Sunday, August 31, 2014

World Championship Trends

Here are the Top 10 Trends I've noticed at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Judo Championships (not in order of importance or prominence):

1. Ura-Nage is popular
Lots of players from around the world are doing ura-nage, which is actually not a common throw in judo. In the past, this throw was usually employed by players from Eastern European countries. But these days, everybody does it. Players from various countries, men and women, big and small. There were so many attempts at ura-nage, it was hard to not notice it. But there were equally many failed attempts where ura-nage got countered. Several key matches were won that way.

2. Hip throws are hip
There is also a resurgence of the hip throw. Normally, hip throws are popular amongst big players. The heavyweights in particular, love hip throws. For lightweights, hip throws were normally limited to sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, which is done more like a seoi-nage than a hip throw. But these days, even the lightest weights use hip throws. Japan's new -48kg champion Ami Kondo's favorite technique seems to be harai-goshi. In the men's -60kg, Georgia's Amiran Papinashivili and Japan's Naohis Takato also favour hip throws. One of the hip techniques that's really a noticeable trend is best described as utsuri-goshi, which starts off as an ura-nage to the back but then quickly transformed into a hip throw to the front. First popularized by Takato, now you see many players trying it.

3. The emergence of soto-makikomi
Soto-makikomi is a throw many judo instructors frown upon. Perhaps because it involves wrapping your opponent around you and rolling them down, it is deemed as a somewhat unskillful technique that relies on brute force strength. But players like Ukraine's Georgii Zantaraia have turned it into a bona fide skillful technique. Though not as commonly seen as ura-nage and hip throws, soto-makikomi happened with enough regularity that it's fair to say it's become a popular technique.

4. Ride-and-roll counter very common
Probably the most common counter we see today is the ride-and roll-attack. It happens when an opponent tries uchimata. Instead of a sukashi, which is the usual way of countering an uchimata, many players actually ride the attack and tip their opponent over to their side. Many matches were won this way.

5. Lots of overthrows
Time was when if you managed to launch your opponent into the air, it was almost a certainty you would end up with an ippon. Not anymore. Judo players are far more  acrobatic than players of the past. Players like Charles Chibana of Brazil and Georgii Zantaraia of Ukraine are almost like gymnasts in their ability to spin through the air and ultimately land on their front. In his epic battle against the Japanese World Champion Masashi Ebinuma, Zantaraia proved impossible to throw even though he was often flung into the air. In the end Ebinuma had to rely on penalties to win. But Zantaria and Chibana are not the only ones. Many players in all different weight classes are getting better and better at spinning out of a throw.

6. Shido game
The purpose of introducing various new IJF rules is to encourage bigger throws and less tactical play. But players adapt and today we see a lot of players engaging in the shido game, that is aiming to win via penalties. Many matches were determined that way, instead of a throw. Even the blue ribbon event, the final of the men's heavyweight division, was won that way. Teddy Riner of France, instead of throwing his opponent, ended up relying on penalties for the win.

7. Golden score determined by shido
This is somewhat related to the point above (shido game). The fights that went to Golden Score were often determined by shido. Referees were (rightly so, in my opinion) very quick to give shidos once players were in Golden Score. The moment one player eases up a bit, he or she would be given a shido. That is why so many Golden Score fights were determined by shido rather than a throw.

8. Double sleeve tie-up
Referees are quick to give shido for players who refuse to come to grips. So many players do grip their opponents but we are seeing lots of situations where both players adopt a double sleeve grip tie-up where nothing's happening. A lof of the times, the players are holding the end of their opponents' sleeve. In the past this would normally be given a shido. Such a grip seldom gets penalized these days.

9. Referees are strict about straying outside
Many penalties were given for straying outside and many fights were won and lost that way. It's remarkable how many experienced players allowed themselves to get caught that way. Sometimes, the difference between a win and a loss is one shido. And many shidos were dished out to players for straying outside. Japan's 2013 Rio World Champion Naohisa Takato lost his match that way.

10. Comebacks fail
It's never easy to mount a comeback. In the recent past we have seen how miserably players like Russia's Alexander Mikhaylin and France's Lucie Decosse performed in their comeback bids. In Chelyabinsk we saw three players make a comeback: Japan's Kaori Matsumoto, USA's Kayla Harrison and Russia's Tagir Khaibulaev. All three failed to make the final although Harrison did manage to win the bronze.

Men's Teams World Championships

At 66Kg it was Masashi Ebinuma for Japan vs Kamal Khan-Magomedov for Russia. The Russian attacked first, with a gutsy frontal ura-nage attack that somehow left Ebinuma’s left arm injured. Shortly after that he managed to launch Ebinuma with a massive hip throw for ippon. It was a major upset.

At 73kg it was Shohei Ono for Japan vs Dennis Iartchev for Russia. Ono scored first, with his famous uchimata. But Iartchev struck back with an osoto-gari counter that scored yuko. Before time was up, he was able to score a waza-ari with osoto-makikomi. That gave him the win.

With Russia having a 2-0 lead, it all came down to Takanori Nagase in the -81kg division to keep Japan’s hopes alive. He was up against Murat Khabachirov and their fight was scoreless. However, during Golden Score, Nagase wasted no time in launching a driving ouchi-gari attack that scored ippon. Japan was still in the game.

At 90kg it was Masyu Baker for Japan and Magomed Magomedov for Russia. The Japanese teen was down by a shido when he launched an opportunistic soto-makikomi at the end of the mat, which scored yuko. He immediately clamped on a pin for ippon. Japan was now even with Russia at 2-2.

The +100kg weight class would be the one to determine the winner. For this match, it was Japan’s Shichinohe vs Russia’s Aslan Kambiev. The Japanese scored first, with a very low uchimata for waza-ari. Then, when the Russian tried a failed sumi-gaeshi, Shichinohe used the opportunity to do groundwork and pin his opponent for ippon. He had won Japan the team championships!

Women's Teams World Championships

At -52kg it was Mongolia’s Mundmaa Munkhbaatar vs France’s Priscilla Gneto. A small yuko score from a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi attack gave France the victory.

At -57kg Mongolia’s Sumiya Dorjsuren did well defeating France’s Automne Pavia with a drop seoi-nage for yuko. Mongolia and France were now even at 1-1.

At -63kg French World Champion Clarisse Agbegnenou soundly defeated her Mongolian opponent Mungunchimeg Baldorj by throwing her twice with soto-makikomi, once for yuko then another time for waza-ari.

At -70kg, it was a tough battle between Mongolia’s Naranjargal Tsend Ayush and France’s Margaux Pinot. In the end, the Mongolian won through a shido penalty. Mongolia and France were now even at 2-2.

The +70kg division would determine the winner. France’s Audrey Tchemeou did not let her country down as she smashed Mongolia’s Munkhtuya Battulga with a tai-otoshi for ippon. France had won the Women’s Team gold medal!

World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014 - DAY 7

(Via IJF)

The World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014, delivered one last day of scintillating judo as the Team Championships took centre stage on the final day in front of Mr. Vladimir PUTIN, President of the Russian Federation and IJF Honorary President.  

The seven-day annual extravaganza in Chelyabinsk has been praised the world around and offered a pulse-pounding finale on Sunday at the Traktor Sport Arena.

Teams of five judoka were in action as the venue was bursting to capacity with the crowd relishing their last chance to see the finest athletes in the world on the biggest stage on the IJF World Judo Tour. 

Mr. Marius VIZER and Mr. Vladimir PUTIN

Mr. PUTIN, an avid judo practitioner and 8th Dan, was officially invited to attend Chelyabinsk 2014 by Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF and SportAccord President and dually obliged as Russia fielded a men’s team and a women’s team.

The men’s title and a first gold medal for the hosts eluded the Russian teams as the men were undone by Japan who trailed 2-0 but showed their spirit to come back and win the last three fights to defeat the hosts 3-2. The women’s title was won by France who defeated Mongolia in dramatic fashion by the same score.  

