medallist Hortense MBALLA ATANGANA (CMR) in a mune-gatame for ippon.

The first bronze medal was won by MBALLA ATANGANA (CMR) who defeated former South Asian Games winner Jina Devi CHONGTHAM (IND) by throwing her for ippon on the edge of the tatami after 79 seconds. The second bronze medal contest was won by PORTUONDO who dispatched Brigitte ROSE (SEY) in 29 blistering seconds by starting with a ko-soto-gari for waza-ari and finishing with osaekomi-waza for 15 seconds. ROSE, to her credit, produced her country’s best result of the Games so far as they are still waiting for their first medal. 

Final
POWELL, Natalie (WAL) vs GIBBONS, Gemma (ENG)                                               

Bronze Medal Fights
MBALLA ATANGANA, Hortense (CMR) vs CHONGTHAM, Jina Devi (IND)              
PORTUONDO, Ana Laura (CAN) vs ROSE, Brigitte (SEY)                            


Final Results
1. POWELL, Natalie (WAL)                                                   
2. GIBBONS, Gemma (ENG)                                              
3. MBALLA ATANGANA, Hortense (CMR)                               
3. PORTUONDO, Ana Laura (CAN)                                
5. CHONGTHAM, Jina Devi (IND)                                                                  
5. ROSE, Brigitte (SEY)                                                 
7. MURAGU, Alice Chebet (KEN)                  
7.                               


+78kg: ADLINGTON takes home the gold

Former Moscow Grand Slam bronze medallist Sarah ADLINGTON (SCO) defeated Coimbra Junior European Cup winner Jodie MYERS (ENG) to reign in Glasgow. ADLINGTON opened her account with a yuko from a harai-makikomi before using her experience against her 19-year-old opponent to use up time and protect her advantage which proved unassailable for MYERS who captured the finest of her burgeoning career. 


In the first semi-final ADLINGTON was victorious against little-known Esther Akinyi RATUGI (KEN) who failed to change her negative style as she received four shido penalties for passivity for hansoku-make. In the second semi-final MYERS illustrated her tachi-waza and ne-waza as she threw Annabelle LAPROVIDENCE (MRI) for a waza-ari and transitioned to pin her for 15 seconds in osaekomi-waza.

The first bronze medal was won by LAPROVIDENCE who defeated Sri Lanka’s national champion Sachini WEWITA WIDANALAGE (SRI) with an osoto-gari for ippon. The Mauritius fighter won her country’s first medal of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as another developing judo nation showed their progress on the high-profile Scottish stage. The second bronze medal was clinched by Indian Championships silver medallist Rajwinder KAUR (IND) as RATUGI once again offered little with an insipid display against the much lighter and mobile judoka from India. RATUGI received three shido penalties for passivity while the determined KAUR pitched a faultless record.
   
Final
ADLINGTON, Sarah (SCO) vs MYERS, Jodie (ENG)                                                         

Bronze Medal Fights
LAPROVIDENCE, Annabelle (MRI) vs WEWITA WIDANALAGE, Sachini (SRI)               
KAUR, Rajwinder (IND) vs RATUGI, Esther Akinyi (KEN)                         


Final Results
1. ADLINGTON, Sarah (SCO)                                                  
2. MYERS, Jodie (ENG)                                            
3. LAPROVIDENCE, Annabelle (MRI)                     
3. KAUR, Rajwinder (IND)                                       
5. WEWITA WIDANALAGE, Sachini (SRI)                                                            
5. RATUGI, Esther Akinyi (KEN)                                     
7. VAILLANCOURT, Sophie (CAN)
7.                                          


MEN

-90kg: PIONTEK ends home nations gold streak     

Port Louis African Open winner Zack PIONTEK (RSA) defeated Buenos Aires Pan American Open gold medallist Matthew PURSSEY (SCO) to become the first and only judo gold medallist from outside of Britain. Both judoka were penalised after 45 seconds and that set the tone for the contest as a tense final ensued. PIONTEK was unfazed by the atmosphere as he gradually got busier as the contest went on which meant PURSEY was penalised with 50 seconds left for passivity and time ran out on his gold medal ambitions.            

In the first semi-final PIONTEK downed three-time Oceania Championships winner Ryan DILL-RUSSELL (NZL) with two waza-ari. At the same stage PURSSEY saw of Apia Oceania Open winner Mark ANTHONY (AUS) with eight seconds left as the well-backed Scot trapped his opponent osaekomi for a waza-ari which proved the difference.

The first bronze medal was awarded to London European Cup winner Andrew BURNS (SCO) as Scotland won the first medal of the final block against ANTHONY. BURNS went ahead with a yuko and doubled his lead with the same score before ANTHONY replied with a yuko of his own from an uchi-mata. However, as ANTHONY was willed on by a large Australian contingent, it was the home fans who celebrated as their man saw out the remainder of the contest. The second bronze medal was captured by Madrid European Cup bronze medallist Gary HALL (ENG) who armlocked DILL-RUSSELL after both judoka exchanged shido penalties for passivity.         
  
