Sunday, March 30, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014 DAY 3

(Via IJF)

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

The third and final day of the Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014, came to a great conclusion today in Turkey. The women’s -78kg and +78kg categories graced the tatami along with the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories.   

Over the weekend, 351 athletes from 44 delegations competed to earn points for the World Ranking List. There were several good surprises but also important confirmations of the sport's leading judoka. The Turkish Judo Federation can be very proud of the work that was done since last year’s edition of the Grand Prix and without any doubt, the organizational level as well as the sport level significantly increased this year for this second edition. Next year, the Judo Grand Prix in Samsun will count for the Olympic Qualification which will give even more visibility to the competition.

Throughout the weekend, the current IJF refereeing rules were applied and gave a good opportunity to the athletes, referees and to the public to get familiarized with them. All the feedback was very positive and the rules will continue to be strictly applied during the upcoming event. The next IJF World Judo Tour competition will be the Judo Grand Slam, Baku 2014, which will be held from May 9-11 in Azerbaijan. The Olympic qualification period for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will start after the Baku Grand Slam.

Education in Turkey

Following the Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014, the IJF and the Turkish Judo Federation will organize several educational activities, led by Daniel Lascau, IJF Sports Director, and Nicolas Messner, Media and Judo for Peace Director. The focus will be put on the judo values and how they can help the federation to set up development programmes, which will increase the number of judoka and help to build a better society. Four sessions are scheduled (two judo sessions on the tatami and two conferences). Club representatives, local Directors, parents, media and school, university and sports managers have been invited to follow the sessions. Most of the session will be held in the brand news Olympic Training center, that the IJF representatives already visited on the eve of the competition. Daniel Lascau said: "It is important to combine the sport and the education. Both dimensions help the development of judo. We have already set up a branch of the IJF Academy in Turkey. With the next two days, we will really focus on the education and the judo values. By doing that, we will of course also highlight the Olympic values which we share with the Olympic Movement."

In parallel to the World Judo Tour, every time ‘the top level activity’ stops somewhere in the world, educational activities are organized. Local judo leaders and children are involved. The first pilot project was launched in China, on the occasion of the Judo Grand Prix, Qingdao 2012. Judo clinics with children conferences were organizes. For more than a year and a half, several other programs have been developed in Azerbaijan, USA, Mongolia, Brazil, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, France and now in Turkey. The biggest programme is the Judo Educational Tour Through China. The first part of it was organized at the end of 2013. During two weeks, IJF representatives and Chinese Champions, travelled throughout the country and organized more than 15 events for more than 3,500 young judoka. The tour ended on the Great Wall. In May, the second part of the event will be held in China, starting again in Beijing and finishing in Nanjing, which will be the host city of the upcoming Youth Olympic Games.

At the end of the competition, the best male judoka was Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) and the best Female athlete, Luise MALZAHN.



-78kg: One More Gold for Germany

The final opposed Luise MALZAHN (GER) and Natalie POWELL (GBR), but due to an injury, Powell could not compete and the German added one more gold medal to the German team.

In the absence of the top athletes of the category, and among the twelve participants in the women’s -78kg, the favorite was winner of the Düsseldorf Grand Prix and the world number seven, Luise MALZAHN from Germany, who without surprise reached the final after having defeated Sviatlana TSIMASHENKA (BLR)and Kaouthar OUALLAL (ALG) both by ippon. In the second half of the draw, Natalie POWELL (GBR), bronze medallist in Düsseldorf, was the second best seeded athlete. At the first round she eliminated the French judoka Sama Hawa CAMARA and then Ivana MARANIC (CRO) in the semifinal.

The bronze medal fight opposed Sviatlana TSIMASHENKA (BLR) and Ivana MARANIC (CRO) and after the four minute fight, only penalties differentiated the two athletes, MARANIC winning the bronze.

The second bronze medal fight opposed Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA) and Kaouthar OUALLAL (ALG). After 15 seconds, OUALLAL was penalized with a first shido for cross-grip, followed by an other penalty for both athletes. Thirty seconds before the end of the fight, CAMARA executed a last-gasp ko-soto-gake for waza-ari, followed by an immobilisation for ippon. The 19-year-old French athlete won her first medal at that level of competition.

MALZAHN, Luise (GER) vs. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)

Bronze Medal Fights
TSIMASHENKA, Sviatlana (BLR) vs. MARANIC, Ivana (CRO)
CAMARA, Sama Hawa (FRA) vs. OUALLAL, Kaouthar (ALG)

Final Resuts
1. MALZAHN, Luise (GER)
2. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)
3. CAMARA, Sama Hawa (FRA)
3. MARANIC, Ivana (CRO)
5. OUALLAL, Kaouthar (ALG)
5. TSIMASHENKA, Sviatlana (BLR)
7. KANTEEVA, Alana (RUS)
7. RAMIREZ, Yahima (POR)

+78kg: Tunisia on the Top of the Podium

The last female category of the competition saw the African Champion Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN) and Jasmin KUELBS (GER) fight for gold. Rapidly the German seemed to take the lead but suddenly the Tunisian launched a rolling attack for yuko followed by an immobilisation from where KUELBS could not escape. Gold medal for Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU and Tunisia, concluding a good weekend for the African continent.

In the women’s +78kg, the silver medallist of the last world championships in Rio, Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) was definitely the ultimate favorite of the competition but she was surprisingly defeated in semifinal by the Tunisian, Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU, event if the African Athlete is not totally unknown as she already won the African Open in Casablanca this year. In the second half of the draw, there was no surprise as top seeded athlete, Jasmin KUELBS (GER), reached the final after having eliminated the second Tunisian, Sahar TRABELSI (TUN) and the Turkish fighter Gulsah KOCATURK.

The first bronze medal fight opposed the two Turkish fighters, Kubra KARA (TUR) and Gulsah KOCATURK (TUR), for a third Turkish medal on the occasion of this year’s event. After only 15 seconds, Gulsah KOCATURK launched her left handed o-soto-gari for an other ippon on this spectacular final block.

The other bronze medal fight opposed Sahar TRABELSI (TUN) and Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA). Disappointed for not having reached the final, the Brazilian, gave no chance to the Tunisian to win the medal. After 25 seconds, she applied a counter-attack (ura-nage) for ippon.


Bronze Medal Fights
KARA, Kubra (TUR) vs. KOCATURK, Gulsah (TUR)
TRABELSI, Sahar (TUN) vs. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)

Final Resuts
2. KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)
3. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)
3. KOCATURK, Gulsah (TUR)
5. KARA, Kubra (TUR)
5. TRABELSI, Sahar (TUN)
7. AKBULUT, Sebile (TUR)
7. PAKENYTE, Santa (LTU)


-90kg: Explosive Victory for Georgia

The first final of the day opposed Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) and Marc ODENTHAL (GER) and the high rhythm imposed since the start of the final block continued as in only 15 seconds GVINIASHVILI threw his opponent on his back with a powerful o-goshi for ippon and for gold.

