Monday, December 15, 2014

Male players switching nationalities too

In my previous posting, I highlighted some female players who have switched nationalities. Fewer men seem to do this although it has happened before.

Elco van der Geest, the man who famously threw the great Kosei Inoue for ippon in the 2004 Sydney Olympics, used to compete for the Netherlands but later switched to Belgium.

 Yoshihiro Akiyama AKA Chu Seong-Hoon won the gold medal in the 2001 Asian Games for South Korea. By 2002, he was fighting for Japan and represented Japan in the 2003 Osaka World Championships.

Akiyama was controversial for his use of a slippery judogi. Many players in the 2003 Osaka World's complained his judogi was too slippery. Although he was not penalized he was eventually forced to used another judogi. It's worth noting that his main domestic rival, World and Olympic Champion Kenzo Nakamura, had earlier accused him of wearing a slippery judogi in that year's Japanese trials (where Nakamura lost). In the video of their match in the video clip below, you can see Nakamura complaining to the referee about the judogi, but to no avail.

Akiyama's tokui-waza seems to be his magic judogi

Later, when Akiyama switched to MMA, his opponent Kazushi Sakuraba in a 2006 match accused him of being slippery (using oil on his body, which is forbidden). Seems like this Akiyama is a rather slippery character!

Satoshi Ishii used to be a big name in judo. He was, after all, a gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He lost his shine in the world of judo when he switched to MMA. Some time back, he announced that he would like to represent the USA in judo in the 2016 Rio Olympics. We haven't heard much from him since then though. It's unlikely to happen.

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Updates
JudoInside informs me that Montenegro born Semir Pepic fought for Slovakia and then switched to Australia for the Olympics.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that practically the entire UAE team consists of imported players from Moldova. This includes Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenko, who won a bronze each at the 2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships. Their nationality switch is not without problems though. The UAE judo team was sent packing from the 2014 Asian Games because of issues relating to nationality requirements.

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