Ahead of the final block there was a cooperation agreement signing between the IJF and FIAS, the International Sambo Federation. The one-year contract signed today by Mr. VIZER and FIAS President Mr. Vasily SHESTAKOV will see both federations work together to develop their work in areas such as integrity, media and marketing.

The signing was attended by the Minister of Sports for the Russian Federation, Mr. Vitaly MUTKO, who said: “I have seen a very high level of sport and of judo here in Chelyabinsk and an outstanding atmosphere. There is a great tradition of sport in the Chelyabinsk Region.

“I have the greatest impression of these judo event. Of course, my gratitude goes the IJF and its President, Mr. Marius Vizer. Thanks to the IJF and the Russian Judo Federation, judo is growing in our country and it has become a real priority.

“Talking about the results of our national team, I want to say that I am really pleased with the global results. Russia won eight individual medals, this is excellent and we can feel the London Olympics effect. A few years back that wouldn’t have been possible. Of course, we wanted gold as well, but sport is never written in advance and the concurrence is important at the international level.”

Mr. VIZER said: “My gratitude goes to the organising committee of those World Championships, to the Russian Federation and to the Russian Judo Federation. It was a perfect example of unity and solidarity and a bridge of friendship for Russia in a difficult moment. During a week, Chelyabinsk was a highland of peace and once again it showed friendship and solidarity from Russia to the world.”

“The level of judo has been very high throughout the week. The rules that we have implemented in the framework of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 confirmed that they are moving judo in the right direction. I am deeply convinced that judo is growing and I would like to express my thanks to the media which widely followed the event. They help us to promote the values of judo.

“Russia has been supporting sports for a very long time. This is the case on a domestic level as well as at the international level. I do hope and believe that through this event, we have promoted the right values.
Everybody will go back home with a positive impression and with a good taste of the Russian hospitality and culture and of course I want to congratulate all the winners.”

Before putting pen to paper and inking the new contract with FIAS, Mr. VIZER said: “After long conversations with my colleague from the International Sambo Federation, Mr. Vasily SHESTAKOV, we reached an agreement with Sambo. This is a one-year cooperation that can then be extended. We will help each other to develop our sports with friendship, in the fields of marketing, media and sports development.”

Mr. SHESTAKOV said: “I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Mr. VIZER. Our sports are friends. We are even brothers. The organisation of the IJF under the leadership of Mr. VIZER is an example to be followed. As he is also the President of SportAccord, he promotes all the sports and we are part of that family.”

Following the signing the organising committee staged a closing ceremony which saw the flag handover ceremony for the World Championships as Mr. Vasily ANISIMOV, President of the Russian Judo Federation returned the IJF flag to Mr VIZER who in turn handed it to Mr. Kenges RAKISHEV, the Kazakhstan Judo Federation President.

Mr. RAKISHEV said: “Thank you everyone for trusting us with hosting a World Championships next year. We have been very impressed by the extremely high level of competition organised here in Chelyabinsk. Now we have a very serious task ahead of us and we invite you all to Astana in 2015.”

The World Championships 2015 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, the youngest capital city in the world, from 25-30 August.  


France resist Mongolia charge to win gold 

France won the World Championships women’s title after a hard-fought victory against a battling Mongolian team who lost 3-2. Priscilla GNETO (FRA) gave her team the lead with her first career win over MUNKHBAATAR Bundmaa (MGL) before DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) beat world bronze medallist Automne PAVIA (FRA) with a drop seoi-nage to make it all square. World champion helped her teams cause and her bid to become individual and team champion by beating BALDORJ with a yuko and waza-ari all in the last 48 seconds.TSEND-AYUSH (MGL) restored parity with a win against PINOT (FRA) to make it 2-2. It all came down to world silver medallist and BATTULGA Munkhtuya (MGL) and the former threw for ippon with a uchi-mata as her teammates jumped for joy matside. 

The French team said: “Despite the extreme tiredness it is really good to finish on the top of the podium. The team event is something special and different from any other event. Most of us we fought in the individual tournament. I was difficult to restart again a new competition day, which is really long. But all together we found the necessary energy to take match after match and to win. When we go on the tatami, we forget that we are tired and we want to win. That is what we did today."

In the semi-final France beat Japan 3-2 as Margaux PINOT (FRA) conquered TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN) in the third contest to send her team through. In the second semi-final Mongolia shaded an impressive Poland team as TSEND-AYUSH Naranjargal (MGL) bested Katarzyna KLYS (POL) to put her team 3-1 ahead before they added an extra win in the heavyweight contest. The first team bronze medals were won by Germany who looked to Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix runner-up Luise MALZAHN (GER) for inspiration and she held her nerve in the decider against Daria POGORZELEC (POL) who had two shido penalties while her opponent pitched an unblemished record. The second team bronze medals went to JAPAN who lost their 2013 title but salvaged the final place on the women’s podium with a win against RUSSIA. Like so many matches before and after this engrossing battle, the winner was decided in the final contest as YAMABE Kanae (JPN) defeated -70kg judoka Irina GAZIEVA (RUS) was only selected for the team event. YAMABE scored with a osoto-otoshi for waza-ari and earned the same score with a ouchi-gari to send her team onto the podium.

The Japanese team said: “Obviously we came here for the gold so we are disappointed that we only could get the bronze. We had really tough fights today, but despite that, were able to concentrate again and even after having lost the two first fights of the bronze medal match, we managed to win the medal and for that we are happy.”

Bronze Medal Fights
JAPAN vs RUSSIA       

Final Results
1. FRANCE       
2. MONGOLIA           
3. GERMANY         
3. JAPAN   
5. POLAND       
5. RUSSIA          
7. CUBA    


Japan come from behind to deny Russia in last contest of 2014 Worlds

Japan seized their chance in the men’s final as they impressively come from behind to beat hosts Russia 3-2. Russia started the strongest as world bronze medallist Kamal KHAN-MAGOMEDOV (RUS) shocked world champion EBINUMA Masashi (JPN) with an o-goshi for ippon which had the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir PUTIN, on his feet and highly animated as he willed the team on. The hosts doubled their lead when Denis IARTCEV dominated ONO Shohei (JPN). ONO opened the scoring with a uchi-mata for waza-ari but IARTCEV was overawed and come back to a yuko from a uchi-mata counter and a waza-ari from an osoto-otoshi. As the crowd sensed the gold medal was within their reach Japan sent out 20-year Tokyo Grand Slam winner NAGASE Takanori (JPN) who unlocked Murat KHABACHIROV (RUS) to make a breakthrough for his team and keep them in the contest.

The contest was scoreless after five minutes so the nerve-jangling potential decider went into golden score and after 14 seconds NAGASE scored ippon from an explosive ouchi-gari. Teenager BAKER Mashu (JPN) was next up for Japan and the gutsy newcomer held down Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS) after two minutes to level the match at 2-2. The match came down to the last fight of the World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014, as world silver medallist SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) faced Aslan KAMBIEV (RUS) who was only selected for team duties this week. SHICHINOHE went close with a tai-otoshi buefore going ahead with a waza-ari score and sealing a remarkable comeback with a tate-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds. 

ONO Shohei said: “I’m very disappointed I lost so many times at these World Championships, but I’m a team member and we won as a team.”

SHICHINOHE said: “As a team representing Japan we tried out best and thanks to our team spirit we were able to win and we are very happy.”

Three-time world champion EBINUMA said: “I’m very disappointed because I lost but thanks to the group we were able to win. INOUE Kosei (Japan Head Coach) congratulated us and was pleased so I’m very happy with that.”

In the semi-final Japan defeated reigning champions Georgia 4-1 while at the same stage Russia thumped Germany 4-1. Germany bounced back in devastating fashion in the repechage as they humbled Kazakhstan 5-0 to end their tournament on a high. The same could not be said for Brazilian men who, having won only won individual medal, ran out of steam in the second bronze medal match against Georgia who won the fifth and final contest to steal a 3-2 victory. Olympic and seven-time world champion Teddy RINER suffered a first round defeat as France lost 3-2 Brazil on the opening round. RINER did his part by defeating David MOURA (BRA) with a tate-shiho-gatame pin but that only restored some pride as his team lost out 3-2. 


