Thursday, October 27, 2016

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2016, U.A.E PREVIEW

The United Arab Emirates is the setting for the fourth IJF Grand Slam of the 2016 season from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 October and marks the return of a number of Rio 2016 Olympic medallists who will compete for the first time since Brazil.

The IJF World Judo Tour has stopped in Croatia (Zagreb Grand Prix) and Uzbekistan (Tashkent Grand Prix) following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and has now arrived in Abu Dhabi for the penultimate Grand Slam of the year. Grand Slams have been held in Paris (France), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Tyumen (Russia) already this year with the season set to finish in December with the fifth and final Grand Slam in Tokyo (Japan).

U.A.E won their first ever Olympic judo medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics as Sergiu TOMA (U.A.E) won -81kg bronze and became the second Olympic medallist in the history of the U.A.E. TOMA is a one of a number of Rio 2016 stars who are stepping back in action this weekend as -73kg Olympic silver medallist Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) and -48kg Olympic bronze medallist Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) will also compete.

The draw took place on the eve of the sixth annual edition of #WorldJudoDay, in front of illustrious figures from the sport such as the IJF’s special guest, Ilias ILIADIS, who was among the onlookers as Mr. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director, revealed that 157 judoka (96 men, 61 women) from 34 nations will compete in the Emirates.  

Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA (below - centre), IJF Education and Coaching Director, made the opening address on behalf of the International Judo Federation.

“Dear President, dear guests, dear judo friends, on behalf of the International Judo Federation and President Mr. Marius VIZER, I would like to express my warmest welcome to the fourth Grand Slam of the year. Following excellent Grand Slams in Paris, Baku and Tyumen, the stars of judo will now be in action in the Middle East.

“I would like to congratulate the United Arab Emirates for the Olympic medal in Rio. The IJF is very satisfied by the remarkable development achieved by the United Arab Emirates Judo Federation. I wish you all a great event.”

H. E Naser Khalifa AL BDOOR (below - centre), U.A.E Wrestling, Judo and Kickboxing Federation Vice President, made the welcome address for the hosts.

“I welcome you all here to Abu Dhabi and trust that you will have a pleasant stay. We are very proud of the accomplishments of our judoka at Rio 2016 and to win our first Olympic judo medal. I congratulate Sergiu TOMA and all of judo’s great champions for the results at the Games.

“This bronze medal will hope to develop the youth level of judo in the United Arab Emirates and we look forward to more success. I wish you all an excellent competition in Abu Dhabi.”


Use #JudoAbuDhabi2016 to join in with the social media discussion 



Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) will compete for the first time since the Games when she looks to claim her second Grand Slam title on day one in Abu Dhabi. The 24-year-old Kazakh judoka has former Mongolian teammate-turned-rival in ex-world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) for company in the category. MUNKHBAT lost her Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal contest to KONDO Ami (JPN) by a yuko to finish fifth and at 26 years old is now starting a third bid for Olympic honours having finished seventh at London 2012. World Judo Masters bronze medallist Julia FIGUEROA (ESP) will also be among those to keep tabs on at -48kg. 


Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Angelica DELGADO (USA) is the number one seed at a Grand Slam for the first time as the 25-year-old has the momentum to medal at this level for the first time. The Rio 2016 Olympian will be joined in action by London 2012 Olympian Kelly EDWARDS (GBR) who won the Glasgow European Open a fortnight ago after capturing a career-best bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix. Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Tena SIKIC (CRO) has been one of the top performers since the summer and will be expecting to win her second Grand Slam medal of the season after bronze in Tyumen. 


World Judo Masters silver medallist Helene RECEVEAUX (FRA) was overlooked for Rio 2016 in favour of London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Automne PAVIA (FRA) who went on to finish seventh in Brazil. RECEVEAUX, 25, will now compete for the first time since the Masters and could launch her bid for Tokyo 2020 by winning her first Grand Slam gold medal. Manon DURBACH (LUX) won her country’s first Grand Prix medal last time out as she took silver in Uzbekistan and has now attracted national broadcasters from her country to Abu Dhabi. 


European Championships silver medallist Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) will be top seed at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam as she fights for the first time since finishing seventh at Rio 2016. The 24-year-old Austrian finished fifth at the World Judo Masters either side of the European Championships and Olympic Games and will be the favourite for -63kg gold. World Judo Masters silver medallist Juul FRANSSEN (NED) will be confident of winning a second career Grand Slam medal after silver in Paris last year while Mariana SILVA (BRA) returns to the IJF World Judo Tour after an unexpected fifth-place at Rio 2016. 


Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Maria PORTELA (BRA) won this event when it was a Grand Prix in 2012 and is capable of topping a Grand Slam podium this time around. The double Olympian from Porto Alegre fell in the second round at her home Olympics and will look to bounce back with a medal-winning display this weekend as it remains to be seen if the battling Brazilian will commit to four more years. Junior European champion Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) is more than capable of opening her Grand Slam gold medal count this weekend as the 19-year-old is one of the most talented teenage judoka in the world. Former Cadet European Championship winner Katie-Jemima YEATS-BROWN (GBR) is starting to fulfil her potential on the senior stage having won the Glasgow European Open two weeks ago and will be excited to make her Gland Slam bow in Abu Dhabi.  


European Championships silver medallist Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) started her road to Tokyo 2020 with a silver medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix. After being surprisingly left out of her country’s Rio 2016 team STEENHUIS returned to action in Croatia and was left disappointed with silver but extended her medal-winning win to six consecutive events. Samsun Grand Prix winner Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) and teammate Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA) who won bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix will both be contenders for France while Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Klara APOTEKAR (SLO) will be chasing successive Grand Slam medals. 


Budapest Grand Prix winner Carolin WEISS (GER) took silver in Zagreb in September and should produce a similar result in Abu Dhabi. The former Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist is the top seed in the women’s heavyweight category which will be contested on the last day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. Rio 2016 Olympian Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) lost her opening contest at the Games as one of the worst performing members of the hosts’ 14-strong team. The Brazilian needs a much-improved performance on Sunday to restore the faith in her while Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Maryna SLUTSKAYA (BLR) will be looking for back-to-back IJF World Judo Tour honours. 

Judoka around the world will celebrate #WorldJudoDay on Friday 28 October, the birth date of judo founder Jigoro Kano

Click here for 25 ideas for activities on #WorldJudoDay 



Havana Grand Prix winner Eric TAKABATAKE (BRA) will be looking to lead from the front when he steps onto the tatami on #WorldJudoDay as the top seed in the -60kg category. The Brazilian will aim to finish ahead of recent standouts such as Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Matjaz TRBOVC (SLO) and Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Albert OGUZOV (RUS). 


Zagreb Grand Prix winner Andraz JEREB (SLO) will have Olympic and world medallists to deal with in the -66kg category as one of the strongest fields in the competition. JEREB, 24, who took bronze at the Tashkent Grand Prix earlier this month, is the top seed ahead of former world silver medallist Azamat MUKANOV (KAZ), London 2012 Olympic champion Arsen GALSTYAN (RUS) and Pan American Championships winner Charles CHIBANA (BRA) – who lost to eventual Olympic bronze medallist EBINUMA Masashi (JPN) in Rio. 


Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) graces the IJF World Judo Tour as an Olympic medallist for the first time in Abu Dhabi and will start as a heavy favourite. ORUJOV has Tyumen Grand Slam winner Musa MOGUSHKOV (RUS) alongside him at -73kg while Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Tommy MACIAS (SWE) will aim to win a first Grand Slam medal. Former world bronze medallist Victor SCVORTOV (U.A.E) is one of the hosts’ leading judoka and will be in medal contention. 


U.A.E hero Sergiu TOMA (U.A.E) won his country’s second Olympic medal in their history when he won bronze at Rio 2016. TOMA will receive a rapturous ovation and will be fancied to win gold in front of his home fans. World bronze medallist Victor PENALBER (BRA) fell short at the Olympics and will need to be motivated and in good condition to medal in Abu Dhabi. Former Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Frank DE WIT (NED) is still only 20 years old and will be a fighter to look out for in this new Olympic cycle. 


Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB) is the top seed on the Grand Slam stage for the first time in his career and the world number 14 will expect to produce a similar result in the Emirates. KUKOLJ, 25, was fifth at the European Championships this year and is Serbia’s top men’s medal hope in Abu Dhabi. Almaty Grand Prix winner Axel CLERGET (FRA) mounted a late bid for Rio 2016 selection with a run of top displays on the IJF World Judo Tour but graciously backed teammate Alexander IDDIR (FRA) who was impactful for the full course of the last Olympic cycle and earned the pick for France. CLERGET competes for the first time since a fifth-place at the World Judo Masters and will be in action along with Glasgow European Open winner Max STEWART (GBR). 


Former world champion Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) was one of the most vocal Azerbaijan supporters in the stands in Rio as he watched -100kg compatriot Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) take silver. The Azeri veteran could be signing off from the Grand Slam stage at 34 years old but will still pack the power to trouble the likes of Rio 2016 Olympian Rafael BUZACARINI (BRA) and former world champion CORREA Luciano (BRA). 