The French Alexandre IDDIR (FRA), immediately created the surprise by sending back home the favorite of the competition, the Russian Grigorii SULEMIN (RUS), winner of the Judo Grand Slam, Moscow 2013. IDDIR passed one more preliminary round against Joakim DVARBY (SWE), before falling in the semifinal in front of Beka GVINIASHVILI with a superb ippon from the Georgian. In the second half of the draw, Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS), seemed to be the most dangerous athlete until he faced Marc ODENTHAL (GER). After a fantastic day for Germany yesterday, ODENTHAL did not give a chance to GVINIASHVILI to enter the final, ensuring one more medal for the German squad.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Joakim DVARBY (SWE) and Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS). After a little more than one minute, MAGOMEDOV launched a quick tai-otoshi, but so quick that DVARBY landed on the side for waza-ari. The rest of the fight was more difficult for MAGOMEDOV, who looked tired after a tough competition day. But the Russian could find the necessary energy, despite two penalties, to stay on the podium.

In the second bronze medal fight, Vadym SYNYAVSKY (UKR) and Alexandre IDDIR (FRA) were opposed for a place on the podium. Only 25 seconds were necessary to the French to engaged an incredible standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for ippon.


Bronze Medal Fight
DVARBY, Joakim (SWE) vs. MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)
SYNYAVSKY, Vadym (UKR) vs. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)

Final Resuts
3. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)
3. MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)
5. DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)
7. PALTCHIK, Peter (ISR)
7. VER, Gabor (HUN)

-100kg: Maret Confirms his Status in Samsun

The third final of the day saw Cyrille MARET (FRA) and Adlan BISULTANOV (RUS) compete for gold. The home winner of the Paris Grand Slam this year was the first one to score yuko after more than three minutes with a harai-makikomi, followed by a second yuko on the same action a few seconds later. MARET confirmed his favorite status for the upcoming big events.

Nothing and nobody seemed to be able to stop Cyrille MARET from France. After his solid victory in Paris, at the beginning of February, MARET has gained confidence and it is not Martin PACEK (SWE), who really put him in danger despite a very good kansetsu-waza technique (arm-lock) which was not far to be successful in the semifinal. The French, once again qualified for a final of a major international event. He is definitely one of the favorites of the upcoming European Championships, which will be held in Montpellier, France, in April. Multi-time winner of IJF event, Sergei SAMOILOVICH (RUS), was rapidly eliminated by MARET. In the second half of the draw, Adlan BISULTANOV (RUS), who was not among the top favorites of the tournament, obtained his ticket to the final having defeated Samet BULUT (TUR), Javad MAHJOUB (IRI) and Elmar GASIMOV (AZE).

The first bronze medal fight opposed Karl-Richard FREY (GER) and Elmar GASIMOV (AZE). 37 seconds were enough to Karl-Richard FREY to catch GASIMOV with a shime-waza technique for ippon.

The second bronze medal fight opposed Javad MAHJOUB (IRI) and Martin PACEK (SWE). Even less time was required for Javad MAHJOUB to apply a shime-waza technique as well and win the bronze by ippon, giving no chance to PACEK.

MARET, Cyrille (FRA) vs. BISULTANOV, Adlan (RUS)

Bronze Medal Fights
FREY, Karl-Richard (GER) vs. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
MAHJOUB, Javad (IRI) vs. PACEK, Martin (SWE)

Final Results
1. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)
3. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)
3. MAHJOUB, Javad (IRI)
5. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
5. PACEK, Martin (SWE)
7. DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)

+100kg: ASKEVICIUS Creates the Last Surprise of the Competition

The final opposed the favorite Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO) and Marius ASKEVICIUS (LTU). The bout slowly started and it looked like the decision would not be decided by penalties when ASKEVICIUS launched a beautiful uchi-mata for ippon.

Winner of last week’s Grand Prix in his home country, Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO), was again on the run today in Samsun. Looking a little tired, he nevertheless produced an incredible effort to defeat his opponent with brilliant movements. In the first round he defeated Bilal ZOUANI (ALG), then Yerzhan SHYNKEYEV (KAZ) and Andre BREITBARTH (GER) in the semifinal. Islam EL SHEHABY (EGY), who used to be among the top best athletes of the category, tried a come-back but could not go through the first round. He was surprised by the tactics of Bilal ZOUANI and was penalized four times for a disqualification. In the second half of the draw, Marius PASKEVICIUS (LTU) showed the most potential to win a medal and that is what he did by entering the final against OKRUASHVILI, after having defeated Vladut SIMIONESCU (ROU), Daniel ALLERSTORFER (AUT) and the giant Renat SAIDOV (RUS) in semifinal.

The first bronze medal fight of the day opposed Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) and Renat SAIDOV (RUS), but with the Russian being injured, the medal went to Georgia and to Levani MATIASHVILI.

In the second bronze medal contest, it took Stanislav BONDARENKO (UKR) a little more than 30 seconds to throw Andre BREITBARTH (GER) on his back with force, speed and control for ippon (tani-otoshi).


Bronze Medal Fights

Final Results
3. BONDARENKO, Stanislav (UKR)
5. SAIDOV, Renat (RUS)
7. SHYNKEYEV, Yerzhan (KAZ)

Lucie Decosse (FRA) to Mentor Athletes at Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games

(Via IJF)
Lucie Decosse becomes Olympic Champion in London 2012

Recently the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the list of 37 Athlete Role Models (ARMs) who will attend the second Summer Youth Olympic Games from 16 to 28 August in Nanjing, China. Lucie Decosse, Olympic and World Champion, was designated as the ARM for Judo. In Nanjing, she will play a key role in supporting, mentoring and offering advice to the 3,800 young athletes who will be participating in the Games.

Claudia Bokel, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and Olympic silver medallist in fencing, said: “The Athlete Role Model programme is a really unique element of the Youth Olympic Games. The ARMs have so much valuable information to pass on to the younger generation. They will really inspire and empower the athletes long after the Games conclude to not only be great ‘Youth Olympians’, but to share the skills and values learnt at the YOG with their communities and peers.

Just after her nomination, Lucie Decosse commented: "It is a real honor for me to become the Athlete Role Model for Judo. I really have the feeling that I will be like an ambassador of my sport. It represents a lot to me, because in 1998, I participated in the World Youth Games in Moscow as an athlete. I have the impression that now the circle is closed. There is a philosophical dimension in becoming the Role Model in Nanjing."