Bronze Medal Fights

Final Result
1. JAPAN         
2. RUSSIA      
3. GERMANY        
3. GEORGIA    
5. KAZAKHSTAN        
5. BRAZIL     
7. CUBA   

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Men's +100kg

Pool A
Rafael Silva was Brazil's best hope to stop the juggernaut that is Riner. But he was not particularly impressive in the preliminary rounds. He won his first match, against Germany's Andre Breitbarth through penalties. Then he beat Egypt's Islam El Shehaby (EGY) also by penalties. Against Lithuania's athletic Marius Paskevicius, he conceded a yuko first before throwing with a harai-goshi for waza-ari.

Pool B
France's Teddy Riner is the star of the show and he gave the audience what they wanted. First, a big osoto-gari ippon against Israel's Sasson. Then, an uchimata ippon against Czech Republic's Michal Horak. Against the home favorite, Renat Saidov, he used a sumi-gaeshi for waza-ari and then pinned him for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Pool C
Japan's Ryu Schichinohe is not a big player for a heavyweight but he managed to defeat many big players on the way to the semifinal. First it was Cuba's Oscar Brayson whom he threw with a sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi for waza-ari. Then he countered a pick up attempt by Poland's Maciej Sarnacki for ippon. Against Kyrgystan's Iurri Krakovetskii he first threw him for yuko and then armlocked him for ippon.

Pool D
Brazil's second player in the category, David Moura is like Shichinohe, a relatively smaller player. But he also exhibited good skills at fighting bigger opponents. Against Ukraine's Stanislav Bondarenko, he threw with uchimata for ippon. Mongolia's Temuulen Battulga pulled off an uchimata sukashi that scored waza-ari but Moura had the presence of mind to engage immediately in groundwork that ended up with a pin for ippon. He had difficulty with the Netherlands' Roy Meyer who was also not a very big player. In the end, he won on penalties.

Semifinal 1
The first semifinal was over very fast as Riner took advantage of a poor attack by Silva to strangle his opponent.

Semifinal 2
In the battle between two smaller heavyweights, Moura scored first with a drop seoi-nage for waza-ari. Shichinohe scored back with an ouchi-gari for waza-ari. The big throw happened when Moura tried a kosoto-gari which Shichinohe countered for ippon.

Bronze 1
The much larger Saidov easily quashed Moura's drop seoi-nage attempt and pinned him for ippon and a bronze medal for Russia.

Bronze 2

The much larger Silva made Meyer look passive and in the end, he won the match by penalties. It was not a particularly satisfying performance.


    Riner plays it safe and opts for the shido game

Riner played a cautious game, preferring to pull Shichinohe's head down rather than go for big attacks. His tactics worked and soon Shichinohe had collected up to three shidos. With less than a minute left, the Japanese attacked with an ouchi-gari that took Riner down. Although it looked like it could have been a yuko, the referee determined that he had sufficiently spun out of the throw to warrant no score being given. And with that, Riner won his seventh world title. 

Women's +78kg

Pool A
Cuba's World and Olympic Champion Idalys Ortiz showed no signs of losing any momentum as she demolished both her opponents in the preliminary rounds. First, she threw Turkey's Gulsah Kocaturk with drop sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for waza-ari and then pinned her for ippon. Then she threw Germany's Jasmin Kuelbs with drop seoi-nage for ippon.

Pool B
France's Emilie Andeol was less impressive. She defeated Lithuania's Santa Pakenyte through penalties. Against Japan's Kanae Yamabe she scored yuko with ouchi-gari and held on to that lead until the end, incurring three shidos in the process.

Pool C
Brazil's Maria Suelen Altheman was looking good, throwing Bosnia's Larisa Ceric with osoto-gari for ippon. Against Germany's Franziska Konitz, she executed a drop sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for yuko. Then a soto-makikomi for waza-ari, then a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Pool D
Japan's Megumi Tachimoto defeated her first opponent Vanessa Zambotti on groundwork, strangling her for ippon. Against her second opponent though, she had to rely on penalties for a win. It wasn't a particularly impressive performance.

Semifinal 1
The match was scoreless at the end of time and went into Golden Score where Ortiz took advantage of a poor attack to strangle her opponent into submission.

Semifinal 2
The match between Altheman and Tachimoto was scoreless too but the Brazilian won through penalties.

Bronze 1
Tachimoto threw Kuelbs with an effective harai-makikomi ippon.

Bronze 2
Andeol denied Germany a bronze medal when she threw Konitz with an ouchi-gari for waza-ari.


    Like many others, Ortiz has adopted ura-nage

Ortiz won the match in style with a massive ura-nage that had Altheman airborne. It was a fitting way to win the heavyweight gold medal.

Men's -100kg

Pool A
Czech Republic's Lukas Krpalek was on fire, throwing Brazil's former World Champion Luciano Correa with sumi-gaeshi for waza-ari then ura-nage for ippon. A desperate sumi-gaeshi attempt by Ukraine's Artem Bloshenko allowed Krpalek to pin him for ippon. After that, he threw Sweden's Martin Pacek with uchimata for ippon.

Pool B
Russia's talented Tagir Khaibulaev was yet another former world and Olympic champion making a comeback (others were Japan's Kaori Matsumoto and USA's Kayla Harrison). And like the others, he didn't look to be his best. His first fight, against Germany's very strong Dmitri Peters, was won on penalties. He managed to throw Uzbekistan's Soyib Kurbonov with a drop seoi-nage for waza-ari. His first ippon of the day happened in his third fight, against the Netherlands' Henk Grol, who also didn't look his best. Khaibulaev threw him with a hip technique for ippon.

Pool C
Cuba's Jose Armenteros is a relative unknown but he shone in his pool. He threw his first opponent, Latvia's Jevgenijs Borodavko, with a cross grip morote-seoi-nage for ippon. His second match was against defending Azerbaijan's World Champion Elkhan Mammadov was ended prematurely when Mammadov was injured during an ouchi-gari attack and had to forfeit the match. A sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for ippon gave him the win of Germany's other strong player, Karl-Richard Frey.

Pool D
United Arab Emirates have some strong imported players and Ivan Remarenco is one of them. He threw the up-and-coming Canadian player Kyle Reyes with an uchimata feint into kouchi-gari that scored ippon. Then he countered Mongolia's former Olympic champion Tuvshinbayar Naidan for ippon. His fight against France's Cyrille Maret was an exciting one with the Frenchman scoring first, with an osoto-makikomi for yuko. Remarenco responded with the same technique, but for ippon.

Semifinal 1
The match between Krpalek and Khaibulaev had no scores and was decided by a shido.

Semifinal 2
The other semifinal match gave the audience what they wanted to see, a big throw. Armenteros launched Remarenco with a morote-seoi-nage for ippon within the first minute of their contest. 

Bronze 1
In the first bronze medal match, a poor attack that went to the ground gave Remaranco the opportunit to strangle Pacek for ippon.

Bronze 2
Khaibulaev was clearly not in his best shape. A seoi-nage attempt was countered by Frey for a yuko score, and it was enough to win him the match.

Although Krpalek is a capable thrower, his greatest strength is on the ground and in the final, a failed seoi-nage attempt by Aermenteros led to a pin and a win for Krpalek.

World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014 - DAY 6

(Via IJF)

+78kg | | -100kg  | +100kg

The individual competition at the World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014, came to an exhilarating conclusion with the heavyweight categories fighting for gold at the Traktor Sport Arena on Saturday.

Three world titles were at stake as champions were crowned in the women’s +78kg category and the men’s –100kg and +100kg categories in front of a capacity crowd of 8,000 fans.  

The sold out Traktor Sport Arena primed for the final block on day six

Olympic champion Teddy RINER, who is unbeaten since 2010, was unsurpassable yet again as he won an incredible seventh senior world title with a narrow win over a game SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) in the +100kg final.