World Judo Masters winner Daniel NATEA (ROU) won the Zagreb Grand Prix in September in his comeback following an early exit in Rio. World number four NATEA, 24, is far from being the finished product and needs consistent and clinical wins to build himself up as a potential threat to double Olympic champion Teddy RINER (FRA). David MOURA (BRA) had to watch from the stands in Rio as heavyweight colleague Rafael SILVA (BRA) represented the hosts in the heavyweight category and won his second Olympic bronze medal. MOURA has added muscle mass and trained all summer as he awaited the start of the new Olympic cycle and will be looking to stand toe-to-toe with judoka such as former Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Soslan BOSTANOV (RUS) before an expected showdown with NATEA in the latter stages on Sunday. 

12:00 Preliminaries on two mats
16:40 Opening ceremony 
17:00 Final block on one mat

Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg 
Men: -60kg, -66kg 

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:  IPIC Arena

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tashkent Grand Prix 2016 - Uzbekistan DAY THREE



Women: -78kg | +78kg 
Men: -90kg | -100kg | +100kg 

The Tashkent Grand Prix 2016, the second IJF Grand Prix following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and penultimate Grand Prix of the year, came to a rip-roaring conclusion on Saturday as the heavyweights had their chance to shine in Uzbekistan.    

The three-day Grand Prix showcased the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories on the last day of competition.

Hosts Uzbekistan, who fielded 55 judoka from a possible from 56 after suffering a late injury in the build-up to their flagship judo event, were engaged in the final block on all three days and were in the medal hunt in every weight category.

Asian Championships winner Komronshokh USTOPIRIYON (TJK) in white - who received IJF support for qualification events for Rio 2016 - was among the medal contenders on day three

The judo-loving nation finished out of sight at the top of the medal table with a phenomenal return of six gold medals, three silver medals and 11 bronze medals. Most crucially for the hosts, their golden haul included -70kg winner Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA (UZB) who become the first Uzbek woman to win IJF World Judo Tour gold when she triumphed on Friday.

Tashkent’s fourth annual instalment of Grand Prix action will be remembered for that historic feat from MATNIYAZOVA as well as their incredible strength and depth in both their men’s and women’s squads who could be their strongest ever by the time of the next Olympiad in Tokyo. Judo has a special place in the hearts of Uzbek people and that was evident from Thursday morning when the competition started through until Saturday night.

The passion, pride and warmth of the hosts provided a platform for a successful Grand Prix which will continue to be a key leg on the IJF World Judo Tour.

Judo’s elite will now prepare for the Middle East and the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, the fourth Grand Slam of the season following Paris (FRA), Baku (AZE) and Tyumen (RUS), which will take place from Friday 28 – Sunday 30 October. Over 200 judoka from 35 nations will make the trip to the U.A.E with a host of Rio 2016 Olympic medallists set to return to IJF World Judo Tour action. 

Watch #JudoAbuDhabi2016, the last but one Grand Slam of the IJF World Judo Tour 2016, live at


-78kg: Joy for JOO who makes it one from one for Hungary      

Zagreb Grand Prix winner JOO Abigel (HUN) came from behind in the -78kg final to defeat Almaty Grand Prix silver medallist Albina AMANGELDIYEVA (KAZ). JOO was one of the strongest and highest profile judoka in Tashkent but surprisingly fell behind to world number 39 AMANGELDIYEVA. The Kazakh fighter led with a yuko from a tani-otoshi before JOO scored a waza-ari with an uchi-mata and remained in front for the remainder of the contest to win back-to-back Grand Prix. Hungary’s only judoka gave their country an 100% record as their only representative in Uzbekistan. 

In the first semi-final two-time Olympian JOO Abigel (HUN) defeated world number 76 Zarina RAIFOVA (KAZ) after just 15 seconds by ippon from an uchi-mata. In the second semi-final AMANGELDIYEVA bested 21-year-old Kumush YULDASHOVA (UZB) by a yuko in a tight contest.

The first bronze medal was won by YULDASHOVA who saw off 18-year-old Junior Asian Championships silver medallist Nodira YULDASHEVA (UZB). YULDASHOVA scored a yuko from a determined sacrifice throw and added a waza-ari from a kesa-gatame to beat the clock and capture a place on the podium. The second bronze medal contest was won by RAIFOVA who dispatched 17-year-old cadet Dilnoza KAMOLOVA (UZB). Uzbekistan’s KAMOLOVA, who was one of the youngest judoka in the competition, was caught with an osoto-gari for a yuko and was trapped in a modified sankaku-gatame hold for 20 seconds and for ippon.
AMANGELDIYEVA, Albina (KAZ) vs JOO, Abigel (HUN)                                               