The Olympic and World Champion also declared: "For the moment, I am waiting for my exact missions during the Games. It is something new for me. I know that everything will be well organized and that I will have to exchange a lot with all the participants to transfer to them my experience. I will have to communicate on my career. I will probably participate in conferences, discussions… I love to meet the young and future generation of champions."

Lucie Decosse, throughout her sports career, had several times the chance to go to China, but it will be her first trip without the pressure of the competition: "Beside the Games in 2008 and several training camps, I never really visited China. So, I am looking forward to discovering China. I am keen to discover and to learn and I hope that my ARM missions will give me the opportunity to do so. Anyway, I will go there for a sporting event, so it won’t be totally different from what I know. For instance, I was dozens of time to Japan for competitions and training, but recently for the first time, I went to Japan, after the end of my career, and I really discovered the country with a different angle, that I really enjoyed."

Podium of the Women's -70kg, London Olumpic Games

After the end of her sports career, Lucie Decosse decided to take the time to prepare her future life: "I am now in a transition phase of my life. I observe a lot. I have the chance to have my sponsors still with me and supporting me. I don’t yet how I want to be involved in sports and in Judo, but for sure I will. I have good contacts with my federation. I do a little bit of journalism with BeInSport and I travel a lot to discover what’s going on around the world."

To be an Athlete Role Model is an important and crucial mission for the next generations. Lucie Decosse remembers when she was an athlete and had also her role models: "When I participated in 1998 at the World Youth Games, in Moscow, my coach was Cecile Novak, Olympic and World Champion as well. I was impressed and motivated to follow her steps. She is one of the first great champions that I met."

To end a sports career is not an easy thing to do, but Lucie Decosse already has a few ideas: "My life is in judo. I dedicated my life to judo. I won’t go away even if I don’t feel becoming a coach. We will see. But anyway, I would be very interested to stay as close as possible with the Judo family. I would be interested for instance to become a real ambassador of my sport and of sports in general, in order to promote its values and transfer them to the youngsters."

© Photo - IJF Media Team

Lucie Decosse career highlights 
Olympic Games
London 2012 - GOLD
Beijing 2008 - SILVER

Senior World Championships
2011 - GOLD
2010 - GOLD
2007 - SILVER
2005 - GOLD

Senior European Championships
2011 - BRONZE
2009 - GOLD
2008 - GOLD
2007 - GOLD
2006 - SILVER
2005 - BRONZE
2002 - GOLD

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014 DAY 2

(Via IJF)

-63kg | -70kg | -73kg | -81kg 

The Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014, was hotly-contested on the second day as four gold medals were decided on Saturday at the Samsun Yasar Dogu Sports Arena.

The enthusiastic Turkish crowd enjoyed a great show during the second day of the Judo Grand Prix and cheered the champions as the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories and men’s-73kg and -81kg categories were all in action. The event gave also a good opportunity to promote the IJF Academy and to present the pilot project that is under development in Turkey after the first session that was held in Budapest at the end of 2013.

IJF Academy Under Testing in Turkey

Just after the Rio World Championships last year, the IJF launched the concept of IJF academy: a coach education and certification system. The Academy provides professional education in all sectors of Judo. It first starts by focusing on the technical sector, but it also attends to the managerial, specialist segments and other areas where most needed.
As the IJF appreciates that the development and running a national coach education and certification system might be beyond the federation’s resource, the IJF Academy assists National Federations with education and certification for their technical staff.

The IJF Academy’s goals are:
• To get to know essential scientific and academic knowledge
• To familiarize with new environment
• To meet new colleagues
• To propose a flexible online platform for delivery of knowledge
• To address the Federation requirements and help them in meeting today’s professional requirements.

The Semmelweis University Faculty of PE and Sport Sciences (Budapest), who is partner of the IJF in this Academy project is the largest, the most comprehensive and the oldest centre for education and training in sport and physical activity in Hungary with 88 years of history.

The courses are delivered in a blended system, with all the theoretical lessons delivered online and the practical sessions in one or two weekly sessions. During the practical session, the students are assessed on their theoretical and practical knowledge. Three levels are proposed: Level 1: Instructor Certificate / Level 2 Coach Certificate / Level 3 Pro License Diploma.

The very first session of the IJF Academy was held a the end of 2013 and 16 students from Cameroon, Niger, Haiti, Guatemala, Sierra Leon, Armenia, Zambia, Turkey, Pakistan, Kosovo and Hungary gathered together in Budapest on December 2013.

Held in English, this first session was very successful and the IJF decided to develop the concept in different languages in order to increase its potential. Mr. Daniel Lascau, IJF Sports Director, explained: "Turkey has been chosen to be the first country were we are developing the concept of IJF Academy in different languages. We have started to translate all the pedagogical documents. Every week, the participants can already follow the online course and pass the weekly examinations. At the end of the theoretical part, they will all pass the theoretical global examination before entering the final practical session, which will be held in July. Thanks to the great help of the Turkish Judo Federation, we will soon be able to propose the complete course for Turkish coaches and educators. It will increase the development potential of the federation and help to create more clubs. At the same time we can insure that all coaches will have the minimum requirements to develop judo. If this first pilot project is successful, and no doubt that it will be, we will duplicate the idea in other regions of the world."

The first session of the Academy in Turkey started with 31 students. The courses are coordinated by Mesut KAPAN, former Olympic Coach, who was a student of the English course last December. Designated by the IJF in coordination with the Turkish Judo Federation he plays the role of tutor to all participants. At the end of the course, two diplomas will be awarded: one by the IJF itself and the second by the Semmelweis University, both being internationally recognized.



-63kg: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Winner Doubles in Samsun

The final opposed the African Champion Rizlen ZOUAK (MAR) and the winner of the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT). After only 20 seconds UNTERWURZACHER scored a first waza-ari with a ko-soto-gari on the edge of the fighting area. After one minute and a half, the Austrian launched again her right handed attack (ko-soto-gari) for yuko, immediately followed on the floor for immobilization and ippon.

Once again, the women's -63kg weight category was very interesting to follow as great names of the World Judo Tour were present in Samsun. World number one and World champion, Yarden GERBI (ISR), who finished second last week in Tbilisi was trying to step on the top of the podium, but she was stopped on her way to the final by the surprising Austrian, Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER, who scored two waza-ari giving no chance to GERBI, even if the Israeli was also able to score waza-ari with her aerial hip movements. Earlier during the preliminary rounds, UNTERWURZACHER also gave no chance to the American Hannah MARTIN (USA) to reach the semifinal.

In the second half of the table, Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) was the favorite but she lost in the quarterfinal against Szabina GERCSAK (HUN), who then was defeated by Rizlen ZOUAK (MAR), who gave a second medal for the African continent on the occasion of the Grand Prix.

