Friday, March 25, 2016

Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016 - Georgia DAY ONE

(Via IJF)

New Georgian maestro takes gold but day one belongs to Italy  

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

The Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016, the third Grand Prix of this year’s IJF World Judo Tour, produced an exciting day of world-class action across the five lightest weight categories at the New Sports Palace.

The 2016 Olympic season opened with January’s Havana Grand Prix before the Paris Grand Slam and Dusseldorf Grand Prix in February. The race for Rio 2016 Olympic qualification has reached fever pitch with the tour moving on to Turkey next week before April’s continental championships.   

On day one in Georgia, which has staged an annual marquee IJF World Judo Tour event since 2014, the action opened with the women’s -48kg, -52kg and -57kg categories and the men’s -60kg and -66kg categories.  

The opening ceremony was held prior to the final block on the opening day as the innumerable audience turned their attention to the podium for the first time at the Tbilisi Grand Prix.

Mr. David KEVKHISHVILI (left), Georgian Judo Federation President, made the welcoming address on behalf of the hosts.

“Dear guests, participants and spectators, I welcome you all here to the Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016. We are very proud to host the third edition of this event and of course would like to thank the IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER. Also, thank you to our supporters, the Georgian government, our sponsors and all judo fans.”  

Mr. Tariel KHECHIKASHVILI (above - centre), Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs for Georgia, said: “Dear Presidents, honourable guests, guests from the IJF, welcome to Tbilisi. We are honoured and delighted to host this competition in Georgia. I hope you remember this competition long into the future as one of the best in this fantastic sport. Good luck to you all.”

Mr. Vladimir BARTA (above - right), IJF Head Sports Director, who presented the IJF Gold Plaque to Mr. Tariel KHECHIKASHVILI, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs for Georgia, said: “Dear Mr. President, Mr. Minister, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here in Georgia for the third edition of the Tbilisi Grand Prix.

“We are pleased to be in a new venue this year, the New Sports Palace, which is a fantastic setting for such an important Olympic qualification event. 393 judoka are competing here from 67 nations and this is a special occasion for all Georgian judoka who are integral members of the judo family.

“On behalf of the IJF President Marius VIZER I would like to thank the Georgian Judo Federation, the Georgian Ministry and all of the Georgian judo supporters for supporting the IJF World Judo Tour and the development of judo. I wish everyone good luck and I hope all of our passionate spectators enjoy the competition. I declare the competition officially open.”

On Saturday the action in Tbilisi continues on the three tatami with four weight categories competing as the women’s -63kg and -70kg judoka will be competing alongside the men’s -73kg and -81kg judoka. Georgia’s Olympic champion Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) will be among the stars on show for the hosts. 

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-48kg: Unbeaten UNGUREANU rediscovers winning touch for Romania 

Baku Grand Slam winner Monica UNGUREANU (ROU) was a convincing winner in the -48kg final as she scored on four occasions to defeat three-time African champion Taciana LIMA-BALDE (GBS). World number 11 LIMA-BALDE and world number 13 UNGUREANU looked well-matched heading into the contest but it was the Romanian who controlled the one-sided contest. UNGUREANU led from a left-sided uchi-mata on the edge of the area and was aware of the significant ashi-waza threat posed by her opponent. The Romanian added a second yuko and then a third from holding down a struggling LIMA-BALDE for 14 seconds before ending the contest by throwing her opponent with a big hip technique for the maximum score.   

In the first semi-final Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Irina DOLGOVA (RUS) suffered a shoulder half way through her contest against UNGUREANU and had to concede the contest. In the second semi-final Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist Ebru SAHIN (TUR) was beaten by three-time African champion Taciana LIMA-BALDE (GBS) who utilised her favoured ouchi-gari – as one of the tallest judoka in the category – before adding a second waza-ari to win by by waza-ari-awasette-ippon. 

The first bronze medal contest was won by Paris Grand Slam winner Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) who denied SAHIN in golden score. GALBADRAKH has been in sensational form in 2016 and won her third IJF World Judo Tour medal in a row by throwing her Turkish opponent with a gigantic ura-nage for ippon after 42 seconds of added time. The second bronze medal was won by defending Tbilisi Grand Prix gold medallist Maryna CHERNIAK (UKR) as world number four DOLGOVA could not compete due to injury.       
LIMA-BALDE, Taciana (GBS) vs UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)      
Bronze Medal Fights
SAHIN, Ebru (TUR) vs GALBADRAKH, Otgontsetseg (KAZ)                               
DOLGOVA, Irina (RUS) vs CHERNIAK, Maryna (UKR)         