Bronze Medal Fights
YULDASHOVA, Kumush (UZB) vs YULDASHEVA, Nodira (UZB)                                     
RAIFOVA, Zarina (KAZ) vs KAMOLOVA, Dilnoza (UZB)                                     

Final Results 
1. JOO, Abigel (HUN)                                                                                              
2. AMANGELDIYEVA, Albina (KAZ)                                                    
3. YULDASHOVA, Kumush (UZB)                                             
3. RAIFOVA, Zarina (KAZ)                                              
5. YULDASHEVA, Nodira (UZB)                                                                            
5. KAMOLOVA, Dilnoza (UZB)                                    

+78kg: Kazakh veteran completes Grand Prix hat-trick in potential swansong  

Asian Championships silver medallist Gulzhan ISSANOVA (KAZ) won her third Grand Prix title with a victory over Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Maryna SLUTSKAYA (BLR). The duo were even in the head-to-head series coming into the contest with one win apiece and it was the veteran ISSANOVA who moved ahead with a nail-biting win on shido penalties 1:2 after a misfiring SLUTSKAYA was twice penalised for passivity while the winner was only penalised once for the same indiscretion. The 33-year-old, who missed out on a place at Rio 2016, may decide to end on a high or with this win and points windfall could target one more World Championships experience with a record $1 million in prize money to be shared among the medallists in Budapest next year.    


In the first semi-final SLUTSKAYA registered a full house of scores against 20-year-old Junior Asian Championships bronze medallist Rahima YULDOSHOVA (UZB). The Belarus judoka improved with every score as an opening yuko was followed by a waza-ari and then ippon to secure a spot in the gold medal contest. In the second semi-final ISSANOVA confidently held down Orenburg European Cup winner Daria KARPOVA (RUS) in osaekomi for 20 seconds and ippon. ISSANOVA used a ushiro-kesa-gatame to pin down the Russian fighter to advance to the final.

The first bronze medal was won by KARPOVA who won her first clash against 18-year-old Grand Prix debutant Gulnoza AZIMOVA (UZB) by ippon from a juji-gatame after 28 seconds.                                 
The second bronze medal was won by world-ranked YULDOSHOVA over young heavyweight Saneayim ERKINBAEVA (UZB). YULDOSHOVA and ERKINBAEVA, who were opposed against each other for the first time on the IJF World Judo Tour, could not be separated after four minutes of relative inaction and needed an additional 72 seconds to decide who would represent Uzbekistan on the women’s heavyweight podium. YULDOSHOVA submitted her teammate with a juji-gatame for an invaluable win as she plots a run of international assignments for her country. 
ISSANOVA, Gulzhan (KAZ) vs SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR)                                    
Bronze Medal Fights
KARPOVA, Daria (RUS) vs AZIMOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)
ERKINBAEVA, Saneayim (UZB) vs YULDOSHOVA, Rahima (UZB)                       

Final Results
1. ISSANOVA, Gulzhan (KAZ)                                      
2. SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR)                                                                                
3. KARPOVA, Daria (RUS)                                         
3. YULDOSHOVA, Rahima (UZB)                        
5. AZIMOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)
5. ERKINBAEVA, Saneayim (UZB)                          
7. KHAMROKULOVA, Shakhlo (UZB)                 


-90kg: IMAMOV defeats young contender on second start at his new weight    

Former Paris Grand Slam winner Yakhyo IMAMOV (UZB) delivered gold on only his second competition in his new weight category as he beat former Minsk World Cup bronze medallist Davronbek SATTOROV (UZB) for gold. The 26-year-old IMAMOV debuted at -90kg at the Budapest Grand Prix this summer and was eliminated in round two. The former -81kg judoka received a shido for not taking a grip, as did his opponent, and they remained level and scoreless after five minutes. After SATTOROV received medical treatment off the tatami for a finger laceration, IMAMOV made a desperate attack which was enough for a yuko score and gold.   

IMAMOV in -90kg semi-final action 

In the first semi-final Asian Championships winner Komronshokh USTOPIRIYON (TJK) was humbled by Davronbek SATTOROV in a dramatic contest which was settled in the final seconds. A yuko with nine seconds remaining handed the Uzbek judoka the win and his first Grand Prix final after a competitive contest which was lapped up by the crowd. In the second semi-final 19-year-old Junior Asian Championships winner Mukhammadkarim KHURRAMOV (UZB) lost out to IMAMOV by a yuko from a seoi-nage as it was the seasoned international who pipped the youngster to the final.