The first bronze medal opposed Hannah MARTIN (USA) and Szabina GERCSAK (HUN). Being a little injured, the American looked diminished. After two minutes, she was thrown for waza-ari and was penalized several times. Literally fighting on one leg, she was again thrown for a second waza-ari, GERCSAK winning the first bronze of the day.

In the second bronze medal fight of the day, Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) was opposed to Yarden GERBI (ISR). GERBI was the first one to score with a o-goshi for yuko, just before TRAJDOS was penalized for blocking her opponent. Keeping putting pressure on the German, the Israeli scored again with o-soto-otoshi for waza-ari but was then penalized three times, before TRAJDOS caught her with a strong geza-gatame (immobilization) for ippon, 12 seconds before the end.


Bronze Medal Fights
MARTIN, Hannah (USA) vs. GERCSAK, Szabina (HUN)
TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER) vs. GERBI, Yarden (ISR)

Final Results
2. ZOUAK, Rizlen (MAR)
3. GERCSAK, Szabina (HUN)
3. TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER)
5. GERBI, Yarden (ISR)
5. MARTIN, Hannah (USA)
7. BELAKHAL, Souad (ALG)

-70kg: Vargas Koch Concludes her Competition Day with Gold

Germany was again present in the final with Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) against Sally CONWAY (GBR). Penalized three times for passivity and gripping infringements, CONWAY could not find a solution and VARGAS KOCH collected the second gold medal of the day for Germany with a waza-ari scored with o-uchi-gari, at the very end of the final.

Silver medallist at the Rio World Championships, last summer and winner of the Rijeka Grand Prix a few weeks later, Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) was the favorite of the competition in the women's -70kg. Winning all her preliminary fights by ippon, the German showed an unstoppable power up to the final where she was opposed to the British athlete Sally CONWAY who defeated Yarden MAYERSOHN (ISR), Barbara TIMO (BRA) and Assmaa NIANG (MAR) to win her ticket to the podium.

Winner of the Düsseldorf 2014 Grand Prix, Assmaa NIANG (MAR) wanted to demonstrate that her victory was not an accident, and she did pretty well, when she eliminated the World Champion and Olympic Bronze medallist from France, Gévrise EMANE, who looked a little bit tired after a long training camp in Brazil over the past weeks.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Lior WILDIKAN (ISR) and Assmaa NIANG (MAR. NIANG was the first to score a yuko with a hip movement in the hedge of the fighting area. An other incredible hip movement from NIANG offered her a waza-ari and immediately after a third o-goshi for a second waza-ari and a new medal for the Moroccan at that level of competition after her victory in Düsseldorf earlier this year.

In the second bronze medal contest, the victory was decided between the two French, Gevrise EMANE (FRA) and Margaux PINOT (FRA). Apparently really tired, EMANE was not capable of raising the rhythm and was penalized more than PINOT, who finally won the medal.

VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER) vs. CONWAY, Sally (GBR)

Bronze Medal Fights
WILDIKAN, Lior (ISR) vs. NIANG, Assmaa (MAR)
EMANE, Gevrise (FRA) vs. PINOT, Margaux (FRA)

Final Results
2. CONWAY, Sally (GBR)
3. NIANG, Assmaa (MAR)
3. PINOT, Margaux (FRA)
5. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)
7. BAKACAK, Sukran (TUR)
7. TIMO, Barbara (BRA)


-73kg: Golden Score Gives the Victory to Voelk from Germany

The final opposed Christopher VOELK (GER) and Rustam ORUJOV (AZE). The five minutes were not enough to decide the winner and both athletes entered the Golden score still uncertain about the final results, when VOELK launched an unexpected tsuri-goshi for a superb ippon.

In the men’s -73kg, the bronze medallist of last week’s Tbilisi Grand Prix Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (GEO), was the favorite of the competition but he was immediately defeated by the finalist of the day in the first half of the draw, the German Christopher VOELK. After this first win VOELK eliminated Yertugan TORENOV (KAZ) and the Olympic silver medallist Miklos UNGVARI (HUN) by penalties.

The second half of the draw was dominated by Rustam ORUJOV (AZE), winner of last year’s Baku Grand Slam. In the semifinal he reduced the chance of the Turkish fighter, Hasan VANLIOGLU (TUR), to enter the final and ensure a news medal for the local delegation.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Volodymyr SOROKA (UKR) and Hasan VANLIOGLU (TUR). After 50 seconds of fight, VANLIOGLU launched the first strong attack with a powerful ko-soto-gari for waza-ari, confirmed by the video refereeing. That is the exact moment when the public started to cheer for its local fighter. But it was also the time that SOROKA chose to score waza-ari with tani-otoshi. Despite the high rhythm, the Ukrainian was penalized two times, and VANLIOGLU could keep this little difference to win the second bronze medal for Turkey during the competition.

The second bronze medal bout saw Tommy MACIAS (SWE) and Miklos UNGVARI (HUN), fight for a place on the podium. After three minutes, only penalties were visible on the scoreboard, but during a short ground working session, UNGVARI, found a tiny opportunity to catch MACIAS with an immobilization for ippon.

VOELK, Christopher (GER) vs. ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)

Bronze Medal Fights
SOROKA, Volodymyr (UKR) vs. VANLIOGLU, Hasan (TUR)
MACIAS, Tommy (SWE) vs. UNGVARI, Miklos (HUN)

Final Results
1. VOELK, Christopher (GER)
2. ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)
3. UNGVARI, Miklos (HUN)
5. MACIAS, Tommy (SWE)
5. SOROKA, Volodymyr (UKR)
7. BOTTIEAU, Jean Yves (BEL)
7. TORENOV, Yertugan (KAZ)

-81kg: Third Gold Medal of the Day for Germany

The last final of the day was 100% German with Alexander WIECZERZAK (GER) and Sven MARESCH (GER) fighting for gold. The two athletes perfectly knowing one another were not able to score anything and the difference was made by the penalties, with the gold medal going to Sven MARESCH.

After a first win against Dagvasuren NYAMSUREN (MGL), the Brazilian Victor PENALBER thought he was on his way to a good result, but this was not the idea of Alexander WIECZERZAK (GER) who threw him for ippon. Before defeating the top seeded athlete of the category, WIECZERZAK won against Ilker GULDUREN (TUR) and after he gave no chance to Attila UNGVARI (HUN) and Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL).

Top seeded in the Pool C, Travis STEVENS (USA), silver medallist last week in Tbilisi, couldn’t repeat his performance. In the semifinal, he was eliminated by Murat KHABACHIROV (RUS), before losing again in the repechage against Valeriu DUMINICA (MDA). The second half of the table was dominated by the second German of the Category, Sven MARESCH, who joined his teammate WIECZERZAK for a 100% German final.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Attila UNGVARI (HUN) and Murat KHABACHIROV (RUS). After the five minutes and a difference in the number of penalties, the Hungarian could join his brother Miklos UNGVARI on the medal table.