Fellow Olympic and reigning world champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) was able to rediscover the formidable form which earned her the aforementioned titles having struggled for results in 2014 including an early exit at the first Havana Grand Prix before her home fans.

European kingpin Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) made history as he won his country’s first world judo title with a superb display which showed his wide repertoire including his pinpoint ne-waza which is regarded as among the best in the sport.

Best Judoka at Chelyabinsk 2014 - Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) and Teddy RINER (FRA)

The Best Male Judoka Award for the World Championships went to RINER who just keeps getting better and better and all his victims know that at 25 years old, there is still more to come from him. The Best Female Judoka Award went to ORTIZ who won all four fights by ippon.

In the end five 2013 world champions repeated their win from 12 months ago as RINER and ORTIZ followed -52kg winner Majlinda KELMENDI (IJF), -66kg gold medallist EBINUMA Masashi (JPN) and -70kg champion Yuri ALVEAR (COL).

The World Championships is set for a thrilling finale as the team competition brings Chelyabinsk 2014 to a close on Sunday with 16 men's teams and 16 women's teams set to give their all for their country in the hugely exciting format in which Georgia (men) and Japan (women) are the reigning champions.    

The World Team Championships draw was made by IJF Hall of Fame duo Franco CAPPELLETTI (ITA) and 1980 Moscow Olympic champion Robert VAN DE WALLE (BEL)

After six days of pulsating action, Japan finished top of the medal table with four gold, two silver and three bronze medals. This year’s 14 gold medallists come from 10 different countries, the same number as last year, while 24 countries claimed a medal this year.    

Live stream on Ippon TV: event hash tag: #worldjudo2014YouTube:


+78kg: ORTIZ rediscovers her magical touch for Cuba 

There were question marks about Olympic champion and world champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) coming into Chelyabinsk 2014 having produced a host of toothless displays on the IJF World Judo Tour this year. However, ORTIZ, 24, is a big stage performer and there was no lack of motivation this time around as she defeated long-time rival Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) in a repeat of the 2013 outcome at the summit of the +78kg category. ALTHEMAN does not have the answer to the problems posed by ORTIZ on the tatami as she suffered her eight head-to-head defeat against the Cuban from eight meetings. ORTIZ won by ippon with a devastating ura-nage after 71 seconds and punched the air as any sense of self-doubt around her ability evaporated. The Cuban ace also showed the judo values off the tatami as she helped the injured ALETHEMAN onto the medal podium after the Brazilian picked up a knock on her ankle during the final. 

ORTIZ said: “The Olympic Games and the World Championships are the most important events in sports and in my life. So I am really happy for having won my second world title in a row. My strongest opponent today was me. I was not totally confident, especially because this year I was not even able to win in Havana, on the occasion of the Grand Prix. But winning at the Worlds is something else. I dedicate this victory to my parents.”

In the first semi-final ORTIZ overpowered European champion Emilie ANDEOL (FRA) in golden score as she initially held down her challenger before securing the okuri-eri-jime to force the Frenchwoman to submit. In the second semi-final ALTHEMAN saw off three-time wold bronze medallist TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN) on shido penalties. TACHIMOTO attacked with harai-goshi but had insufficient power behind it to unsettle the considerable frame of ALTHEMAN. The Japanese judoka was penalised twice for passivity while ALTHEMAN was penalised once for the indiscretion and went through to the heavyweight final.    

The first bronze medal was won by TACHIMOTO who rallied with 12 seconds left to counter a sasae-tsuriomi-ashi effort from 22-year-old European bronze medallist Jasmin KUELBS (GER) with a harai-makikomi for ippon. The second bronze medal was clinched by ANDEOL who somehow found a way to deny three-time European bronze medallist Franziska KONITZ (GER). ANDEOL was lethargic through the four minutes while KONITZ had more purpose but offered a minimal attacking threat so the contest went into added time. Only three more seconds were needed as ANDEOL scored waza-ari from an ouchi-gari in the very first attack of golden score.    

ANDEOL said: “For me it is an accomplishment but it’s only the beginning. It’s not the end of the story of my judo career. I was so close to win against the Olympic and World Champion (ORTIZ) in the semi-final, but I started too late and made a mistake during the golden score. For the bronze, I had again to enter the golden score but this time I managed to win, so the end of the day is incredible.”
ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB) vs ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)    

Bronze Medal Fights
TACHIMOTO, Megumi (JPN) vs KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)   
ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA) vs KONITZ, Franziska (GER)         

Final Results
1. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)        
2. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)          
3. TACHIMOTO, Megumi (JPN)       
3. ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA)    
5. KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)          
5. KONITZ, Franziska (GER)    
7. YAMABE, Kanae (JPN)     
7. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)     


-100kg: New king KRPALEK wins Czech Republic's first world title

European champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) won the Czech Republic’s first world gold medal with a convincing victory. World number one KRPALEK, 23, a two-time world bronze medallist, showed his rich development over the last year by coming out on top against the best of the best in Chelyabinsk. KRPALEK bested former Junior world champion Jose ARMENTEROS (CUB) who was a big surprise in the -100kg category after a superb breakthrough on the elite senior stage. KRPALEK is well-known for his ne-waza prowess and trapped his Cuban opponent with a tate-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and, with his jacket undone as a result of his horizontal endeavours, he stood up and raised his arms up to shoulder height in his trademark celebratory pose.  

KRPALEK said: “I am so happy tonight. I was already a two-time bronze medallist at the World Championships. Today I was the top seeded athlete but I didn’t consider myself as the favourite because seven to 10 athletes were able to win today. It was not an easy win, especially against the Olympic Champion, Tagir KHAIBULAEV. I was a little bit worried about the ground work and at one moment, I felt a really dangerous situation. But at the end, everything went super well.”

ARMENTEROS said: “I am happy with this result. Thanks to the great help and support I have received from the IJF, I had an excellent preparation and to enter the final was so great. I want to thank my coaches for all the efforts that they are doing to bring us to the top. Now we will keep going working towards the Olympics.”

In the first semi-final KRPALEK knocked out Olympic champion Tagir KHAIBULAEV (RUS) and erased the memory of being one of the Russian’s victims in London when he got caught in ne-waza. KRPALEK took out Russia’s last hope of an individual gold medal by a single shido penalty which was handed to the Russian for negative gripping one minute into the contest. In the second semi-final ARMENTEROS bested fellow surprise package and Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Ivan REMARENCO (UAE). Both judoka had won all their previous fights by ippon so something and someone had to give and that was REMARENCO who was thrown for ippon after 34 seconds with a sumptuos morote-seoi-nage. ARMENTEROS fell down to his knees and placed his hands on his head in shock before shaking the hand of IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER and Cuban Judo Federation President Mr. Rafael J. Manso REYES as he left the field of play.

The first bronze medal was won by REMARENCO who defeated Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Martin PACEK (SWE) to win his country’s second medal in Chelyabinsk. REMARENCO sealed a place on the podium at the expense of PACEK, who still produced Sweden’s best finish in Russia, by catching him with shime-waza to yield to force the Swede to tap out.

REMARENCO said: “Even if I already won a silver medal in Tbilisi this year, this is my first official medal on the occasion of a major event. I am really happy and I am happy for our team too, because we really did a great job here in Russia.”  

The second bronze medal was won by Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist Karl-Richard FREY (GER) who defeated KHAIBULAEV which caused some discontent in the crowd as their understandable frustrations were evident. The German ended his country’s six-day wait for a medal by scoring a yuko and showing a solid defensive game to hold out the revered Russian.

FREY, who was crying and struggling to find words for his result, said: “This medal represents everything for me today. I trained so hard to get it. I did it for my family. For my mum and for my dad who was in the venue today. It is so beautiful. I wanted that medal, I needed it. It was impossible for me to go back home without that medal.”