The first bronze medal was awarded to home judoka KHURRAMOV who defeated 21-year-old Meirambek ZHANGABAY (KAZ) in the opening contest of the final block on day in Tashkent. Both judoka were aiming to win their first IJF medal hardware and that honour went to the Uzbek starlet who prevailed on shido penalties 2:3 to resume the medal flow for the hosts at the first opportunity. The second bronze medal went to world number 29 Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS) who won a scoreless contest against world number 13 USTOPIRIYON. It was the latter, who was financially supported to attend qualification events for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by the International Judo Federation, who came closest to scoring with his favoured uchi-mata which was also on show in the previous rounds. MAGOMEDOV earned the win and a vital medal on shido penalties 2:3 as he closed in on the world’s top 20 on the world ranking list. 
IMAMOV, Yakhyo (UZB) vs SATTOROV, Davronbek (UZB)                                         
Bronze Medal Fights
KHURRAMOV, Mukhammadkarim (UZB) vs ZHANGABAY, Meirambek (KAZ)                                        
USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK) vs MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)            

Final Results
1. IMAMOV, Yakhyo (UZB)                                             
2. SATTOROV, Davronbek (UZB)                                         
3. KHURRAMOV, Mukhammadkarim (UZB)                                      
3. MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)                                                           
5. ZHANGABAY, Meirambek (KAZ)                                                                                  .                                          
5. USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK)                                            
7. NAMAZOV, Ziya (AZE)                                       
7. SHARBATLI, Vasif (AZE)                                 

-100kg: KURBONOV repeats 2013 home win for Uzbekistan            

Budapest Grand Prix silver medallist Soyib KURBONOV (UZB) went unbeaten on the final day in Tashkent to be crowned -100kg gold medallist as he defeated Madrid European Open bronze medallist Jalil SHUKUROV (AZE) in the final. The Uzbek had won their one and only previous meeting and that outcome was the same today as the world number 25 prevailed 2:3 on shido penalties. Both judoka had two shidos to their names with 10 seconds left and golden score loomed until the Azeri was penalised for a cross-grip and had to rue that grave error which settled the fate of the gold and silver medals.  


KURBONOV in -100kg semi-final action 
In the first semi-final KURBONOV defeated Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Kazbek ZANKISHIEV (RUS) after 68 seconds of golden score with a yuko from a makikomi attack. In the second semi-final former Asian Championships bronze medallist Saidzhalol SAIDOV (TJK) succumbed to SHUKUROV by ippon after 10 seconds from a tai-otoshi.

The first bronze medal was won by 25-year-old former Asian Championships bronze medallist Viktor DEMYANENKO (KAZ) who edged out SAIDOV in a scoreless contest on shido penalties. DEMYANENKO won his first IJF Grand Prix medal when his opponent received a fourth and final penalty to receive hansoku-make. The second bronze medal was won by former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Erkin DONIYOROV (UZB) who countered the ashi-waza attack of ZANKISHIEV for a waza-ari and the home judoka landed on top of his opponent and remained there for 15 seconds in osaekomi to win by waza-ari awasette-ippon.                  

SHUKUROV, Jalil (AZE) vs KURBONOV, Soyib (UZB)                                        

Bronze Medal FightsSAIDOV, Saidzhalol (TJK) vs DEMYANENKO, Viktor (KAZ)                            
DONIYOROV, Erkin (UZB) vs ZANKISHIEV, Kazbek (RUS)                 

Final Result
1. KURBONOV, Soyib (UZB)                                               
2. SHUKUROV, Jalil (AZE)                                          
3. DEMYANENKO, Viktor (KAZ)                                                                   
3. DONIYOROV, Erkin (UZB)                                                          
5. SAIDOV, Saidzhalol (TJK)                                                       
5. ZANKISHIEV, Kazbek (RUS)                                                             
7. TUYMURODOV, Avazkhon (UZB)                                          
7. OLTIBOEV, Bekmurod (UZB)                                 

+100kg: Kazakhstan’s SHYNKEYEV wins the last gold medal in Tashkent    

Asian Championships bronze medallist Yerzhan SHYNKEYEV (KAZ) won his first Grand Prix gold medal as he defeated Tyumen Grand Slam winner Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) to clinch the men’s heavyweight title in the last contest of the Tashkent Grand Prix 2016. Both judoka had the appealing incentive of a first Grand Prix gold medal and SHYNKEYEV conjured up the best moment of the contest as he scored a yuko with an uchi-mata after the halfway point of the contest. 

In the first semi-final VOLKOV bested Talllinn European Open winner Aliaksandr VAKHAVIAK (BLR) with a juji-gatame while the second semi-final was a battle of Asian Championships bronze medallists in Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) and Yerzhan SHYNKEYEV (KAZ). The Kazakh judoka scored a yuko and a waza-ari without reply to topple his opponent.

