Saturday, June 7, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Havana 2014 - DAY 1

-48kg | -52kg | -57kg | -60kg -66kg 

The opening day of Judo Grand Prix, Havana 2014, crowned the first IJF gold medallists in the new qualification phase for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the medallists took their first step towards booking a ticket to Brazil. 

The Cuban crowd turned out in numbers to witness the inaugural IJF event in Cuba which has attracted a highly-impressive 40 countries and 296 judoka.

As the crowd-waving, drum-playing spectators generated an atmosphere befitting of the occasion, they saw a stacked field of talent compete in the -48kg, -52kg and -57kg categories and men’s -60kg and -66kg categories.

The Cuban Judo Federation staged an opening ceremony to mark the inaugural edition of the event and to introduce the 40 participating countries. The flags of the 40 countries were presented before the Cuban national anthem was impeccably observed.

The IJF's guests in attendance including Ed HULA, founder and editor of Around the Rings, Romanian tennis great and former world number one Illie NASTASE and Cosmin BALCACEAN, who is an important collaborator of the International Judo Federation, were introduced to the crowd.

Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, awarded an IJF Gold Medal to Mr. Jose RAMON FERNANDEZ ALVAREZ, who accepted the award on behalf of the Cuban Government. Mr. Christian JIMENEZ MOLINA, President of Cuba's National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), also received an IJF Gold Card while Mr. Jose RAMON FERNANDEZ ALVAREZ received a gold plaque recognising the contribution to judo of the Cuban Olympic Committee.

Mr. VIZER awarded an IJF Gold Medal to Mr. Jose RAMON FERNANDEZ ALVAREZ

Mr. Rafael J. Manso REYES, Cuban Judo Federation President, said: “Good afternoon, dear Jose RAMON FERNANDEZ ALVAREZ, President of Cuban Olympic Committee, dear Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, dear Mr. Christian JIMENEZ MOLINA, President of INDER, dear distinguished guests, it is an honour and privilege to organise a Grand Prix here in Havana. This is an event which is of great importance to athletes and fans worldwide.

“The Cuban Olympic Committee, the IJF and Cuban Judo Federation along with INDER have all made a great effort to welcome you with our warm hospitality. We hope you feel as if you were at home.”

Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, said: “Dear Jose RAMON FERNANDEZ ALVAREZ, President of Cuban Olympic Committee, dear Mr. Christian JIMENEZ MOLINA, President of INDER, dear Mr. Rafael J. Manso REYES, Cuban Judo Federation President, dear guests, delegates, judoka, ladies and gentlemen – it is a great honour for the International Judo Federation to organise a Grand Prix, one of the most important events in judo, here in Cuba.  

“Cuba is one of the most important countries in the judo world and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Grand Prix. I thank all the coaches, referees, athletes and staff of IJF for the hard work that has been delivered here. I wish everyone a successful competition and I wish the Cuban people good health and a nice future. I declare the 2014 Havana Grand Prix open.”

After the first day of the competition, Cuba lead the way with two gold medals, one silver and one bronze ahead of Russia and France who both won a gold medal. 

On Saturday, the pulsating action continues in Havana as the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories along with the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories will all be contested on day two. 

The draw can be seen at:
Live stream on Ippon TV:
Official event hash tag: #JudoCuba2014

-48kg: Cuba strike gold and silver    
Six-time Pan America Championship medallist Dayaris MESTRE ALVAREZ (CUB) challenged teammate Maria Celia LABORDE (CUB) in the first final of the Havana Grand Prix. The fact that the first gold medal was contested by two Cuban judoka was a testament to the strength of the hosts and their immense support from a crowd who played their part in driving them both forward towards the final. LABORDE won the first Havana Grand Prix gold medal as she won a battle of shido penalties. MESTRE ALVAREZ infringed with a false attack for her first shido and received two more for passivity while her countrywoman was penalised once for passivity. 