The second and last bronze medal fight of the day opposed Valeriu DUMINICA (MDA) and Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL) and went to Moldova, DUMINICA winning by penalties.

WIECZERZAK, Alexander (GER) vs. MARESCH, Sven (GER)

Bronze Medal Fights
DUMINICA, Valeriu (MDA) vs. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL)

Final Results
1. MARESCH, Sven (GER)
2. WIECZERZAK, Alexander (GER)
3. DUMINICA, Valeriu (MDA)
3. UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)
5. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL)
7. MAGOMEDOV, Sirazhudin (RUS)
7. STEVENS, Travis (USA)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014 DAY 1

(Via IJF)

-48kg | -52kg | -57kg | -60kg | -66kg 

The Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014, started in style in Turkey on Friday as five winners were crowned in the lightest categories.   

The opening day of the country’s second Judo Grand Prix, which comes five weeks after the first Grand Prix of 2014 in Dusseldorf, crowned gold medallists in the women’s  -48kg, -52kg and -57kg categories and men’s -60kg and -66kg categories.

The Turkish Strategy

The first day of competition offered the opportunity to the IJF to meet with the President of the Turkish Judo Federation, Mr. Fatih UYSAL, who presented his federation and his strategy for the future: "Today we have more than 63,000 judoka in the country, 270 clubs in 78 cities out of the 81 one big Turkish municipalities. We have also 980 coaches and 780 referees. But we have defined an ambitious development programme to reach 100,000 judoka within a few years. With that number we will be among the 10 most popular sports in Turkey."

For the last four years, since Mr. UYSAL was elected as Turkish Judo Federation President, the sport constantly develops. The Grand Prix is an important corner stone of that improvement: "The Samsun Grand Prix is a prestigious event of the International Judo Federation. It is prestigious here in my country but also outside of its borders. For the second year in a row, we have a very good visibility and the final block of the competition will be broadcast live on TV."

After last year event, the federation observed a significant increase in the number of judoka. "Such an important organisation helps us a lot. It helps our athletes to discover the international level. It also helps our coaches and referees to improve themselves. It teaches us how to organize a big international event and I can feel that we are getting ready to organize even bigger events. » said Mr. UYSAL.

Next year, the Samsun Grand Prix will also give points for the Olympic Qualification. "Our goal in Rio will be to step at least one time on the podium and may be two times and in 2020, we want at least two medals," added the Turkish President.

But the sport is not the only focus, as Mr. UYSAL demonstrated: "We want to increase the number of judo players. For that we also focus on education and good practices. Here in Samsun, we have more than 2,000 judoka. We have big dojo and a superb Olympic Center. During the three-day competition, we will welcome many children, who will discover the top international level. I believe that this fantastic experience combined with the IJF educational programme on Monday and Tuesday will help us to develop judo in the future."

Warm Welcome to all the Delegations

During the opening ceremony, the Turkish Judo Federation President, Mr. Fatih UYSAL, said: "I would like to warmly welcome you all for this second edition of the Judo Grand Prix in Samsun, Turkey. The tournament will last for three days and I hope that you will all leave Samsun with good memories. Thanks to the IJF and his President, Mr. Marius Vizer, next year this event will be an Olympic qualification event, which will give even more emphasis to judo in our country and in the world."

Then the Governor of Samsun Province, Mr. Hüseyin Aksoy said: "I am particularly happy to welcome you all in Samsun. Last year we organized the first edition of the competition and it was a great success. Thanks to all these international competitions we are gaining experience. Thank you to the Minister of Sport and to the local authorities for their contribution to help us to promote our city and our region."

Mr. Daniel Lascau, the IJF Sports Director, then declared the Grand Prix open: "On behalf of the IJF and its President, I want to thank the Turkish Judo Federation for the great organization and I declare open the 2014 edition of the Grand Prix."

On the occasion of the opening ceremony, Mr. Daniel Lascau (above left) and Mr. Hüseyin Aksoy (above right) received a commemorative plaque from the Turkish Judo Federation and Mr. Sezer HUYSUZ and Mrs. Aynur SAMAT (below), both former members of the Turkish National Team, celebrated their jubilee to symbolize the end of their career.



-48kg: First Gold for Russian Female Team

The final opposed Maryna CHERNIAK (UKR) and Irina DOLGOVA (RUS). DOLGOVA was the first to score a waza-ari after less than 30 second with a counter-attack immediately followed by a yuko for the Ukrainian. But after 1 minute and 56 seconds, DOLGOVA put an end to the final by scoring ippon with a precise ko-soto-gake.

With no surprise, the top seeded athlete of the category and African Champion last year in Maputo (MOZ), Taciana LIMA (GBS), reached the semi-final. But to access the final, she had to win against Maryna CHERNIA (UKR). After four minutes of intense judo, CHERNIA had a yuko and a ticket to the final of the day. The second semi-final opposed Irina DOLGOVA (RUS) and Sumeyye AKKUS (TUR). Giving no chance to her opponent, despite the support of a large and young public, DOLGOVA entered the final winning by ippon.

Top seeded athletes, in the pool C, Amelie ROSSENEU (ISR), now competing for Israel, was defeated in the quarter final. After a win during the repechage, she was opposed to Taciana LIMA (GBS) in the bronze medal fight. After less than a minute, LIMA was penalized with a shido for getting out of the tatami, but she looked stronger that her opponent and a few seconds later, she swiped ROSSENEU’s foot for waza-ari before concluding with an immobilisation for ippon.

The other bronze medal fight opposed Valentina MOSCATT (ITA) and Sumeyye AKKUS (TUR). Supported by a numerous public, mainly composed of young judoka from the local clubs, AKKUS did not manage to be dangerous enough with her opponent and was rapidly penalized for false attack but half way to the end of the bout, MOSCATT was penalized for not respecting the limits of the fighting area. It was time for the public to wake up and strongly support AKKUS. For the second time the Italian was penalized after getting out of the tatami, giving a short lead to AKKUS. At the end of the fight, the Turkish could keep her small advantage and win the first medal of the Turkish delegation and the first medal of the competition.


CHERNIAK, Maryna (UKR) vs. DOLGOVA, Irina (RUS)

Bronze Medal Fights

MOSCATT, Valentina (ITA) vs. AKKUS, Sumeyye (TUR)
ROSSENEU, Amelie (ISR) vs. LIMA, Taciana (GBS)

Final Results

1. DOLGOVA, Irina (RUS)
2. CHERNIAK, Maryna (UKR)
3. AKKUS, Sumeyye (TUR)
3. LIMA, Taciana (GBS)
5. MOSCATT, Valentina (ITA)
5. ROSSENEU, Amelie (ISR)
7. KRAUS, Kay (GER)

-52kg: Kelmendi Reinforces her First Position

The current World Champion, KELMENDI Majlinda (KOS), was again present in the final against Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA). After one minute and a half, Kelmendi, totally dominating her opponent scored a first waza-ari with an almost perfect o-uchi-gari, followed by a second waza-ari with a hip movement. The World Champion reinforces her first position at the World Ranking List.