The first bronze medal went to former Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Boltoboy BALTAEV (UZB) who defeated world number 21 KRAKOVETSKII. World number 77 BALTAEV won 1:2 on shidos as KRAKOVETSKII never got into his stride at the Uzbekistan Sport Complex despite a more than respectable showing at the Olympic Games. The second bronze medal went to world number 55 VAKHAVIAK who thwarted 25-year-old Shukhrat TUROBOEV (UZB). Belarus’ heavyweight trapped his unranked opponent with a mune-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon to claim the second Grand Prix medal of his late-blooming career.                     
SHYNKEYEV, Yerzhan (KAZ) vs VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)                                             

Bronze Medal Fights
KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ) vs BALTAEV, Boltoboy (UZB)         
TUROBOEV, Shukhrat (UZB) vs VAKHAVIAK, Aliaksandr (BLR)                  

Final Result
1. SHYNKEYEV, Yerzhan (KAZ)                                                
2. VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)                                                
3. BALTAEV, Boltoboy (UZB)                                                          
3. VAKHAVIAK, Aliaksandr (BLR)                        
5. KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ)                
5. TUROBOEV, Shukhrat (UZB)                    
7. NAZMITDINOV, Renat (UZB)                           
7. IMINOV, Akbarzhan (USA)                               

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tashkent Grand Prix 2016 - Uzbekistan DAY TWO

Hosts Uzbekistan overtook Russia at the top of the medal table at the Tashkent Grand Prix as they won three of the four gold medals at stake on day two including history-making Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA (UZB) who became the first woman from Uzbekistan to win IJF Grand Prix gold at the Uzbekistan Sport Complex on Friday.  

The fourth edition of the Tashkent Grand Prix provided their country’s first female gold medallist as Uzbekistan won gold in the -70kg category while their men charged to victory in the -73kg and -81kg categories.

Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA has long been at the forefront of her country’s women’s programme as a three-time Grand Prix bronze medallist and is one of a new and exciting generation of young female judoka who are changing the face of Uzbekistan judo.

The Judo Federation of Uzbekistan has an illustrious men’s programme which was seen at the Olympics when they won two bronze medals through Rishod SOBIROV and Diyorbek UROZBOEV and dates back to current President Armen BAGDASAROV winning silver at the 1996 Olympics.

The home crowd were ecstatic after Uzbekistan excelled on day two

The country also starred at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as they won 10 medals in judo including three bronze and one silver from their women.

Uzbekistan were able to enter 27 women into the Tashkent Grand Prix 2016 which is one less than the maximum they are allowed to enter as hosts as they suffered a late injury. The 27-strong contingent had a two-week training camp at the IJF Olympic Training Centre in Tashkent before the competition and the results speak for themselves. Youth is the key for Uzbekistan as the majority of those 27 judoka are still juniors and are slowly but surely emerging onto the IJF World Judo Tour.

The Tashkent Grand Prix 2016 will conclude on Saturday with the heavyweights as the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories will grace the two tatami along with the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories.  

Young fans celebrate with their heroes 

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-63kg: Daria’s day as Russia win third gold medal in Tashkent   

Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Daria DAVYDOVA (RUS) topped an IJF World Judo Tour medal podium for the first time as she defeated Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Marijana MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC (CRO) to win -63kg gold. MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC, who finished a career-best seventh at the World Championships last year, is the oldest judoka in the category in Tashkent but also the highest ranked. The world number 23 from Croatia, who was beaten in the first round of the Zagreb Grand Prix two weeks ago, fell behind to waza-ari from an uchi-mata and battled until the end but was second best.

In the first semi-final MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC defeated Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Andreja LESKI (SLO). The 34-year-old Croatian beat the 19-year-old Slovenian with shime-waza as an osoto-gari sent the youngster down to a horizontal base and the veteran applied the okuri-eri-jime strangle to force the submission. In the second semi-final DAVYDOVA beat little-known 23-year-old Mukhayyo IBRAGIMOVA (UZB) by a waza-ari to guarantee one more medal for Russia who started day two top of the medal table.

The first bronze medal was won by Tallinn European Open bronze medallist Daniela KAZANOI (BLR) who defeated IBRAGIMOVA by a yuko from an ouchi-gari. The result is a career-best for the 23-year-old from Belarus who will look to become a mainstay on the IJF World Judo Tour. The second bronze medal was won by LESKI over former Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Hannah MARTIN (USA).  It’s no surprise to see Slovenia win a medal at -63kg as they have among their ranks the Rio 2016 Olympic champion (Tina TRSTENJAK) and London 2012 Olympic champion at this weight (Urska ZOLNIR). MARTIN, who travels further and wider than most judoka in search of IJF honours, was penalised after 51 seconds in golden score as both judoka were unable to penetrate the scoreboard in regular time.           
DAVYDOVA, Daria (RUS) vs MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC, Marijana (CRO)                                    
Bronze Medal Fights
IBRAGIMOVA, Mukhayyo (UZB) vs KAZANOI, Daniela (BLR)    
LESKI, Andreja (SLO) vs MARTIN, Hannah (USA)                                     