In the first semi-final MESTRE ALVAREZ upset Olympic champion Sarah MENEZES (BRA) in a closely contested bout which was settled by shido penalties. The Cuban just had the edge as she was penalised on two occasions for passivity and a false attack respectively while her acclaimed opponent infringed three times for a false attack, passivity and once again for passivity. The second semi-final also brought the crowd to their feet as LABORDE (CUB) dispatched Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner WU Shugen (CHN) in golden score. Both judoka had two shido penalties to their names after four minutes and so the action continued into golden score where WU was penalised with a third shido which was given for passivity.

The first bronze medal was awarded to Madrid European Open bronze medallist Julia FIGUEROA (ESP) after she defeated Chinese judoka and world number 26 WU. FIGUEROA, who wore a bandage around her head due to a cut sustained in the preliminaries, secured a second straight weekend on the medal podium as her waza-ari from countering a ura-nage by turning over her opponent with her upper body was the difference in an entertaining contest. The second bronze medal was won by Olympic champion MENEZES who bounced back from her semi-final defeat to comprehensively defeat Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Amelie ROSSENEU (ISR). The Israeli fighter started well with a committed uchi-mata attempt after 30 seconds but that proved to be her best effort of the contest. The Brazilian won with four seconds left by a ko-soto-gake which earned ippon after leading by three yuko scores from a ko-uchi-gari, a brilliant uchi-mata counter and an ashi-waza attack. 

MESTRE ALVAREZ, Dayaris (CUB) vs LABORDE, Maria Celia (CUB)                   

Bronze Medal Fights
FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP) vs WU, Shugen (CHN)        
ROSSENEU, Amelie (ISR) vs MENEZES, Sarah (BRA)                   

Final Results
1. LABORDE, Maria Celia (CUB)                                
2. MESTRE ALVAREZ, Dayaris (CUB)                                
3. FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP)                      
3. MENEZES, Sarah (BRA)                          
5. WU, Shugen (CHN)                               
5. ROSSENEU, Amelie (ISR)               
7. COBOS, Diana (ECU)        
7. DOLGOVA, Irina (RUS)           

-52kg: Hosts Cuba add more gold
World silver medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA) had to settle for silver in Havana as she could not compete due to injury to hand the gold medal to double Olympic silver medallist Yanet BERMOY ACOSTA (CUB). The Brazilian star was unable to take her place in the -52kg final after aggravating a shoulder injury. 

In the first semi-final MIRANDA confidently defeated world bronze medallist Mareen KRAEH (GER) by ippon after just 90 seconds. The explosive Brazilian, who received a shido after 40 seconds for going outside of the area, sprang into action a minute later as she loaded her opponent onto her hip and put the foot in for good measure on the edge of the area. At the same stage the home crowd had more reason to cheer as the world-renowned BERMOY ACOSTA narrowly defeated European bronze medallist Gili COHEN (ISR). The Cuban broke the deadlock with a yuko score and COHEN received a shido for passivity before BERMOY ACOSTA earned back-to-back shido penalties for the same offence but did well to protect her slender yuko advantage.

The first bronze medal was clinched by COHEN who recovered from a semi-final defeat to stun Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla GNETO (FRA) who led after 10 seconds with a yuko but was defeated after 21 seconds when she missed with an uchi-mata effort and the opportunistic Israeli drove the Frenchwoman over onto her back as she used the momentum and motion of her opponent against her on the edge of the area. The second bronze medal was won by KRAEH who left it until the closing seconds to impose herself as she bested Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS) with a ko-uchi-gari for waza-ari. KRAEH had three shido penalties to her name and was on the brink of a disqualification as the contest entered the final minute but the accomplished German fighter served up a superb piece of ashi-waza at the perfect time to earn bronze. 


