Sunday, November 22, 2015

Qingdao Grand Prix 2015 - DAY 3

(Via IJF)

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

The remaining give weight categories of the Qingdao Judo Grand Prix 2015, China, were decided on Sunday as the men’s -90kg, -100kg and -100kg categories and the women’s -78kg and +78kg judoka engrossed supporters in the competition.  

Olympic champions Teddy RINER (FRA) and Kayla HARRISON (USA) gave an indication of the firepower in action on the last day in Qingdao. As two of the biggest names and most consistent male and female judoka in the sport, RINER and HARRISON are both in pole position to retain their Olympic titles next year at Rio 2016. The two judo titans were out to battle the best Qingdao had to offer and to try and outperform the top judoka from day one and day two pacesetters Japan. Record-breaking eight-time world champion RINER and World Judo Masters winner HARRISON both move on to South Korea next week for the final Grand Prix of the season in Jeju from 26 – 28 November.

The three days of competition offered some incredible judo and showed who are the strongest athletes of the moment. But the way to Rio is still long and many points will be distributed until the end of the Olympic qualification process (May 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico). If the top competitors in the world are not really worried about their qualification, they remain focussed on every tournament as being among the top eight will have a crucial importance the day of the official draw of the Olympics. For all the other athletes who have the Olympic dream, every point will count within a few months.
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-78kg: HAMADA Imitates NAGASAKI and Defeats World Champions

The -78kg weight category is always one of the most eagerly-awaited categories at IJF events, as the number of world and Olympic medallists present is always impressive. This was again the case in Qingdao this weekend. Thus Kayla Harrison was definitely looking for a revival after her early defeat in Paris in October, but in the quarter-final, her golden hopes were ended by HAMADA Shori, only bronze medallist in Tyumen last summer, who after a superb piece of ground work, immobilised the former world and current Olympic champion. In the final, the Japanese, who was definitely not among the favourites at the start of the competition in Qingdao, was opposed to the second top seeded athlete of the women’s -78kg, Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA), the 2011 world champion.

TCHEUMEO as usual started her final on a high rhythm, giving no opportunities to HAMADA to even put her hands on her judogi. Nothing seemed to be able to stop the French powerhouse. But this was not the idea of HAMADA who during the first ground work, literally jumped on TCHEUMEO’s collar to apply a shime-waza for an immediate ippon.

The first bronze medal fight took place between two former world champions, Kayla HARRISON (USA - 2010) and SOL Kyong (PRK - 2013), who after a little more than two minutes had already two penalties written against her name on the scoreboard for passivity. This was enough for Harrison to win the bronze, for sure not what she came to China for, but with some more experience and fights before the Rio Olympic Games, where she expects to retain her title. But obviously all opposition has raised their level since the last Olympic Games. The challenge is still feasible though.

In the second bronze medal contest, the London 2012 silver medallist Gemma GIBBONS (GBR) was opposed to Alena KACHOROVSKAYA (RUS). The British fighter scored the first yuko after a major mistake of KACHOROVSKAYA, who she caught with an immobilisation. But the Russian escaped for a second chance. Apparently totally exhausted after a long competition day, GIBBONS had to use all her experience at the top level to keep her advantage and add one more line to her well-stocked prize list.

HAMADA, Shori (JPN) vs. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)

Bronze Medal Fights
HARRISON, Kayla (USA) vs. SOL, Kyong (PRK)

Final Results
1. HAMADA, Shori (JPN)
2. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)
3. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)
3. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
5. SOL, Kyong (PRK)
7. DMITRIEVA, Anastasiya (RUS)
7. TALARN, Laia (ESP)

+78kg: YU Song Confirms on Home Soil

The awaited final took place in Qingdao, as world number one and two, both from China, met to determine the leadership over the category. Current world champion, born in Qingdao, YU Song was opposed to her teammate MA Sisi, who regularly opposes her teammate in international competition. The world number one had difficult moments in the preliminary rounds as she only won against Gulzhan ISSANOVA (KAZ) by penalty and KIM Jiyoun (KOR), before being close to being defeated by the second Korean KIM Minjeong in semi-final. In the other half of the draw, MA Sisi had a much easier tournament. With the public attending in great numbers today, it was largely in hope of seeing this final and to see who really has the supremacy over the category.

