Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016 - Georgia DAY TWO

(Via IJF)

Super Saturday for hosts Georgia 

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

The Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016 saw Rio 2016 Olympic aspirations reignited and cast doubt upon for judoka in equal measure as the pressure and fascinating battle for the Games reached its most pivotal point thus far at the New Sports Palace on Saturday.

On day two of the third edition of the Tbilisi Grand Prix medallists were crowned in the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories and the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories as 136 judoka (54 women, 82 men) saw action with 48 judoka in the -81kg category expectedly being the biggest turn out of all 14 weight categories in the competition.

The Tbilisi Grand Prix will come to its conclusion on Sunday with the heavyweights as titans of the sport feature in every category. Home hopes will be focused on judoka such as -100kg newcomer Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) while visually impaired judoka Zviad GOGOTCHURI (GEO) will face the best fully sighted judoka the -90kg category has to offer having won this event in 2014. Former world champion Tiago CAMILO (BRA), Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist and Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, will compete in the -90kg category while Rio 2016 Olympic Games favourite Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) and 2013 world champion SOL Kyong (PRK) are among the major medal contenders in the -78kg category.

All-time legend Ilias ILIADIS (GRE) was among the animated observers on day two

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-63kg: Top seed UNTERWURZACHER beats battling Brit  

World number 10 Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) defeated three-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Gemma HOWELL (GBR) to celebrate -63kg gold in Tbilisi. Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist UNTERWURZACHER, 23, won gold in her very first competition of the 2016 campaign as the Austrian team look set to be a force to be reckoned with at Rio 2016. The career of London 2012 Olympian HOWELL, 25, from Wolverhampton, has stalled in recent years due to a run of recurrent injuries but the 2014 Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist revitalised her stock today by claiming a place in her first Grand Prix final. UNTERWURZACHER came from a yuko deficit in her first meeting against the British judoka to restore parity with a yuko of her own before trapping the Briton with a tate-shiho-gatame and HOWELL, who appeared to suffer a knee injury as she gingerly returned to her feet in the previous exchange, tapped out under insurmountable pressure from the Austrian.  

In the first semi HOWELL shocked Tashkent Grand Prix winner Edwige GWEND (ITA) as she took the lead with a yuko before securing her first Grand Prix final by holding down the Italian with a kesa-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon. In the second semi-final UNTERWURZACHER salvaged the contest with a stunning last-gasp rally against 2009 Moscow Grand Slam winner Marielle PRUVOST (FRA). UNTERWURZACHER led with a yuko before PRUVOST – who we will surely see a lot more of based on this performance – went in front with a waza-ari. The Austrian team are known for their character and UNTERWURZACHER narrowly took the contest with a waza-ari as the duo entered the last 10 seconds.    

The first bronze medal was won by GWEND against Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist BAK Jiyun (KOR). GWEND ensured Italy hit the medal trail on the second day as BAK could not impose herself in the contest and was penalised twice for passivity in a scoreless contest. The second bronze medal was claimed by the impressive PRUVOST who dismissed former European bronze medallist Marta LABAZINA (RUS) by pinning her for 17 seconds and waza-ari and after losing control of the hold down the Frenchwoman cleverly maneuvered into a juji-gatame to force her opponent to submit.        

UNTERWURZACHER, Kathrin (AUT) vs HOWELL, Gemma (GBR)                                                                                                                                                            
Bronze Medal Fights
GWEND, Edwige (ITA) vs BAK, Jiyun (KOR)        
PRUVOST, Marielle (FRA) vs LABAZINA, Marta (RUS)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Final Results 
1. UNTERWURZACHER, Kathrin (AUT)                          
2. HOWELL, Gemma (GBR)                                                                      
3. GWEND, Edwige (ITA)                                                   
3. PRUVOST, Marielle (FRA)       
5. BAK, Jiyun (KOR)                                  
5. LABAZINA, Marta (RUS)                              
7. SCHLESINGER, Alice (GBR)                              
7. VAN EMDEN, Anicka (NED)           


-70kg: World leader POLLING passes POSVITE for pole position in Tbilisi            

World number one Kim POLLING (NED) won gold for the first time since becoming European Games gold medallist last summer as she came from behind to beat world bronze medallist Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA). It was the French fighter who had the advantage with a yuko score but POSVITE - who is locked in a domestic battle against world champion Gevrise EMANE (FRA) - was thrown for ippon with exactly a minute remaining to extend her lead at the helm of the -70kg category. 

In the first semi-final Asian Championships winner TSEND AYUSH Naranjargal (MGL) fell to POSVITE by a waza-ari which came moments after both judoka were penalised for passivity. In the second semi-final POLLING (NED) defeated former world bronze medallist Katarzyna KLYS (POL) by the smallest margin possible as a shido against the Polish fighter was the only time the referee was called upon.  

The first bronze medal was claimed by African Championships silver medallist Assmaa NIANG (MAR) who threw TSEND AYUSH with a tomoe-nage for a yuko score to take the lead with 45 seconds left and spent the remainder of the time winding down the clock but her opponent was unable to take advantage. NIANG finished with three shidos to her name but also with the only score of the contest to secure the final position on the podium.