Final Results
1. DAVYDOVA, Daria (RUS)  
2. MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC, Marijana (CRO)                                                                       
3. KAZANOI, Daniela (BLR)         
3. LESKI, Andreja (SLO)                                                        
5. IBRAGIMOVA, Mukhayyo (UZB                                                            
5. MARTIN, Hannah (USA)                                        
7. TAVASHAROVA, Shodiya (UZB)                                       
7. ZIYAEVA, Gulnoza (UZB)                   

-70kg: MATNIYAZOVA leads women’s judo revolution in Uzbekistan 

Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA (UZB) defeated Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Anka POGACNIK (SLO) to fulfil her destiny as the first woman to win IJF gold for Uzbekistan. The 22-year-old Asian Championships silver medallist is leading a female revolution for her country and made that point in the most important setting in her homeland with maximum attention on her exploits. The world number 28 faced Sofia European Open winner POGACNIK, 24, in the final as the crowd were salivating when their hero-in-waiting took to the mat to compete for gold. The nervy contest went the distance with no score and no shidos after four minutes which meant that golden score would be required to determine a winner. MATNIYAZOVA delivered the moment she has waited for her entire career as she found a way past POGACNIK with a makikomi after an additional one minute and 23 seconds and jumped for joy on the middle of the mat after being awarded the gold medal-winning score. 

In the first semi-final MATNIYAZOVA showed why she was the top seed as she sent 21-year-old Aelita CHSHERBAKOVA (KAZ) up and over with a breathtaking uchi-mata after 52 seconds for ippon and one of the most spectacular scores of the competition. In the second semi-final Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Anka POGACNIK (SLO) pinned down 23-year-old Iana DIBRINA (RUS) with a kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds for ippon and a place her first Grand Prix final.  

The first bronze medal was claimed by DIBRINA who showed her lethal ne-waza to topple 21-year-old Vasila ALIBOEVA (UZB) who has only competed at the Tashkent Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016 on the IJF stage. With famed French ne-waz specialist Jean-Pierre GILBERT in the chair for DIBRINA, the young fighter won her first IJF medal with a performance that her coach will be very proud of. The Russian had finished seventh at the last two Tyumen Grand Slam events and took that experience and disappointment with her into today as she seized her chance to showcase her developing skills in Uzbekistan. DIBRINA, who led by a yuko, held down ALIBOEVA with a sankaku-gatame for 16 seconds for a waza-ari as the home judoka escaped but the former soon regained control on the ground with a mune-gatame for 15 seconds to win by waza-ari awasette-ippon. 
The second bronze medal was captured by CHSHERBAKOVA who defeated 19-year-old Junior Asian Cup winner Umida SAIDOVA (UZB) in the opening minute. The Kazakh fighter beat her neighbour to win her first IJF medal by submitting SAIDOVA with a rapid juji-gatame after 38 seconds.          
POGACNIK, Anka (SLO) vs MATNIYAZOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)                                         

Bronze Medal Fights
DIBRINA, Iana (RUS) vs ALIBOEVA, Vasila (UZB)                                     
CHSHERBAKOVA, Aelita (KAZ) vs SAIDOVA, Umida (UZB)           

Final Results
1. MATNIYAZOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)                                                                                    
2. POGACNIK, Anka (SLO)                                           
3. DIBRINA, Iana (RUS)  
3. CHSHERBAKOVA, Aelita (KAZ)              
5. ALIBOEVA, Vasila (UZB)                                          
5. SAIDOVA, Umida (UZB)                               
7. ISMATULLAEVA, Sangina (UZB)                                        


-73kg: FARMONOV flourishes in Uzbekistan against his teammate               

Asian Games bronze medallist Mirzahid FARMONOV (UZB) had the measure of his younger teammate and heir apparent in Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Giyosjon BOBOEV (UZB) to win the -73kg title on Friday. FARMONOV, 28 and BOBOEV, 23, who warmed up together this morning, matched each other for five minutes and could not be separated. The Uzbekistan faithful relished seeing two of their judoka in the final and were always going to appreciate and applaud both men regardless of the outcome. After 44 seconds of golden score, FARMONOV scored a waza-ari from an uchi-mata sukashi as Uzbekistan made it a one-two at -73kg. 