To be the current World Champion and World Number One of the category does not guarantee an easy victory in all the fights. Majlinda KELMENDI, from Kosovo, experienced it today in Samsun. But the only 22 year-old champion starts to be an experienced judoka. She needed a small yuko to pass the first round of preliminaries against Larisa FLORIAN (ROU). In the second round she defeated more easily Mariia BUIOK (UKR) by waza-ari, but again in the semi-final, she had the wait until the end of the fight to win against the pugnacious Romy TARANGUL (GER) by penalties.

In the second semi-final of the day, Andreea CHITU (ROU) was opposed to Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA), who’s best results this year was a silver medal at the European Open in Rome. More active than the Romanian judoka, GIUFFRIDA entered the final for what is already the best result of her career.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Annabelle EURANIE (FRA), who after a good start was stopped by Romy TARANGUL (GER), and Andreea CHITU (ROU). Less than a minute was necessary to the Romanian to counter attack EURANIE with a opportunistic ippon-seoi-nage for ippon. The second bronze medal fight opposed, Gili COHEN (ISR) and Romy TARANGUL (GER). Led by one penalty against her, COHEN was pushing when she launched a shoulder movement, which was blocked and countered by TARANGUL for waza-ari. The yuko that COHEN scored three seconds before the end of the fight was not enough to give her the victory.


KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS) vs. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)

Bronze Medal Fights

EURANIE, Annabelle (FRA) vs. CHITU, Andreea (ROU)
COHEN, Gili (ISR) vs. TARANGUL, Romy (GER)

Final Results

1. KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)
2. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)
3. CHITU, Andreea (ROU)
5. COHEN, Gili (ISR)
5. EURANIE, Annabelle (FRA)
7. BUIOK, Mariia (UKR)
7. NAREKS, Petra (SLO)

-57kg: First Grand Prix for Blot

The last gold medal of the day had to be decided between Miryam ROPER (GER) and Laetitia BLOT (FRA). After 30 seconds both athletes were penalized with shido for passivity. Always dangerous with her strong ko-soto-gake, ROPER seemed to control the final, when BLOT launched a o-uchi-gari for waza-ari, taking a strong lead. Putting more pressure, ROPER was able to score but only yuko, the French keeping the lead of the fight. The German had to take risks but she was not paid of, when BLOT scored again waza-ari with a powerful soto-maki-komi.

The winner of several World Judo Tour medals last year, Miryam ROPER (GER) entered the tatami this morning determined to add one more medal to her already long prize list. Throughout the preliminary rounds, the German champion, bronze medallist at the last World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, looked perfectly fit as she won two out of her three fights by ippon, offering no chance to her opponents. She only needed the four minutes against the French Hélène RECEVEAU to go through the second round, but once again, she perfectly controlled the bout and won by waza-ari. The second semifinal of the day opposed the world bronze medallist, Hedvig KARAKAS (HUN), and Laetitia BLOT (FRA), winner of the Casablanca African Open in January. BLOT could enter the final with a yuko.

The first bronze medal fight opposed the irremovable Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) and Hedvig KARAKAS (HUN) who won by penalties, whereas the second saw Corina CAPRIORIU (ROU) sending Emilie AMARON (SUI) back home without any medal, after having scored a ippon only 16 seconds after the start of the fight.


ROPER, Miryam (GER) vs. BLOT, Laetitia (FRA)

Bronze Medal Fights

FILZMOSER, Sabrina (AUT) vs. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)
CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU) vs. AMARON, Emilie (SUI)

Final Results

1. BLOT, Laetitia (FRA)
2. ROPER, Miryam (GER)
3. CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU)
3. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)
5. AMARON, Emilie (SUI)
5. FILZMOSER, Sabrina (AUT)
7. QUADROS, Ketleyn (BRA)
7. RECEVEAUX, Helene (FRA)


-60kg: Russia Adds a Second Title

The first male final saw Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ) and Beslan MUDRANOV (RUS) fight for gold. After two minutes the score was tight, with one shido on both sides of the scoreboard. MUDRANOV opened the score with a counter attack for waza-ari and then a yuko again with an other counter-movement before concluding the match with a o-uchi-gari for ippon.

There was no surprise in the first half of the draw, as top seeded athlete of today’s category, Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ), successively defeated Pavel PETRIKOV (CZE), Denys BILICHENKO (UKR), Ganbold MUNKHTUR (MGL) and Ilgar MUSHKIYEV (AZE) to enter the final. In the second half of the draw, Ludwig PAISCHER (AUT), believed that today was again his day. After good preliminary rounds, he was opposed the Russian, Beslan MUDRANOV (RUS), in the semifinal. But that was too much for him and less than 20 seconds were necessary to the MUDRANOV to win the fight by ippon.

Adrien RAYMOND (FRA) and Ludwig PAISCHER (AUT) faced each other in the first bronze medal fight. The experienced PAISCHER was penalized for false attack after a little bit more than one minute and again for passivity thirty seconds later. Totally dominated, the Austrian couldn’t escape for the first strong shoulder attack of the French for waza-ari. Exactly one minute before the end of the fight, RAYMOND applied a kansetsu waza (arm-lock) giving no chance to PAISCHER.

The second medal contest of the day opposed Robert MSHVIDOBADZE (RUS) and Ilgar MUSHKIYEV (AZE). A first penalty for passivity was given to the Russian after one minute but for blocking the kumikata (gripping) MUSHKIYEV was penalized as well. MSHVIDOBADZE thought that he had won by ippon when what looked like a counter attack was rewarded with the best score, then cancelled by the video refereeing. One minute later, MUSHKIYEV powerfully attacked with a hip movement which was immediately avoided by the Russian with a superb right handed harai-goshi for ippon.


SMETOV, Yeldos (KAZ) vs. MUDRANOV, Beslan (RUS)

Bronze Medal Fights

RAYMOND, Adrien (FRA) vs. PAISCHER, Ludwig (AUT)

Final Results

1. MUDRANOV, Beslan (RUS)
2. SMETOV, Yeldos (KAZ)
3. RAYMOND, Adrien (FRA)
5. PAISCHER, Ludwig (AUT)
7. MUNKHTUR, Ganbold (MGL)
7. TELMANOV, Askhat (KAZ)

-66kg: French Final and Gold for Larose

The second male final of the day opposed the two French athletes Loic KORVAL (FRA) and David LAROSE (FRA). After one minute and a half, each of them had one penalty. Less active than KORVAL, LAROSE was penalized a second time after three minutes. One penalty for each later, the gold medal seemed to be the property of KORVAL, when LAROSE launched a last desperate uchi-mata for waza-ari.