Final Results
1. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)                                         
2. LIMA-BALDE, Taciana (GBS)                              
3. GALBADRAKH, Otgontsetseg (KAZ)                                                                              
3. CHERNIAK, Maryna (UKR)                             
5. SAHIN, Ebru (TUR)  
5. DOLGOVA, Irina (RUS)                     
7. MOSCATT, Valentina (ITA)                            
7. PERSIDSKAIA, Mariia (RUS)                                                                                          

-52kg: Italian young gun GIUFFRIDA wins for Italy         

World Judo Masters bronze medallist Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA) has unlimited potential on the world stage and the confident Italian won her second competition in a row as she defeated Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Gili COHEN (ISR). GIUFFRIDA, 21, who won the Rome European Open in February, was penalised for passivity before COHEN was penalised for a false attack and neither judoka could register a score after four minutes. A further 55 seconds were required to separate the judoka as GIUFFRIDA scored ippon from a textbook ippon seoi-nage. The win clearly meant everything to the young Italian who passionately sung her national anthem as she watched the Italian flag being raised the highest on the opposite side of the venue. 

In the first semi-final Junior world silver medallist Mariam JANASHVILI (GEO) gave a valiant effort before the class and experience of COHEN told as the latter wrapped up a victory with a beautiful ko-uchi-gari for her second and match-winning waza-ari. In the second semi-final world number 10 Gulbadam BABAMURATOVA (TKM) narrowly lost out to GIUFFRIDA (ITA) by the smallest possible margin as the Turkmenistan judoka lost out by a single shido as both judoka finished with a yuko on the scorebard.

The first bronze medal was clinched by three-time world medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA) - who was incredibly upstaged by homegrown starlet JANASHVILI in the quarter-finals – defeated Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist BABAMURATOVA by a yuko. The second bronze medal was won by former Asian Championships bronze medallist KIM Mi-Ri (KOR) who defeated JANASHVILI for the final place on the medal podium. KIM was penalised with a shido for a gripping infringement before JANASHVILI took the lead with a yuko from an incredible ura-nage which appeared almost in slow motion as the game Georgian summoned every ounce of energy to lift her opponent through the air. The South Korean responded with a waza-ari and sat on that lead to earn her first IJF Grand Prix medal and was ecstatic after being officially awarded the contest. 
GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA) vs COHEN, Gili (ISR)                                                                 

Bronze Medal Fights
BABAMURATOVA, Gulbadam (TKM) vs MIRANDA, Erika (BRA)                         
JANASHVILI, Mariam (GEO) vs KIM, Mi-Ri (KOR)                              

Final Results
1. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)                                       
2. COHEN, Gili (ISR)                                       
3. MIRANDA, Erika (BRA)                                                     
3. KIM, Mi-Ri (KOR)                                     
5. BABAMURATOVA, Gulbadam (TKM)                                   
5. JANASHVILI, Mariam (GEO)  
7. ADIYASAMBUU, Tsolmon (MGL)            
7. PIENKOWSKA, Karolina (POL)                                                                                                                                        

-57kg: From Rio favela to Rio 2016 tilt for Silva 

Brazil’s first female world judo champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA) is back to her best after pitching a 100% record at the Tbilisi Grand Prix. The 23-year-old SILVA won all four of her contests by ippon and saved her best score for the final as she caught Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Nora GJAKOVA (IJF) by surprise with a mesmerising flying juji-gatame with 90 seconds left for gold. Brazil’s Rio 2016 hope, who comes from Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil and came through the special academy of Flavio CANTO known as Instituto Reacao, beat Olympic and world champion MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN) with the same technique at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December. 

In the first semi-final former Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist Jovana ROGIC (SRB) fell to 2013 world champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA) in osaekomi for 20 seconds while in the second semi-final Olympic bronze medallist Automne PAVIA (FRA) was undone by Nora GJAKOVA (IJF) who scored a yuko with one second left to seal a place in the final.