Just before halfway mark of the fight, YU Song took a little advantage as Ma Sisi was penalised with a first shido. This difference of penalty was enough to give the victory to YU Song who confirmed her world number one position, especially since the current Olympic champion, Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) was defeated during the preliminary rounds.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR) and Belkis Zehra KAYA (TUR). After a little more than one minute, IAROMKA launched a first soto-makikomi for yuko immediately followed with an immobilisation for ippon.

Santa PAKENYTE (LTU) and KIM Minjeong (KOR) fought for the second +78kg bronze medal to be awarded in Qingdao. The four minutes of the regular time were not enough to decide the winner between the two athletes as one shido was given on both sides. It was time for golden score and a superb uchi-mata from KIM to score a waza-ari and put an end to the bout.

YU, Song (CHN) vs. MA, Sisi (CHN)

Bronze Medal Fights
IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR) vs. KAYA, Belkis Zehra (TUR)
PAKENYTE, Santa (LTU) vs. KIM, Minjeong (KOR)

Final Results
1. YU, Song (CHN)
2. MA, Sisi (CHN)
3. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)
3. KIM, Minjeong (KOR)
5. KAYA, Belkis Zehra (TUR)
5. PAKENYTE, Santa (LTU)
7. KIM, Jiyoun (KOR)
7. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)


-90kg:  NAGASAWA Outperforms the 2013 World Champion

What is always impressive with Japan, the motherland of judo, is that they always come with new names, who suddenly show beautiful judo. It was again the case today, with a newcomer, NAGASAWA Kenta, taking into account that his best result so far on the international scene was a fifth- place on the occasion of the Tokyo Grand Slam last year. In the final he was opposed to a more well-known athlete as it was the 2013 world champion Asley GONZALES (CUB) who joined him to fight for gold. Both athletes were rapidly penalised for passivity and then the Cuban received a second penalty after he again blocked his opponent. But when NAGASAWA was again penalised for the same mistake, a few seconds were left, too short to make the difference. Obviously neither of the two finalists wanted to be eliminated on a penalty, so this moved the contest into golden score where the best attacks were delivered from both sides. But GONZALES seemed to be more tired than his younger opponent, who awaited the smallest and only mistake from the 2013 world champion, to take the advantage to throw him for waza-ari with a tai-otoshi technique.

The first bronze medal fight saw the two French representatives, Axel CLERGET (FRA) and Alexandre IDDIR (FRA), stepping on the mat to decide between them, who will get the most points for the Olympic qualification, in a category in France, which is not determined yet. Nevertheless with his 10th position on the World Ranking List, IDDIR seems to have a small advantage over his teammate CLERGET, who signs a comeback at his best level after several months of injury. IDDIR scored the first with a superb drop seoi-nage for waza-ari. Taking risks, CLERGET exposed himself to the precise attacks of IDDIR and was again thrown for waza-ari with a right handed seoi-nage.

The second bronze medal match opposed Ramin GURBANOV (AZE), who once stepped on an international podium last year in Jeju, and the bronze medallist of last year’s world championships, Kirill VOPROSOV (RUS). The Russian received the first penalty for passivity after a little more than one minute. After one minute and 54 seconds, GURBANOV pushed VOPROSOV to the edge and counterattacked a weak attempt of ko-uchi-gari, with a powerful ura-nage for ippon.


Bronze Medal Fights
CLERGET, Axel (FRA) vs. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)
GURBANOV, Ramin (AZE) vs. VOPROSOV, Kirill (RUS)

Final Results
1. NAGASAWA, Kenta (JPN)
2. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)
3. GURBANOV, Ramin (AZE)
3. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)
5. CLERGET, Axel (FRA)
5. VOPROSOV, Kirill (RUS)
7. BURNS, Andrew (GBR)

-100kg:  Experienced NAIDAN Back on the Top in China

The final of the men’s -100kg opposed two veterans of the world circuit as the 2009 world champion, Maxim RAKOV (KAZ), was opposed to the Mongolian legend, NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar (MGL), who is still considered as a national hero in his home country, as he helped to bring back peace in Mongolia after his Olympic title in Beijing 2008. After two minutes, RAKOV was penalised a first time for passivity and again a bit later as NAIDAN was always on the move. 20 seconds before the final gong, it was the turn of the Mongolian to be penalised for passivity, but the shido difference finally offered the victory to NAIDAN.