The last male category of the day was dominated by the two French fighters, Loic KORVAL (FRA), bronze medallist of the Tokyo World Championship in 2010, and David LAROSE (FRA), two time winner of the Paris Grand Slam, in 2013 and 2012. Top seeded athlete of the day, Charles CHIBANA (BRA) was eliminated in the quarter final by Sinan SANDAL (TUR), who was then defeated by KORVAL for ippon with a superb and aerial counter attack on the edge of the fighting area. In the second half of the draw, LAROSE was consistent in winning by ippon his all three preliminary rounds against Diogo CESAR (POR), Tornike TATARASHVILI (GEO) and Altansukh DOVDON (MGL). The first bronze medal fight opposed Charles CHIBANA (BRA) and Altansukh DOVDON (MGL), CHIBANA winning by penalties.

The second bronze medal fight was decided between Colin OATES (GBR) and Sinan SANDAL (TUR). It took a little more than 1 minute to the British fighter to score a first waza-ari immediately followed by an immobilisation for ippon.


KORVAL, Loic (FRA) vs. LAROSE, David (FRA)

Bronze Medal Fights

CHIBANA, Charles (BRA) vs. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)
OATES, Colin (GBR) vs. SANDAL, Sinan (TUR)

Final Results

1. LAROSE, David (FRA)
2. KORVAL, Loic (FRA)
3. CHIBANA, Charles (BRA)
3. OATES, Colin (GBR)
5. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)
5. SANDAL, Sinan (TUR)
7. HAGYO, Gabor (HUN)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014 Official Draw - PREVIEW

(Via IJF)

After the first edition of the Judo Grand Prix in Tbilisi, Georgia, last week, and for the fourth stage of the World Judo Tour 2014 (after Paris Grand Slam, Düsseldorf Grand Prix and Tbilisi Grand Prix), the stars of the World Judo Tour have arrived in Samsun, Turkey for the second edition of the Judo Grand Prix, Samsun 2014, at the YASAR DOGU Sports Arena from Friday 28 - Sunday 30 March.    

The World Judo Tour arrives on the north coast of Turkey, in the provincial capital of the Samsun Province. Samsun is renowned as a major Black Sea port and is a fast growing city of more than half a million inhabitants

On the occasion of the official draw, which was held today at the Anemon Hotel, Mr. Armen Bagdasarov gave the welcoming speech to welcome the heads of delegations of 256 athletes representing 44 national federations: "In the name of the IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer, I welcome all of you in the beautiful city of Samsun for this second edition of the event. Thank you to the Turkish Judo Federation, its president, Mr. Fatih UYSAL and his team, for the great work that has been done so far to host a successful event."

Mr. Fatih UYSAL then declared: "Dear Friends, dear guests: "Dear Friends, dear guest, dear Judo team representatives, welcome in Samsun! I hope that all of you will enjoy your stay in Samsun. This event is very important for all of us. It is a good promotion for the city and the province of Samsun and for Turkey as well. I wish all the best to all the athletes, their coaches, officials and referess and once again thank you for coming to our country to enjoy our sport."

Mr. Daniel Lascau, IJF Refereeing Director conducted the official draw of the competition in front of all the delegates and the media.

Mr. Jan SNIJDERS, IJF Head Referee Director, said: “Everyone now has had some time to put the new rules into practice at competitions and actually we can say that the new rules are not any more new, but they are now the current rules. Once again, we will make sure that those rules are respected by everybody to offer a great judo show to all the judo fans in Samsun, in Turkey and around the world."

During the official press conference, which followed the draw, Mr. Hüseyin Aksoy, the Governor of Samsun, said: "We are all very happy and proud to host one of the major International Judo events of the season. For many years, we have been investing many things for the development of sport and our reagion is now well know for its capacity to produce top level athletes. Samsun is the number one city in the Black Sea area and the 7th in Turkey in terms of sports results and every year we are gaining positions. We have fantastic sporting facilities such as the stadium were the competition will be held over de weekend. But we have also incredible sports facilities such as the Olympic Center."

IJF and Turkish officials together with the Governor of Samsun Region (center), after the presse conference

Visit to the Olympic Center

Indeed, prior to the competition, an IJF delegation visited the Olympic Training Center of Samsun and Trabzon and the IJF Officials were very impressed. Mr. Daniel Lascau, the IJF Sports Director, said: "The training facilities are of a very high standard. In Samsun, the men's judo team, has three training areas. They also have access to the gym, and have a strong and professional medical support. Everything is available on spot to have the best conditions to train."

The IJF delegation and Turkish delegation visit the Olympic Center

The center offers 52 rooms and full accommodation. Two coaches are in charge of the running of the center. Trabzon is even biger as 4 training areas are available for the women's team. In total 110 people can be accommodated. "For sure, this is a fantastic development tool for the Turkish Judo Federation."

Refereeing Seminar

Prior to the draw, the IJF refereeing commission and the IJF sports commission organized a refereeing seminar with all the Turkish Referees and Coaches. More than 45 people took part in the meeting. After having welcomed all the participants, Mr. Jan Snjiders, IJF Head Refereeing Director said: "We already had such kind of seminar in Tbilisi last weekend and it was very successful. It gives to all of us the opportunity to meet and explain again the judo refereeing rules that will be applied throughout the Olympic qualification period up to Rio 2016. It is a great pleasure for us to have in the same room referees and coaches and to show that we are working hand in hand for the benefit of our sport."

Refereeing seminar in Samsun (In the frame, the seminar in Tbilisi last week)

During not less than three hours, all the rules were presented again and explained with the help of concrete examples from the last IJF World Judo Tour events presented by Mr. Bernd Achilles, IJF Refereeing Director. Using a very pedagogical approach and giving the chance to everybody to ask questions, subjects such as gripping, judo on the edge of the fighting area, security of the athletes were discussed. 

Mr. Snjiders, who is a European Champion, said: "The referees are not policemen. They are here to help the judoka to produce a spectacular judo. They must let the fight go until something is wrong. But after a Paris Grand Slam with many penalties, we were happy to see that in Düsseldorf and Tbilisi more recently, we had many positive scores at the end of the competition, as we reached more than 80% of positive scores such as yuko, waza-ari and of course ippon."

Mr. Daniel Lascau, IJF Sports Director, who is a World Champion and perfectly knows all the aspects of judo, said to the participants: "To be a referee is not easy. To be a coach is not easy either. But that's why we must act as professional people at all levels. It is not possible to change a wrong matte (stop) during a fight, but it is possible and we have to change a wrong decision. With the help and commitment of everybody, this is what we have to do."