The first bronze medal was won by former world bronze medallist Miryam ROPER (GER) against familiar foe PAVIA who had three shidos to her name after just two minutes. The French fighter was forced to go on the attack to avoid conceding a fourth penalty and missed with an uchi-mata as ROPER countered for the maximum score with 55 seconds left. The second bronze medal was won by Havana Grand Prix silver medallist KARAKAS Hedvig (HUN) who had to grind out a win in added time against ROGIC. The scoreless contest was even after four minutes with a shido apiece but KARAKAS had plenty in reserve and ended the contest with a seoi-otoshi earning ippon after 21 seconds of extra time.           
GJAKOVA, Nora (IJF) vs SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)                                                                           
Bronze Medal Fights
PAVIA, Automne (FRA) vs ROPER, Miryam (GER)
ROGIC, Jovana (SRB) vs KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)               

Final Results 
1. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)                                               
2. GJAKOVA, Nora (IJF)  
3. ROPER, Miryam (GER)                            
3. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)                                                             
5. PAVIA, Automne (FRA)                                                      
5. ROGIC, Jovana (SRB)                                                  
7. CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU)                             
7. COBAN, Sappho (GER)                                                                                 


-60kg: UROZBOEV unmatched for Uzbekistan in Grand Prix breakthrough

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Diyorbek UROZBOEV (UZB) navigated his way through to a star-packed category to win his maiden Grand Prix title. World number 17 UROZBOEV defeated Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) in the -60kg final. UROZBOEV was penalised with a shido for dropping but that failed to impact the contest as he scored a waza-ari with a modified kata-guruma and added a second waza-ari to take gold. 

In the first semi-final Bekir OZLU (TUR) was beaten by DASHDAVAA by ippon with 27 seconds left on the clock while in the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Otar BESTAEV (KGZ) lost by the same margin to UROZBOEV with 90 seconds remaining.

The first bronze medal was claimed by former world champion GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL) whose best judo was too good for BESTAEV as he won by ippon with 90 seconds left in the contest. GANBAT countered an uchi-mata attempt to drive over his opponent for an emphatic score and was cool and collected with no emotion knowing that this result is the minimum of what he should be achieving on the Grand Prix stage. The second bronze medal went to former European champion Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) who won his country’s first medal of the competition by defeating Georgian-born OZLU. PAPINASHVILI thought he did enough for a score and the referee awarded a yuko but the IJF Referee Commission had the benefit of multiple angles when reviewing the decision and cancelled the yuko. The Georgian finally went ahead with a neat piece of ashi-waza before being penalised for going out and then passivity. OZLU needed to chase down PAPINASHVILI in the closing seconds and got caught on the ground as he had so submit to a strangle. 
UROZBOEV, Diyorbek (UZB) vs DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)                                                                                                                        
Bronze Medal Fights
BESTAEV, Otar (KGZ) vs GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL)                             

Final Results
1. UROZBOEV, Diyorbek (UZB)                              
2. DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)                                              
3. GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL)                                                                   
3. PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO)             
5. BESTAEV, Otar (KGZ)  
5. OZLU, Bekir (TUR)          
7. TAKABATAKE, Eric (BRA)                         
7. GERCHEV, Yanislav (BUL)                                                                                                                                                                                                       

-66kg: Marvel MARGVELASHVILI provides Georgian gold  

Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) was a cut above the opposition in the -66kg category as he won four of his five fights by ippon to tantalise and delight the home fans. MARGVELASHVILI, 22, sealed his first IJF gold medal in a dream result as he defeated gritty Glasgow European Open bronze medallist Fabio BASILE (ITA) with a ko-soto-gake earning waza-ari with a minute left on the clock and the result was never in doubt.                     

In the first semi-final MARGVELASHVILI swept past Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Tal FLICKER (ISR) by waza-ari-awasette-ippon before BASILE (ITA) progressed at the expense of Yeldos ZHUMAKANOV (KAZ) by ippon.

The first bronze medal was won by Lima Pan American Open bronze medallist Sinan SANDAL (TUR) who defeated ZHUMAKANOV as his waza-ari saw him past a a yuko offered up by the Kazakh. SANDAL now heads into his home event next week in Samsun full of confidence and will be one of the judoka to beat in the -66kg category.The second bronze medal went to Budapest Grand Prix winner Zhansay SMAGULOV (KAZ) who struck with 50 seconds remaining as he executed a sumptuous spinning uchi-mata for ippon as FLICKER had to settle for fifth-place.    

BASILE, Fabio (ITA) vs MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO)                                                                 
Bronze Medal Fights
ZHUMAKANOV, Yeldos (KAZ) vs SANDAL, Sinan (TUR)                              
FLICKER, Tal (ISR) vs SMAGULOV, Zhansay (KAZ)         
Final Result
1. MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO)                                                        
2. BASILE, Fabio (ITA)                              
3. SANDAL, Sinan (TUR)                                                               
3. SMAGULOV, Zhansay (KAZ)                                                    
5. ZHUMAKANOV, Yeldos (KAZ)                                        
5. FLICKER, Tal (ISR)                              
7. ZAGRODNIK, Pawel (POL)                           
7. OLEINIC, Sergiu (POR)                             

10:30 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

10:30 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

Location: New Sports Palace 

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