The first bronze medal fight saw Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) and Karl-Richard FREY (GER) fighting for a precious place on the podium. World number two and top seeded competitor here in Qingdao, GASIMOV, the winner of the World Masters this year in Morocco was defeated by his teammate and former world champion, Elkhan MAMMADOV, in the quarter-final (Mammadov then losing to Rakov in semi-final). Karl-Richard FREY (GER), world silver medallist last summer in Astana was definitely hoping for more today, but the experience of NAIDAN in the semi-final stopped him on his way to the gold. But for sure FREY won’t really be satisfied tonight even if he will get much more points than the London bronze medallist Dimitri PETERS (GER) as the two teammates are engaged into a fierce battle to determine who will go to Rio next summer. In the bronze medal fight, GASIMOV scored first with a counterattack for yuko and again a bit later but this time for waza-ari, giving no change to FREY to step on the podium.

The second bronze medal fight opposed Artem BLOSHENKO (UKR) and Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE). Requiring the intervention of the doctor twice for minor injuries, the fight took a little more time than usual but ended it with the victory of MAMMADOV, who scored an almost perfect sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, but BLOSHENKO landed on the side for only waza-ari.

RAKOV, Maxim (KAZ) vs. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)

Bronze Medal Fights
GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE) vs. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)

Final Results
1. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)
2. RAKOV, Maxim (KAZ)
3. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
3. MAMMADOV, Elkhan (AZE)
5. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)
7. KORREL, Michael (NED)
7. KUMRIC, Zlatko (CRO)

+100kg: Unchallenged Riner Wins in Qingdao

In the men’s heavyweight of course all the focus was on the eight-time world champion, Teddy Riner. Still undefeated since 2010, the French colossus seems to fight on another planet and most of his contenders tried not to be thrown for ippon rather than to really to challenge today’s judo legend.

In the final, he was opposed to KIM Sung-Min, who had never won against Riner but who is one of his most well-known opponents. After 45 seconds KIM totally dominated by the strong grip of RINER, was penalised a first time for passivity and again 30 seconds later. A third shido was given to the Korean before the French was able to really apply a first sumi-gaeshi technique but for no score. Outrageously dominating, it did not take long for the fourth penalty to be given to KIM, offering the victory to RINER, who remains totally unchallenged.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Oleksandr GORDIIENKO (UKR), silver medallist in Budapest last June, and ABDULOV Aituar (KAZ), who was not among the favourites of the competition this morning. After a little less than two minutes, GORDIIENKO, much taller than his opponent, launched a huge uchi-mata, for yuko. The Ukrainian confirmed his advantage a little later with exactly the same technique for the same result. The third attempt was a good one as GORDIIENKO scored ippon again with uchi-mata.

The second bronze medal saw UEDA Katsuma (JPN) and Sven HEINLE (GER) opposed for the last position of the podium. UEDA scored the first waza-ari with a soto-makikomi technique, which he immediately followed with an immobilisation, but HEINLE showed effort to escape from the hold, before the 10 seconds synonymous of a minimum of yuko. Despite a few penalties, the score remained unchanged and UEDA added another medal to the Japanese basket already pretty full in Qingdao.

RINER, Teddy (FRA) vs. KIM, Sung-Min (KOR)

Bronze Medal Fights
GORDIIENKO, Oleksandr (UKR) vs. ABDULOV, Aituar (KAZ)
UEDA, Katsuma (JPN) vs. HEINLE, Sven (GER)

Final Results
1. RINER, Teddy (FRA)
2. KIM, Sung-Min (KOR)
3. GORDIIENKO, Oleksandr (UKR)
3. UEDA, Katsuma (JPN)
5. ABDULOV, Aituar (KAZ)
5. HEINLE, Sven (GER)

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