Bronze Medal Fights
GNETO, Priscilla (FRA) vs COHEN, Gili (ISR)      
KUZIUTINA, Natalia (RUS) vs KRAEH, Mareen (GER)                      

Final Results
2. MIRANDA, Erika (BRA)                         
3. COHEN, Gili (ISR)                             
3. KRAEH, Mareen (GER)                                   
5. GNETO, Priscilla (FRA)                          
5. KUZIUTINA, Natalia (RUS)                     
7. HERNANDEZ IGLESIAS, Yurisleidy (CUB)         
7. KEARNEY, Lisa (IRL)                

-57kg: PAVIA powers to victory in Havana
In the -57kg final European champion Automne PAVIA (FRA) had the measure of Baku Grand Slam winner Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) who herself won bronze at the continental showpiece in April. Veteran FILZMOSER, 33, was undone by a waza-ari from an uchi-mata after two minutes and her fate was sealed a minute from time when PAVIA pounced to score ippon in yet another mercurial performance where she was unmatched all day long.  

In the first semi-final FILZMOSER (AUT) took the considerable scalp of world number one Miryam ROPER (GER). Both judoka were penalised early on with shido penalties as they went toe-to-toe with a place in the -57kg final at stake. With 90 seconds left FILZMOSER surprised 31-year-old ROPER by ippon to progress after a battling performance. In the second semi-final PAVIA ousted 21-year-old Loredana OHAI (ROU) by a solitary yuko score. PAVIA controlled the European u23 champion to emerge victorious by the aforementioned score after a shido for passivity was rendered irrelevant after four minutes of action.

The first bronze medal was won by Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Hedvig KARAKAS (HUN) after a tentative contest with OHAI who received a shido for passivity just passed the halfway point and that indiscretion was the difference at the end of the fight. The second bronze medal was won by little-known 22-year-old Aliuska OJEDA (CUB) who shocked world number one ROPER. Cuban Championships silver medallist OJEDA trailed after just 15 seconds as ROPER countered an ashi-waza attack which unnerved her opponent and pushed the Cuban onto her back to take command with a waza-ari. OJEDA responded in style as she won the biggest medal of her career by catching ROPER with a yoko-otoshi for ippon.  
FILZMOSER, Sabrina (AUT) vs PAVIA, Automne (FRA)                         

Bronze Medal Fights
KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN) vs OHAI, Loredana (ROU)         
OJEDA, Aliuska (CUB) vs ROPER, Miryam (GER)                                  

Final Results
1. PAVIA, Automne (FRA)                                    
2. FILZMOSER, Sabrina (AUT)                      
3. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)                               
3. OJEDA, Aliuska (CUB)
5. OHAI, Loredana (ROU)                                    
5. ROPER, Miryam (GER)                                                                  
7. CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU)        
7. ZABLUDINA, Irina (RUS)                  

-60kg: Georgian ace triumphs     
World number two and world silver medallist Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) defeated Miami Grand Prix silver medallist Eric TAKABATAKE (BRA) with a masterful display in the -60kg final. Top seed PAPINASHVILI lived up to his billing as he required only 55 seconds to seal victory. The Georgian scored a waza-ari with a kosoto-gake and was not content with just that score as he transitioned into osaekomi-waza to trap his opponent with a yoko-shiho-gatame for a second waza-ari to win by wazari-awasette-ippon. 

In the first semi-final PAPINASHVILI ended the progress of Sofia European Open silver medallist Artiom ARSHANSKI (ISR) with a ruthless display. The Georgian started with a shido for passivity but that was never a factor in the outcome as he scored a yuko from an ashi-waza attack with was swiftly upgraded to a waza-ari. PAPINASHVILI secured his place in the final by ippon as he swept his Israeli opponent for ippon with 72 seconds remaining. In the second-semi-final TAKABATAKE bested second seed Nabor CASTILLO (MEX), a four-time Pan American Championship medallist. CASTILLO, who is part of 20-strong Mexican team, lost out by wazari-awasette-ippon as his Brazilian opponent left nothing in doubt about his desire to win the competition.