Bronze Medal Fights
REMARENCO, Ivan (UAE) vs PACEK, Martin (SWE)   
KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS) vs FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)       

Final Result
1. Lukas KRPALEK (CZE)       
2. ARMENTEROS, Jose (CUB)       
3. REMARENCO, Ivan (UAE)      
3. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)       
5. PACEK, Martin (SWE)          
5. KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS)       
7. GROL, Henk (NED)      
7. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)     

+100kg: Seventh heaven for RINER
Olympic and six-time senior world champion Teddy RINER (FRA) won his seventh senior world title at the age of 25 to equal the all-time number of world gold medals set by TANI Ryoko (JPN) and TONG Wen (CHN). RINER, whose four-year unbeaten run extends to 62 fights, was trending worldwide on Twitter as he won every fight via a different method in a masterclass which left the crowd in awe. RINER defeated a game SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) who came to fight and gave the Frenchman more resistance then he is used to. Paris Grand Slam winner SHICHINOHE attacked with a hopeful ouchi-gari after 40 seconds which did not register with the unmovable French force. The Japanese fighter went on to receive a shido for passivity and two for false attacks as RINER urged him to stand up and fight. SHICHINOHE sprung a ouchi-gari on RINER and had the heavyweight phenom backtracking as he just managed to turn and land on his hips to avoid what was close to being a yuko score. RINER, who used osoto-gari, uchi-mata and koshi-jime to earn ippons in the earlier rounds, saw out the remaining time to lay claim to being one of the greatest of all time.

RINER said: “I am super happy. Once again I win the world title. I am just a bit disappointed because I wanted to score, but SHICHINOHE was escaping me a little. I needed to keep my concentration and to keep calm. With the seventh title I think that I am at the same level of TANI Ryoko (JPN). The next step will be the eighth world title. I need to keep going and working to raise my judo level. The Japanese seems to begin to find solutions against me, so I need to work on that but tonight I am enjoying my title.”

SHICHINOHE said: “Tonight this silver medal totally corresponds to what I was looking for. My first fights were not really good, but then I felt better and better. I am happy. RINER is incredibly strong, but my objective is one day to be able to defeat him. Of course I still need to work for that, but I do hope that I will be the one who will beat him. I am not ready yet.” 

In the first semi-final RINER made quick work of his 2013 world final victim and Olympic bronze medallist Rafael SILVA (BRA) as he subdued the Brazilian with shime-waza without breaking a sweat. In the second semi-final SHICHINOHE downed the man he beat to win the Paris Grand Slam, and his first IJF World Judo Tour gold medal, in the form of the impressive David MOURA (BRA). The latter was caught flat-footed as the Japanese countered an ouchi-gari for a waza-ari score. SHICHINOHE booked a place in the final by scoring his second waza-ari as a ko-uchi-gari sent MOURA into the repechage.

The first bronze medal was won by Havana Grand Prix winner Renat SAIDOV (RUS) who dismissed MOURA to win Russia’s eighth and final medal of the individual competition. MOURA tried to execute a drop seoi-nage but slipped back and Chelyabinsk’s own judoka SAIDOV held the Brazilian down for 20 seconds with a minute remaining. SAIDOV went over to hug teammate and Olympic champion Mansur ISAEV (RUS) as well as mixed martial arts legend and former Russian judo team member Fedor EMELIANENKO. The second bronze medal was won by SILVA who defeated rising powerhouse Roy MEYER (NED) in a scoreless contest as the Dutchman was penalised for passivity to hand Brazil their fourth medal.  

RINER, Teddy (FRA) vs SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN)   

Bronze Medal Fights
MOURA, David (BRA) vs SAIDOV, Renat (RUS)   
SILVA, Rafael (BRA) vs MEYER, Roy (NED)         

Final Result
1. RINER, Teddy (FRA)       
2. SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN)    
3. SAIDOV, Renat (RUS)         
3. SILVA, Rafael (BRA)       
5. MOURA, David (BRA)        
5. MEYER, Roy (NED)         
7. PASKEVICIUS, Marius (LTU)    

Friday, August 29, 2014

Women's -78kg

Pool A
France's Audrey Tcheumeo is the top favorite here and she blew away all opposition convincingly. She defeated her first opponent, USA's Samatha Bleier with a slick kouchi-kosoto combo for waza-ari. Then an osoto-gari for yuk. Finally a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Against Spain's Mart Tort Merino, she first scored with kouchi-gari for yuko, then osoto-gari for ippon. With Cuba's Yalennis Castillo, she used a te-waza counter for yuko. Then she pinned her for ippon. Her preliminary rounds was a masterful performance.

Pool B
North Korea's Kyong Sol was the sensation at the 2013 Rio World Championships but as she did not take part in many IJF World Circuit events, she was not highly ranked. Nevertheless, she would of course be a force to contend with. Her performance this year was not as impressive though. She defeated her first opponent, Ukraine's Victoriia Turks (UKR) with a low uchimata for yuko and held onto that lead until the end. She beat the Netherlands' Guusje Seenhuis with an osoto-counter for yuko at the end of their match. There was signs of her old self in her match against Portugal's Yahima Ramirez, where she utilized her trademark two-hands-on-one sode-tsuri-komi-goshi to score waza-ari. Her opponent had grabbed her trousers and thus got a hansoku-make disqualification.

Pool C
USA's Kayla Harrison was making a comeback here. But all comebacks are inherently difficult and it showed in her first match, where she scrapped by with a penalty win against Canada's Catherine Roberge. She countered Taiwan's Szu-Chu Wang for a yuko then in groundwork, used a sankaku to pin her for ippon. Her most impressive performance was in her third match, against Slovenia's Anamari Velensek, whom she threw with a standing ippon-seoi-nage for waza-ari and then pinned her for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Pool D
Brazil's Mayra Aguiar was on top form. She was strong and she was peaking. In her first match, she executed a very low tai-otoshi to score waza-ari against Italy's Assunta Galeone, then she pulled off a well-timed uchimata-sukashi for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. She threw Spain's Laia Talarn with kosoto-gari twice, once for waza-ari and once for yuko. Then, against Russia's Alena Kachorovskaya, she threw with kosoto-gake for ippon.

Semifinal 1
Last year's world champion Sol was no match against the determined Tcheumeo who smashed her with harai-goshi for ippon.

Semifinal 2

The 2012 Olympic champion Harrison was no match against Aguiar whose low tai-otoshi caught her for yuko. A desperate ouchi-gari got by Harrison got countered for waza-ari.

Bronze 1
Harrison defeated Ramirez through a shido penalty. She had just won the bronze but she was crying on her way off the mat. Like Liparteliani, she felt nothing but gold was good enough.

Bronze 2
Velensek defeated a lacklustre Sol with a kosoto-gari for yuko. The North Korean was a shadow of her former self.


    Aguiar used a low tai-otshi throughout the day
It was a battle of titans but Aguiar won out with her trademark, low tai-otoshi done from a high grip which scored waza-ari, which was enough to clinch her the match.

Men's -90kg

Pool A
Every world championships would have an unexpected star and Hungary's Krisztian Toth proved to be so in the -90kg category, stunning the crowd with his powerful and dynamic throws. He began his campaign with a morote-seoi-nage against Ivory Coast's Kinapeya Romeo Kone which scored ippon. He did the very same throw against Serbia's Aleksandar Kukolj and got an ippon too. His next fight couldn't be any tougher. It was against the top favorite, Georgia's Varlam Liparteliani. It was a hard fought match with no scores but in the end Toth had one penalty to Liparteliani's two.

Pool B
Kirill Voprosov is not the top Russian in this category. That would be his team mate Kiril Denisov. But he certainly showed some very impressive judo. He was careless in his first match and got caught by Kazakhstan's Samat Yessen with drop seoi-nage for yuko. He responded with an excellent osoto-kosoto combination which scored yuko but he quickly transitioned into an armlock that scored ippon.

His next opponent is the very tough Georgian Beka Gviniashvili. But Denisov made short work of him, countering him with a strong kosoto-gari for ippon. After that he beat Switzerland's Ciril Grossklaus with a very acrobatic uchimata which scored yuko. His fourth opponent, Ukraine's Quedjau Nhabali proved to be very tough as well, and scored first with ouchi-gari for yuko. Voprosov ended the match with another kosoto-gari counter for ippon.