Final
PURSSEY, Matthew (SCO) vs PIONTEK, Zack (RSA)                              

Bronze Medal Fights
ANTHONY, Mark (AUS) vs BURNS, Andrew (SCO)               
DILL-RUSSELL, Ryan (NZL) vs HALL, Gary (ENG)                                          


Final Result
1. PIONTEK, Zack (RSA)                                               
2. PURSSEY, Matthew (SCO)                                             
3. BURNS, Andrew (SCO)                                                 
3. HALL, Gary (ENG)                                        
5. ANTHONY, Mark (AUS)                                                       
5. DILL-RUSSELL, Ryan (NZL)                              
7. WICKRAMAGE, Jeewantha (SRI)               
7. OMBIONGNO, Stephane (CMR)                                        


-100kg: Scottish hero BURTON signs off in style   

Team Scotland flagbearer Euan BURTON (SCO) led by example as he produced a storybook ending to a highly-successful career. Double world bronze medallist BURTON, 35, showed tenacity and heart in abundance as he worked his way through the field to delight the crowd by conquering Asian Championships bronze medallist Shah HUSSAIN SHAH (PAK) in the -100kg final. HUSSAIN SHAH, who claimed his country’s first medal in Glasgow, was thrown with a morote-eri-seoi-nage for a waza-ari score and BURTON pounced to hold him down in a kesa-gatame which prompted the Pakistan fighter to submit. 


In the first semi-final BURTON beat 31-year-old Oceania Championships winner Jason KOSTER (NZL) v Euan BURTON (SCO) as he held the Kiwi for 18 seconds in sankaku-gatame before finishing with a strangle. In the second semi-final HUSSAIN SHAH bested 39-year-old Tim SLYFIELD (NZL) who lost out by a single shido for passivity in a scoreless contest.   

The first bronze medal was won by SLYFIELD against former Indian Championships winner Sahil PATHANIA (IND) as the veteran threw with a sumptuous tai-otoshi for ippon which had judo great Dr. George KERR purring in the audience. The second bronze medal was won by KOSTER as he went toe-to-toe with Duke DIDIER (AUS) and triumphed on shido penalties. DIDIER was unable to stop New Zealand taking home both bronze medals as the accumulated three shido penalties for passivity before his opponent earned only one for the same offence.            

Final
BURTON, Euan (SCO) vs HUSSAIN SHAH, Shah (PAK)                                     

Bronze Medal Fights
SLYFIELD, Tim (NZL) vs PATHANIA, Sahil (IND)       
KOSTER, Jason (NZL) vs DIDIER, Duke (AUS)                                                


Final Result
1. BURTON, Euan (SCO)                                
2. HUSSAIN SHAH, Shah (PAK)                                                  
3. SLYFIELD, Tim (NZL)                             
3. KOSTER, Jason (NZL)                                                  
5. PATHANIA, Sahil (IND)                                                   
5. DIDIER, Duke (AUS)                                                 
7. DUGASSE, Dominic (SEY)                
7. RANCEV, Ruslan (WAL)               


+100kg: SHERRINGTON ends the event as it started for Scotland   

Havana Grand Prix runner-up Chris SHERRINGTON (SCO) lapped up the atmosphere as he won the final gold medal of the competition by defeating former Junior African Championships gold medallist Ruan SNYMAN (RSA). The man-mountain from Scotland took the lead with a waza-ari from an o-goshi and added a second waza-ari from ippon seoi-nage to win his country’s sixth judo gold medal to equal England’s collection of gold medals. Fan favourite SHERRINGTON lifted up and ran with his coach and Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games silver medallist David SOMERVILLE as he left the field of play as the charismatic Royal Marine was in full flow. 


In the first semi-final SNYMAN defeated Apia Oceania silver medallist Jake ANDREWARTHA (AUS) by ippon before SHERRINGTON surged past Apia Oceania Open winner Sam ROSSER (NZL) by the same score.

The first bronze medal went to Northern Ireland Open bronze medallist Mark SHAW (WAL) who inflicted a second successive defeat for ROSSER. SHAW was penalised for passivity after ROSSER infringed by going out of the area but the contest picked up as the Welshman threw for waza-ari and added a second with osaekomi-waza to win Wales’ second judo medal. The second bronze medal was clinched by ANDREWARTHA who was successful against former Junior Indian Championships bronze medallist Parikshit KUMAR (IND) by scoring a soto-makkikomi and pinning his opponent for 15 seconds to wrap up the win. 

Final
SNYMAN, Ruan (RSA) vs SHERRINGTON, Chris (SCO)                                                        

Bronze Medal Fights
ROSSER, Sam (NZL) vs SHAW, Mark (WAL)
ANDREWARTHA, Jake (AUS) vs KUMAR, Parikshit (IND)                  


Final Result
1. SHERRINGTON, Chris (SCO)                                                             
2. SNYMAN, Ruan (RSA)                                       
3. SHAW, Mark (WAL)                                       
3. ANDREWARTHA, Jake (AUS)                                    
5. ROSSER, Sam (NZL)                           
5. KUMAR, Parikshit (IND)                                                    
7. RYGIELSKI, Martin (CAN)       
7. MCNEILL, Gavin (NIR)