The first bronze medal was claimed by former European silver medallist Ludovic CHAMMARTIN (SUI) who inflicted a second straight defeat for beaten semi-finalist CASTILLO. CHAMMARTIN outworked his resilient opponent to take the final place on the podium with a yuko score being awarded for a determined uchi-mata which the Mexican was unable to avoid. The second bronze medal went to former European bronze medallist Ashley MCKENZIE (GBR) who bested ARSHANSKI who two good scores. The Briton opened the scoring with a yuko from a tai-otoshi and added a waza-ari from a yoko-otoshi either side of both judoka receiving a shido for going out of the area. 
PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO) vs TAKABATAKE, Eric (BRA)         

Bronze Medal Fights
CHAMMARTIN, Ludovic (SUI) vs CASTILLO, Nabor (MEX)           
MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR) vs ARSHANSKI, Artiom (ISR)                                       

Final Result
1. PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO)                               
2. TAKABATAKE, Eric (BRA)          
3. CHAMMARTIN, Ludovic (SUI)                                
3. MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR)                        
5. CASTILLO, Nabor (MEX)                                 
5. ARSHANSKI, Artiom (ISR)                                      
7. PENA, Javier (CUB)           
7. PEREZ, Juan (CHI)         

-66kg: PULAEV prevails for Russia  
European bronze medallist Mikhail PULYAEV (RUS) won -66kg gold in Havana as he defeated former world silver medallist Sugoi URIARTE (ESP) in the final. The in-form Russian went ahead with a yuko from osaekomi-waza as he was positive from the start and set a good tempo. URIARTE was penalised for passivity halfway through the final and a second followed shortly after. With three seconds left the Russian confirmed his victory in emphatic fashion with a seoi-otoshi yielding ippon after the intervention of the IJF refereeing commission. 

In the first semi-final Paris Grand Slam winner PULYAEV dismissed national champion Patrick GAGNE (CAN) with an ippon seoi-nage after 90 seconds earning the maximum score in an impressive statement.
In the second semi-final URIARTE denied an all-Russian final by conqering former European champion Alim GADANOV (RUS). Both men started out with shido penalties for not taking a grip and, despite nursing a hand injury which noticeably affected his gripping, the Spaniard prevailed as GADANOV received a second shido for passivity to separate the rivals after five minutes.

The first bronze medal was won by GADANOV who held firm against a spirited effort from former Cuban Championships silver medallist Gilberto SOLAR (CUB). Both judoka received a shido for passivity after 90 seconds and the crowd spurred on their compatriot with a bronze medal at stake. GADANOV had too much quality and experience at this level as he scored a waza-ari with a drop seoi-nage which proved to be the only score of the competitive contest. The second bronze medal contest was destined for Canada but the question was which judoka would clinch it was 19-year-old Antoine BOUCHARD (CAN) faced teammate and beaten semi-finalist GAGNE. BOUCHARD was penalised for not taking a grip and passivity twice while GAGNE infringed for not taking a grip and going out of the area. GAGNE took the bronze medal and bragging rights on shido penalties with his compatriot receive three against his double transgression. 

PULYAEV, Mikhail (RUS) vs URIARTE, Sugoi (ESP)          
Bronze Medal Fights
SOLAR, Gilberto (CUB) vs GADANOV, Alim (RUS)          
BOUCHARD, Antoine (CAN) vs GAGNE, Patrick (CAN)              

Final Result
1. PULYAEV, Mikhail (RUS)                       
2. URIARTE, Sugoi (ESP)          
3. GADANOV, Alim (RUS)                        
3. GAGNE, Patrick (CAN)                      
5. SOLAR, Gilberto (CUB)                                        
5. BOUCHARD, Antoine (CAN)                             
7. BOLEN, Bradford (USA)       
7. LEFEVERE, Jasper (BEL)            

10:00 Preliminaries on two tatami
17:00 Final block on one tatami

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

10:00 Preliminaries on two tatami
17:00 Final block on one tatami

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

Location: Sport City Coliseum

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