Pool C
Uzbekistan's Sherali Juraev is yet another relative unknown who shone at the competition. He beat his first opponent, South Korea's Kim Jae Yun with a slick kosoto-gari for ippon. Next, he threw Turkmenistan's Nuraly Yalkapov with uchimata for waza-ari and yuko each, and then pins him for ippon. Against the tough Serbian Dmitri Gerasimenko he had to rely on a penalty win. This pit him against the top favorite Kirill Denisov, whom he dispatched with surprising ease though an uchimata sukashi for ippon.

Pool D
Fan favorite Ilias Iliadis of Greece did not disappoint and threw his first opponent with an unusually low, rolling uchimata which scored yuko. Then he threw with sode for yuko. Finally another low, rolling uchimata, this time for ippon.

His next opponent is Portugal's Celio Dias who had surprised everybody by throwing Japan's Masyu Baker for ippon earlier. Iliadis throw him with a massive hip throw for ippon. He had a harder time throwing former world champion Guillaume Elmont of the Netherlands. However the defensive Dutch player eventually incurred four shidos and received a hansoku-make. It was yet another ippon for Iliadis.

Semifinal 1
The Toth-Voprosov semifinal match was a tense one as both players had the potential to do huge throws. The exciting match which was full of exciting near-throws went to Golden Score. Toth wasted not time and attacked Voprosov with an ura-nage-hip throw hybrid popularized by Japan's Naohisa Takato. Although it only scored a yuko, it was a massive throw with lots of air time. The crowd applauded what was clearly a masterful throw.

Semifinal 2
Iliadis did not have an easy time with Juraev, who was having the day of his life but in the end, Iliadis's experience shone through and he managed to win with a hip throw for yuko.

Bronze 1
A despondent-looking Liparteliani smashed Juraev with his trademark hip throw uchimata for ippon. Although he had won a bronze, Liparteliani left the mat in tears. He was supposed to get the gold.

Bronze 2
There would be no all-Russian bronze medal match as Denisov failed to appear on the mat, apparently due to injury. That meant Voprosov got the bronze.

    The throw that wins Iliadis his 3rd World title

Iliadis would not be denied a third world title and threw the Hungarian upstart, Toth, with a soto-makikomi for ippon. 

Women's -70kg

Pool A
Kim Polling of the Netherlands is the top favorite in this pool. However, she had some difficulty with her first opponent, Mongolia's Narangjargal Tsend Ayush and won on penalties. She did better against her next opponent, Tunisia's Houda Miled, who she threw with a hip technique for waza-ari and then held down for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Her next match, however, was again won by penalty.This is rather unusual for Polling who has strong throwing power.

Pool B
Colombia's Yuri Alvear is a double world champion but she doesn't compete in many IJF world circuit competitions so she is not as well known as Polling. But she has strong throwing powers too. She beat her first opponent, Luxembourg's Lynn Mossong with her favourite osoto-makikomi for yuko. She a bit of difficulty with her second opponent, Brazil's Barbara Timo, who scored first, countering Alvear for a yuko. Alvear only managed to get back a score in the final minutes, an osoto-makikomi for waza-ari. Against her next opponent, Cuba's Onix Cortes Aldama, Alvear used uchimata which scored waza-ari. Then she countered what looked like a head-dive uchimata, which gave her waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. The Cuban could have easily been given hansoku-make for the head dive.

Pool C
Croatia's Barbara Matic threw her first opponent, Ecuador's Vanessa Chala with osoto-makikomi for waza-ari. She had to rely on penalties to win her next match, against Austria's Bernadette Graf. In third match, she managed to pull off a kosoto-gari in the final minute to score a waza-ari.

Pool D
Japan's Karen Nun Ira was given the shock of her life shen she got thrown for waza-ari by Morocco's Assmaa Niang. However, she had the presence of mind to quickly clamp on a pin. She held her opponent long enough to score yuko before Niang broke loose but Nun Ira quickly secured the pin again, this time for ippon.

Nun Ira got another scare when China's Chao Zhou threw her with a very powerful sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for waza-ari. Nun Ira was composed enough to fight back and scored with an ouchi-gari for waza-ari to even up the scores. Before the match was over, she had scored ippon with a counter against her opponent's attempt to do a sode-osoto combination.

In her third match, against Canada's Kelita Zupancic, she pushed her opponent down when she was off balanced and scored waza-ari. She held onto her lead until the end, although in the process she racked up three shidos.

Semifinal 1

    Alvear demolishes Polling with makikomi

On paper, the Polling-Alvear match would be an evenly fought one as both players are known for their big throws but Alvear appeared too powerful for Polling. First, she scored with osoto-makikomi for waza-ari. Then another osoto-makikomi, this time for yuko. Then a final throw, soto-makikomi, for ippon.

Semifinal 2
The Matic-Nun Ira match was ended decisively too. Nun Ira executed a kosoto-gari from behind her opponent to score yuko and then proceeded to armlock her for ippon. Despite her difficulty in the preliminary rounds, Nun Ira was through to the final.

Bronze 1
Cortes Aldama launched Matic with a glorious uchimata that had the crowd gasping. It was wa perfect ippon.

Bronze 2
Polling scored first, with a slow drop seoi-nage for yuko. But Klys responded with a kouchi-makikomi in the final minute. It scored waza-ari and was enough to win her the match.

This world championships is one where a lot of players tried ura-nage, which seems to be the hot trend of the moment. When Alvear initiated an ouchi-gari, Nun Ira seized the opportunity to execute an ura-nage. But the experienced Alvear switched to kouchi-gari and landed on top of her. It was a third gold medal for Alvear.

World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014 - DAY 5

(Via IJF)

-70kg | | -78kg  | -90kg

The World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014, moved towards the conclusion of the individual competition as three champions emerged at the Traktor Sport Arena on Friday.

The women’s -70kg and -78kg judoka took to the tatami along with the men’s –90kg judoka with an expectant Russian crowd sensing more home medals in Chelyabinsk. The three world titles went to Colombia, Brazil and Greece as a global audience once again saw how judo is one of the world’s most practiced sports at the grassroots and elite level.  

Hosts Russia have been on the medal podium every day to the immense pleasure of the home fans but a gold medal still eludes them and they will hope their fortunes can change on Friday. 

The Traktor Sport Arena attracted a full crowd once again including sporting idols such as mixed martial arts legend and former Russian judo national team member Fedor EMELIANENKO (RUS).

EMELIANENKO, who won bronze at the 1999 Moscow tournament before it later became the Moscow Grand Slam, started his sporting career in judo and is a regular guest at IJF World Judo Tour events.

EMELIANENKO had high praise for the crown jewel of the Tour and spoke fondly of the host city of Chelyabinsk.

Fedor EMELIANENKO speaks to the media at the World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014 

The 37-year-old said: “I have a great impression of the World Championships here in Chelyabinsk on my first day at the competition. I’m happy to see so many countries, athletes and supporters here and I’m pleased that everyone seems to be enjoying the event.

“I am full of pride for Russia for hosting such an important and spectacular event and especially as I used to be a judoka for Russia. I have fought for the honour of Russia and I know what the team is experiencing here. I know the Olympic champion Tagir KHAIBULAEV very well and I ask you all to shout for him on Saturday.

“This is a key event for all judoka in their preparations and qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and I look forward to more judo in the coming days," added the SportAccord World Combat Games 2013 sambo ambassador. 

After five days of competition, Japan are still top of the medal table with four gold, one silver and two bronze medals ahead of France and Georgia.  

The final day of the individual competition takes centre stage on Saturday and features the men’s -100kg and +100kg categories and women’s +78kg category.

Olympic and six-time senior world heavyweight champion Teddy RINER (FRA) will be chasing a seventh crown which would equal the record of world title wins set by TONG Wen (CHN) and IJF Hall of Famer TANI Ryoko (JPN). 