In the first semi-final BOBOEV profited from a rookie mistake by Junior European Championships winner Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE). The talented 19-year-old was disqualified for a clear hansoku-make for a waki-gatame and reluctantly accepted the decision. In the second semi-final former Tyumen Grand Slam winner Uali KURZHEV (RUS) was pitted against FARMONOV and the two produced a first-class contest. After trading yuko scores in five minutes of regulation time, there was not a winner so the contest moved into golden score. After 35 seconds the Russian fighter was penalised for passivity to book an all-Uzbek -73kg final.

The first bronze medal was won by KURZHEV who dramatically came from behind to defeat Almaty Grand Prix bronze medallist Yeldos ZHUMAKANOV (KAZ). The Russian was clearly hampered by a right wrist injury and was fighting to contain his opponent. ZHUMAKANOV took the lead with a yuko but got caught with 25 seconds remaining as his tactics were off in the closing minute. KURZHEV still pressed forward and earned a waza-ari from a ko-soto-gake which decided the contest after five minutes. The gutsy Russian judoka then stopped to sign some autographs for young fans before leaving the field of play. The second bronze medal went to 19-year-old Junior European Cup bronze medallist Muso SOBIROV (UZB) as HEYDAROV was disqualified in his previous contest. 
FARMONOV, Mirzahid (UZB) vs BOBOEV, Giyosjon (UZB)        

Bronze Medal Fights
KURZHEV, Uali (RUS) vs ZHUMAKANOV, Yeldos (KAZ)                                      
HEYDAROV, Hidayat (AZE) vs SOBIROV, Muso (UZB)                        

Final Results
1. FARMONOV, Mirzahid (UZB)                                                     
2. BOBOEV, Giyosjon (UZB)                    
3. KURZHEV, Uali (RUS)                                            
3. SOBIROV, Muso (UZB)                        
5. ZHUMAKANOV, Yeldos (KAZ)                                           
5. HEYDAROV, Hidayat (AZE)                                                    
7. ZHUMAKANOV, Yeldos (KAZ)                                        
7. HOJAK, Martin (SLO)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

-81kg: Teenage ace BOBONOV thrills his home fans

Junior Asian champion Davlat BOBONOV (UZB) underlined his status as one of his country’s top prospects as he won gold on his Grand Prix debut. The 19-year-old bested 24-year-old WATANABE Hayato (JPN) who was also making his Grand Prix debut. WATANABE, who had made one previous appearance on IJF World Judo Tour at the 2014 Tokyo Grand Slam – when he beat WANG Ki-Chun (KOR) before losing to Victor PENALBER (BRA) - was unable to match the gold medal result of his only teammate in Tashkent in TAKAICHI Kengo (JPN) who claimed -66kg gold on day one. BOBONOV produced the only score of the contest – a yuko from an uchi-mata after two minutes – and lived dangerously as he accumulated three shido penalties and just escaped a fourth in the closing seconds. 

BOBONOV (blue) in semi-final action against ISMAYILOV (AZE)

In the first semi-final WATANABE dispatched world number 195 Arman MAKHAMBETOV (KAZ) with a thunderous ippon at the halfway point having led by a waza-ari from a drop seoi-nage. In the second semi-final Prague Junior European Cup bronze medallist Rufat ISMAYILOV (AZE) fell to home judoka BOBONOV by ippon from a koshi-guruma which will be played over and over again on highlight reels.

The first bronze medal was won by ISMAYILOV who shaded 22-year-old Afig SAFARLI (AZE) whose best result before today was fifth at this year’s Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix. ISMAYILOV won the all-Azeri meeting by a yuko score from a reaching osoto-gari. The second bronze medal was won by former world silver medallist Srdjan MRVALJEVIC (MNE) against MAKHAMBETOV. The 32-year-old, who had the day of his life at the 2011 Worlds when he won silver, won his first Grand Prix medal on shido penalties in a scoreless contest as the Kazakh fighter was penalised twice while the veteran from Montenegro was only penalised once.       
BOBONOV, Davlat (UZB) vs WATANABE, Hayato (JPN)                   

Bronze Medal Fights
ISMAYILOV, Rufat (AZE) vs SAFARLI, Afig (AZE)                              
MAKHAMBETOV, Arman (KAZ) vs MRVALJEVIC, Srdjan (MNE)                                   

Final Result
1. BOBONOV, Davlat (UZB)                                                      
2. WATANABE, Hayato (JPN)                       
3. ISMAYILOV, Rufat (AZE)    
3. MRVALJEVIC, Srdjan (MNE)                                                                             
5. SAFARLI, Afig (AZE)                                                               
5. MAKHAMBETOV, Arman (KAZ)                                          
7. SABIROV, Shakhzodbek (UZB)                      
7. ZOLOEV, Vladimir (KGZ)