Hüseyin Özkan (center), Sydney Olympic Champion, was present in the room during the seminar

After the three-hour seminar, all participants declared that it had been a great moment to share experience and knowledge. The Turkish referee representatives said: "It is a big chance for our referees, coaches and technical officials to learn more about the rules."

Mr. Snijders concluded: "All referees must have the same way of judging a bout. We can not accept differences and the right winner must always step out the tatami with the victory. I want to thank the Turkish Judo Federation for its great support in organizing such a seminar. Every time the IJF World Judo Tour will stop somewhere in the world, we will do the same, so everybody knows the rules."



The top seeded athlete of the category is Taciana LIMA from Guinea-Bissau. Bronze medallist this year at the European Open, Warsaw 2014 and silver medallist at the Continental Open, Rome 2014, she will try to step on her first IJF podium of the season. Bronze medallist, last week in Tbilisi, Amelie ROSSENEU, who is now competing for Israel, will be the number two seeded of the category. Kay KRAUS  (GER) and Maryna CHERNIAK (UKR) will be among the other favorites.


Only 22 years old and already world Champion and world number one, Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS) will be difficult to defeat in the women's -52kg weight category. But she will face strong opposition with Andreea CHITU (ROU), even if the Romanian athlete had a difficult start of the season (7th in Düsseldorf, 5th in Paris), Romy TARANGUL (GER) and Gili COHEN (ISR).


World number two, Myriam ROPER (GER) is still looking for success this year. She will be the top seeded athlete in her weight category. Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) will try to reverse the prediction if both athletes reach the semi-final. In the second half of the draw, Ketleyn QUADROS (BRA), bronze medallist of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, will be one of the leaders of the Brazilian delegation, when Corina CAPRIORIU (ROU) will also be among the favorites of the day.


Once again, the women's -63kg weight category will be very interesting to follow. World number one and World champion, Yarden GERBI (ISR) will try to overcome her deception from Tbilisi last weekend. After great preliminary rounds, she was defeated in the final by the former European silver medallist Edwige GWEND (ITA). "I wanted to offer the victory to my coach on his birthday", declared the champion. She might deliver her birthday present with one week delay. But for sure, it is not the idea of Hannah MARTIN (USA), regularly present at the top level, Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) or Mariana BARROS (BRA), who are all among the top seeded athletes of the category.


Silver medallist at the Rio World Championships, last summer and winner of the Rijeka Grand Prix a few weeks later, Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) is the favorite of the competition in the women's -70kg. But the winner of the Düsseldorf 2014 Grand Prix, Assmaa NIANG (MAR) will want to demonstrate that her victory was not an accident. It will also be very interesting to follow the competition day of Gévrise EMANE (FRA). The French was already world champion in this weight category, before going down to the -63kg where she also became world champion and Olympic Bronze medallist. Back to the origins, EMANE has a new challenge in front of her: to win again in -70kg. She might create the surprise, especially after her brilliant victory in Moroco earlier this year. Sally CONWAY (GBR) and Bernadette GRAF (AUT) will be among the other strong favorites of the category.


In the absence of the top athletes of the category, and among the twelve participants in the women’s -78k, the favorites is the world number seven, Luise MALZAHN from Germany. Just behind her follow Kaouthar OUALLAL (ALG), Natalie POWELL (GBR) and Ivana MARANIC (CRO). 


In the women’s +78kg, the silver medallist of the last world championships in Rio, Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) is the ultimate favorite. It will be interesting the follow Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN), Jasmin KUELBS (GER) and especially Gulsah KOCATURK (TUR), who in front of her public can find extra support and energy. 



Winner of the first edition of the Almaty Grand Prix in 2013, Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ) is the top seeded athlete of the category. Bronze medallist at the 2011 World Championships in Paris, Ilgar MUSHKIYEV (AZE), will also be among the favorites. But the men’s -60kg is a very open category, and prediction are quite uncertain. Winner of two Grand Prix last year (Abu Dhabi and Rijeka) Beslan MUDRANOV (RUS) will want to add one more trophy to his prize list as well as the second Kazakh fighter of the category Askhat TELMANOV.. 


It’s a very interesting category with the men’s -66kg. The top seeded athlete is the silver medallist of the Tokyo Grand Slam, last year, Charles CHIBANA (BRA). On his way to the final, he might find Abdula ABDULZHALILOV (RUS), who will have a tough fight against the Frenchman, Loic KORVAL (FRA), who finished at a beautiful third place in Paris, earlier this year. Two times winner of the Paris Grand Slam (2013, 2012), David LAROSE (FRA), can also be the surprise of the day. In the last quarter of the draw, Colin OATES (GBR) will be the favorite to enter the semi-finals.


In the men’s -73kg, the bronze medallist of last week’s Tbilisi Grand Prix Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (GEO), will be the favorite of the competition. In Pool B, the London Olympic silver medallist will an other strong potential winner, the last two top seeded athletes being Rustam ORUJOV (AZE), winner of last year’s Baku Grand Slam, and Denis IARTCEV (RUS), bronze medallist at the Tokyo Grand Slam 2013. 


With his spectacular judo, Victor PENALBER from Brazil will be the favorite of the competition. But Travis STEVENS (USA), silver medallist last weekend in Tbilisi is in a very good shape and might again be present on the podium. Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL) and Sven MARESCH (GER) will try to reach the podium as well.  


The top seeded athlete of the men’s -90kg is Grigorii SULEMIN (RUS), who won the Moscow Grand Slam last year. In pool B, Hatem ABD EL AKHER (EGY) will be the favorite to reach the semi-final. In pool C, Shahin GAHRAMANOV (AZE), who won the Baku Grand Slam last year, and in pool D, Marc ODENTHAL (GER) will be the favorite to reach the podium. 


The winner of the Paris Grand Slam this year, Cyrille MARET (FRA) has good chance to add one more title to his prize list. After a first round against Erdal BAGAC (TUR), he might face Sergei SAMOILOVICH (RUS), who already won 4 IJF World Judo Tour events in his career. Martin PACEK (SWE), Javad MAHJOUB (IRI) and Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) will be the other favorites of the day. 


World number three and winner of last weekend’s Grand Prix in his home country, Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO), is the ultimate favorite of the category. But in the first round he might have to face one of the former leaders of the Ranking List, Islam EL SHEHABY (EGY). Andre BREITBARTH (GER), winner of the Tashkent Grand Prix in 2013, Renat SAIDOV (RUS), bronze medallist in Paris in February and Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) are the other favorites. 

Friday March 28th
10:00 Preliminaries
16:15 Opening ceremony
17:00 Final block

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

Saturday March 29th
10:00 Preliminaries
17:00 Final block

Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg

Sunday March 30th
10:00 Preliminaries
17:00 Final block

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

Location: YASAR DOGU Sports Arena