Live stream on Ippon TV: event hash tag: #worldjudo2014YouTube:


-70kg: Untouchable Colombian ALVEAR cements legacy 

World champion and Olympic bronze medallist Yuri ALVEAR (COL) was unbeatable in 2009, 2013 and today as she became the third judoka to retain their title at the IJF’s marquee event. ALVEAR was overlooked in some parts coming into the competition but made a mockery of anyone who dismissed her as he concluded her day and third world victory by beating All Japan Championships winner NUNIRA Karen (JPN). The heartbeat of Colombian judo topped the medal podium after defeating NUNIRA by ippon from a ko-uchi-gake after just 61 seconds. ALVEAR sat on her knees on the tatam after she was awarded the win and looked up to as if to praise some divine inspiration. 

ALVEAR said: “I am world champion again, for the third time. I am so happy. I know what it takes to be here on the top of the podium. I know how hard all the athletes are training and everybody would want to be at my best. I was feeling so well all day long and my judo was really strong.”

In the first semi-final ALVEAR surprised world number one Kim POLLING (NED) who was well beaten in the end. POLLING, who just did enough in the preliminaries to reach the last four, was caught for a waza-ari in the second minute and then an osoto-gari added a yuko for the Colombian. The defending champion produced another waza-ari score to progress into the -70kg final. In the second semi-final NUNIRA conquered Junior world champion Barbara MATIC (CRO) who has made the step up to the senior stage with ease. MATIC, who won bronze at the European Championships in April, was undone on the ground as NUNIRA submitted the 19-year-old with a juji-gatame.

The first bronze medal was won by Onix CORTES ALDAMA (CUB) who abruptly ended the medal ambitions of her teenage opponent from Croatia. CORTES ALDAMA threw MATIC with uchi-mata for ippon to win her country’s second medal of the competition after Maria Celia LABORDE (CUB) took -48kg bronze on Monday. The second bronze medal was won by Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Katarzyna KLYS (POL) who handed POLLING a second successive humbling defeat. KLYS stepped over a uchi-mata attack and took the lead with a yuko before scoring waza-ari with a ko-uchi-gari as her Dutch rival ran out of ideas. 
ALVEAR, Yuri (COL) vs NUN IRA, Karen (JPN)   

Bronze Medal Fights
POLLING, Kim (NED) vs KLYS, Katarzyna (POL)          

Final Results
1. ALVEAR, Yuri (COL)       
2. NUN IRA, Karen (JPN)        
3. CORTES ALDAMA, Onix (CUB)         
3. KLYS, Katarzyna (POL)                
5. MATIC, Barbara (CRO)
5. POLLING, Kim (NED)   
7. MATNIYAZOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)     
7. ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN)           

-78kg: Outstanding AGUIAR brings Brazil back to the fore in Chelyabinsk 

Olympic and world bronze medallist Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) won her first world title with a ruthless performance having previously earned one silver and two bronze medals at the annual judo showpiece. AGUIAR, 23, defeated former world champion and fellow Olympic bronze medallist Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) in the -78kg final. The Brazilian ace, who only returned from a year-long absence through injury by winning the Tyumen Grand Slam in July, was in inspired form as she opened the scoring with a waza-ari from a low uchi-mata. Brazil, who only had a slender return of a -52kg bronze medal from Erika MIRANDA before today, were reinvigorated by AGUIAR who was lifted up off the ground by her ecstatic coach Rosicleia CAMPOS as teammate Maria PORTELA (BRA) was shown jumping for joy in the crowd. 

AGUIAR said: “I can’t tell. It is wonderful. I had an operation height months ago. It is so hard to come back and to continue to train when you don’t know if you can really recover. You never know. But tonight, I am too happy because, obviously everything went well for me. I don’t realize. I was the only favorite with no world title. Now it is the case.”

TCHEUMEO said: “I am really proud of what I did today. I had two really difficult years and it was hard to come back and to have again good sensations. Today it was the case. In the final I knew what I had to avoid. But I did a tactical mistake and she surprised me. But nevertheless, I am happy tonight.” 

In the first semi-final TCHEUMEO guaranteed a new world champion by ousting 2013 winner SOL Kyong (PRK) in 82 seconds with a harai-goshi. In the second semi-final AGUIAR defeated Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) who returned from injury in June as she won the Havana Grand Prix, the first IJF competition to carry points towards qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. AGUIAR went ahead with a yuko and added a waza-ari to her opening score as HARRISON.
The first bronze medal was won by HARRISON who saw off former European Championships bronze medallist Yahima RAMIREZ (POR) by the narrowest of margins. RAMIREZ was penalised with a shido in a scoreless contest which marked the return of HARRISON to World Championships podium and her country’s first medal in Chelyabinsk.

HARRISON said: “It’s only my fifth tournament this year, so being on the podium is a very good result if I look back but I came here to win and only the victory interests me, so I am obviously disappointed. Now my objective is Rio 2016 and being able to repeat my London performance. Every night I dream of that. This is my ultimate goal. Today I mentally felt really good, but physically I wasn’t feeling as good. I must get back my confidence in my judo. If I am mentally prepared, physically on top, trusting my judo, nobody can beat me. I still have to work, but next year there is another World Championships and then it will be time for the Games. I am back.”

The second bronze medal was won by the vastly underrated Paris Grand Slam winner Anamari VELENSEK (SLO) who defeated SOL who was unable to recapture the form which saw her dumbfound fans the world around when she took gold a year ago. A yuko for VELENSEK was the difference as SOL lacked vigour and failed to trouble the scoreboard. 
TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA) vs AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)        

Bronze Medal Fights
HARRISON, Kayla (USA) vs RAMIREZ, Yahima (POR)  
SOL, Kyong (PRK) vs VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)           

Final Results
1. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)      
2. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)    
3. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)    
3. VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)    
5. RAMIREZ, Yahima (POR)           
5. SOL, Kyong (PRK)       
7. CASTILLO, Yalennis (CUB)   
7. KACHOROVSKAYA, Alena (RUS)       


-90kg: Greek great ILIADIS secures third world title 10 years after Olympic win

Athens 2004 Olympic champion Ilias ILADIS (GRE) won the third World Championship gold medal of his illustrious career in Chelyabinsk. The world-renowned ILIADIS, 27, has starred on the circuit for a decade and after today’s victory is now determined to fight on to the Rio 2016 Olympics. ILIADIS met one of the brightest young talents in the sport in the final as 20-year-old Krisztian TOTH (HUN) put forward a herculean effort on the tatami. ILIADIS triumphed by ippon as he attacked with osoto-gari and wrapped his arm over the top of his opponents right shoulder for a soto-makikomi and yet another world title. ILIADIS ran around the tatami with three fingers raised on each hand to show his number of his world title wins before embracing with TOTH who showed his respect for his idol by raising the hand of ILIADIS and turning to all four sides of the venue.   

ILIADIS said: “Oh that’s so good to win a third world title and to sit hear among the best athletes in the world. I don’t consider myself as the best of the best but today was my lucky day. Most of the favourites were defeated and I took my chance. Of course, now I feel confident enough to run for another Olympics.”

TOTH said: “It’s really a big surprise for me to be in the final and to be in the final with my idol, Ilias LIADIS. He’s a role model for me. I was probably not expected to medal at this level but it was my day and my dream came true. For the moment, I was ready for the preliminaries and the semi-final where I had a terrific fight. But I was not ready for the final, not yet ."

In the first semi-final TOTH sensationally defeated Kirill VOPROSOV (RUS) in an absorbing contest during golden score. Both men went toe-to-toe for five minutes and neither could produce a score as the Russian fans tried to energise VOPROSOV as they raised their volume for the raised stakes of the contest. TOTH silenced the crowd by scoring a match-winning yuko after 53 seconds and clapped the crowd to recognise their excitement for the contest and knowledge of judo. In the second semi-final ILIADIS downed Tashkent Grand Prix winner Sherali JURAEV (UZB) with a display of brute force that makes his one of the most popular judoka in the world. ILIADIS threw with o-goshi for a yuko and went on to the final.

The first bronze medal was won by world number one Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) who was tipped for glory in Russia but had to settle for bronze as his world title dream is on hold for another year. Rio 2013 runner-up LIPARTELIANI threw JURAEV with tsurikomi-goshi for ippon and left the tatami with his left arm over his eyes. The second bronze medal was won by VOPROSOV as compatriot and Chelyabinsk’s own reigning world bronze medallist Kirill DENISOV (RUS) was unable to compete due to injury.    

ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE) vs TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)     

Bronze Medal Fights
VOPROSOV, Kirill (RUS) vs DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)        

Final Result
1. ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE)        
2. TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)          
3. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)   
3. VOPROSOV, Kirill (RUS)      
5. JURAEV, Sherali (UZB)      
5. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)      
7. NHABALI, Quedjau (UKR)   
7. ELMONT, Guillaume (NED)  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Men's -81kg

Pool A
The overall top favourite Avtandili Tchrikishvili won his first round after his opponent, Jaromir Musil of Czeck Republic, got injured early in the match. An opportunistic one-handed drop sode at the edge of the mat gave him an early lead with yuko in his second match, against Joachim Bottiue of Belgium. It was enough for him to win the hard-fought match. An illegal leg grab by Carlos Luz of Portugal gave Tchrikishvili an easy win in his third match. A lacklustre performance by Japan’s Takanori Nagase allowed Tchrikishvili a win on penalties.

Pool B
Germany’s Sven Maresch was the top seed in this pool but he lost to France’s Alain Schmitt in the first round, on penalties. A drop morote-seoi-nage gave Schmitt an ippon victory over Argentina’s Emmanuel Lucenti. Schmitt threw his next opponent, Spain’s Adrian Nacimiento Lorenzo twice with drop morote-seoi-nage for yuko each, and once with drop ippon-seoi-nage for yuko before pinning him for ippon. His last opponent was Nacif Elias of Lebanon, who surprisingly gave him a very hard time. In the end, Schmitt had to rely on penalties to win.
Nacif Elias (LIB)

Pool C
Defending World Champion Loic Pietri threw his first opponent, South Korea’s Lee Seungsu, for waza-ari with a reverse seoi-nage in the opening seconds and held onto that score until the end. He then threw Portugal’s Diogo Lima, with drop ippon-seoi-nage for waza-ari and then countered him with a sumi-gaeshi for yuko.

His third fight, against Robin Pacek of Sweden, went to Golden Score. There he managed to pull off an impressive standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi that scored waza-ari. In his fourth fight, he countered Russia’s former World Champion Ivan Nifontov’s sasae for yuko and then threw him with drop ippon-seoi-nage for another yuko.

Pool D
Antoine Valois-Fortier had a difficult first fight, against Uzbekistan’s Shukhratjon Arslanov which he won on penalties. He beat Tunisia’s Abdelaziz Ben Ammar with a side takedown for waza-ari. Then he pinned North Korea’s Pak Hong Wi for ippon. His toughest match was against Brazil’s Victor Penalber who threw him first with an uchimata for yuko. But Valois-Fortier scored a waza-ari with sumi-gaeshi before the time was up. He was through to the semifinal.

Semifinal 1
    Schmitt received 4 shidos in the last 2 minutes

About midway through their semi-final match, Schmitt socred a yuko with a drop seoi-nage. Tchrikishvili was unable to score for the rest of the match but the overly defensive Schmitt had accumulated four shidos in the last two minutes. He got hansoku-make. It was Tchrikishvili who would be in the final.

Semifinal 2
The semi-final match between Pietri and Valois-Fortier was a largely tactical battle that was decided by penalties. At the end of the match, Pietri had one shido and Valois-Fortier had none. It was the Canadian who would be in the final.

Bronze 1
Pietri scored a waza-ari by countering a poor uchimata attack by Nagase and held on to the lead until the end. He had racked up three shidos but that didn’t matter. He had won the bronze.

Bronze 2
The Nifontov vs Schmitt fight for bronze was also determined by penalties with Schmitt incurring one shido while Nifontov had none. It was a Russian bronze.

With the first minute Tchrikishvili countered Valois-Fortier’s osoto-gari attempt with a big ura-nage that scored ippon but was lowered to waza-ari by the video judges. Valois-Fortier had plenty of time to either get a score back or cause Tchrikishvili to be passive and incur enough penalties to be disqualified, just as Tchrikishvili had done to Schmitt earlier. But the Canadian didn’t have it within him to do either and so the gold went to Georgia.

Women's -63kg

Pool A
France’s top hope Clarisse Agbegnenou had some difficulty in her first match, against Sweden’s Anna Bernholm and won by just a narrow yuko point while conceding two shidos. Her second match, against Wen Zhang of China, also went to full time but she managed to get two Yukos from counters against Zhang’s uchimata attempts. Her fight against Italy’s Edwidge Gwend was the third match to go to time and won by a yuko, from an ouchi-gari. Agbegnenou had had tough preliminary rounds but she was through to the semifinal.

Pool B
France’s second player Anne-Laure Bellard threw her first opponent, Spain’s Isabel Puche, three times with sumi-gaeshi. First for yuko, then for waza-ari and finally for ippon. For her second match, against Brazil’s Mariana Silva, she scored first with ouchi-gari for yuko then later in the match pinned her opponent for ippon. Against Austria’s Kathrin Unterwurzacher, she scored waza-ari in the opening seconds with a rolling uchimata that was done one-handed. Although Unterwurzacher later scored back with uchimata-sukashi, it was only awarded a yuko, so Bellard was through to the semifinal.

Pool C
Israel’s Yarden Gerbi is one of the biggest throwers in her category and she displayed her massive throwing skills in her first bout, against Portugal’s Ana Cachola, first launching her with a hip throw for waza-ari and then a textbook uchimata for ippon. She then smashed Cuba’s Maylin Del Toro Carvajal with a massive hip throw for ippon. In her quarterfinal match, against Slovenia’s Tina Trstenjak, she made her hip throw seem effortless as she whirled her opponent over for ippon.

Pool D
Japan’s newcomer Miku Tashiro won her first match, against Algeria’s Imene Agouar, through a strangle for ippon. She also relied on groundwork, a pin this time, to defeat her next opponent, South Korea’s Bak Jiyun. Her next match, against top seed Anicka Van Emden of the Netherlands, was a tough one that was scoreless at the end of time. However, in Golden Score, Tashiro managed to pull off a driving ouchi-gari that scored ippon. For her quarterfinal match, against Germany’s Martyna Trajdos, it was back to groundwork and she pinned the German for yet another ippon.

Semifinal 1
The first semifinal was an all-French affair. But unlike the non-fight that we saw when Mikhail Pulyaev met Kamal Khan-Magomedov in the semi-final of the -66kg division, this one was an all-out fight. Agbegnenou proved the more dominant, throwing Bellard with ashi-guruma for waza-ari and then pinning her for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Semifinal 2
Those hoping for a Gerbi vs Agbegnenou final were nearly disappointed when Tashiro scored with a very deep uchimata that scored waza-ari, although it could easily have been ippon. Ironically, Gerbi’s lease of life happened during a groundwork exchange. Tashiro was trying to turn Gerbi into a hold when she got countered and Gerbi ended up holding her instead. It would be a Gerbi vs Agbegnenou rematch after all, in the final.

Bronze 1
The first bronze medal was won by Tashiro who stuck to her newaza specialty and pinned Gwend for ippon.

Bronze 2
Trstenjak’s fight with Bellard was a tough one with the only score happening in the last minute when Slovenian unleased an incisive kouchi-gari that scored waza-ari.

    Agbegnenou gets her revenge against Gerbi

In their last world championship final in Rio, Agbegnenou was thrown by Gerbi who then proceeded to strangle her for ippon. This time around, it was Agbegnenou who would be doing the throwing. She opened up the accounts with a low koshi-guruma that scored yuko. Then she came in with a huge tsuri-goshi that scored ippon. She had gotten her revenge.