The second bronze medal contest was won by Junior European silver medallist Elisavet TELTSIDOU (GRE) who earned her first Grand Prix honours by defeating KLYS after just 50 seconds by ippon and was elated with the result. 
POLLING, Kim (NED) vs POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)                                                                                                                                                                                           
Bronze Medal Fights
TSEND AYUSH, Naranjargal (MGL) vs NIANG, Assmaa (MAR)                           
KLYS, Katarzyna (POL) vs TELTSIDOU, Elisavet (GRE)

Final Results
1. POLLING, Kim (NED)                                                       
2. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)                                
3. NIANG, Assmaa (MAR)                                                                                     
3. TELTSIDOU, Elisavet (GRE)
5. TSEND AYUSH, Naranjargal (MGL)                              
5. KLYS, Katarzyna (POL)                                                     
7. GERCSAK, Szabina (HUN)                                
7. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)                                                                                                                                                                             


-73kg: TATALASHVILI leads the race for Rio as hosts star

Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Nugzari TATALASHVILI (GEO) cemented his status as Georgia’s leading man at -73kg and could not settle for anything less than top spot as his teammates claimed both bronze medals. TATALASHVILI made a slow start in the final against Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist GANBAATAR Odbayar (MGL) as he was penalised for passivity in the first minute and again a minute later. The Georgian gradually warmed up and looked more threatening which saw him throw the Mongolian with an osoto-makikomi for waza-ari and followed up with osaekomi to trap his rival with a ushiro-yoko-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds and gold in Tbilisi. 

In the first semi-final Olympic champion Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) was usurped by GANBAATAR on shido penalties 1:2 after a frustrating contest for the home fighter who saw his teammate and challenger for a spot at Rio 2016, TATALASHVILI, defeat Prague European Open winner Georgios AZOIDIS (GRE) at the same stage. Both judoka were penalised for passivity before AZOIDIS was held accountable for having an overly defensive posture and then going out of the area. The exhausted Greek judoka was forced to put in an attack with three shidos already to his name and he failed with a tired uchi-mata attack which TATALASHVILI anticipated and held down his adversary for 20 seconds to move into the final.

The first bronze medal was won by SHAVDATUASHVILI as he bested former Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Marcelo CONTINI (BRA). After both judoka were penalised for passivity the crowd burst into full voice with chants of ‘Lasha’ who instantly responded as he picked up his opponent with a huge ura-nage for ippon. The 24-year-old’s gold backpatch has made him a scalp every judoka wishes to take in this cycle and he looks more and more comfortable wearing it but still has a lot of work to do to book his ticket to Rio 2016. The second bronze medal was won by former Sofia European Open bronze medallist Phridon GIGANI (GEO) who produced the first and only score of the contest in the final 12 seconds as he threw AZOIDIS with a huge hip technique before landing under his opponent and in osaekomi. However, AZOIDIS was running on empty and lost control of the hold after just one second as Georgia won their second -73kg bronze medal.  

TATALASHVILI, Nugzari (GEO) vs GANBAATAR, Odbayar (MGL)                                                          
Bronze Medal Fights
CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA) vs SHAVDATUASHVILI, Lasha (GEO)                             
AZOIDIS, Georgios (GRE) vs GIGANI, Phridon (GEO)                                                            

Final Results
1. TATALASHVILI, Nugzari (GEO)                                  
2. GANBAATAR, Odbayar (MGL)                                  
3. SHAVDATUASHVILI, Lasha (GEO)                                                                                          
3. GIGANI, Phridon (GEO)                              
5. CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA)  
5. AZOIDIS, Georgios (GRE)     
7. HONG, Kuk Hyon (PRK)                              
7. MACIAS, Tommy (SWE)                                                                                                                                         

-81kg: Rampant Russian KHUBETSOV retains Tbilisi Grand Prix title

Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS) successfully retained his Tbilisi Grand Prix title from 2015 as he beat former Junior world bronze medallist Levan GUGAVA (GEO) in the -81kg final to conclude an excellent display for the Russian. KHUBETSOV, 22, is behind judoka such as Olympic bronze medallist Ivan NIFONTOV (RUS) in the Russian pecking order but gave another great account of himself in Tbilisi as one of the best performers in this year’s event so far. The Russian took the lead with a yuko and threw one-handed for waza-ari which was immediately upgraded to ippon by the IJF Refereeing Commission.  

In the first semi-final GUGAVA defeated Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Roman MOUSTOPOULOS (GRE) as he scored a waza-ari from an uchi-mata which led to the Greek being penalised for passivity. Seconds later GUGAVA returned to uchi-mata to earn a second and match-winning waza-ari. In the second semi-final KHUBETSOV stormed past Qingdao Grand Prix medallist OTGONBAATAR Uuganbaatar (MGL) after 72 seconds by ippon as he looked on track to successfully defending his 2015 title. KHUBETSOV built a commanding advantage with a waza-ari from a morote-eri-seoi-nage before taking the contest with his second attempt at a yoko-otoshi.  

The first bronze medal was won by OTGONBAATAR who prevailed against Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Alexander WIECZERZAK (GER) as a shido against the German fighter for a gripping infringement decided the contest. OTGONBAATAR went the closest to scoring with a fine yoko-tomoe-nage attempt but he had still done enough for the result and a Mongolian medal. The second bronze medal was won by MOUSTOPOULOS who fought his way back to beat former Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (GEO). MOUSTOPOULOS was penalised twice but his home opponent was sapped of energy and picked up two shidos himself before being thrown with an uchi-mata for a waza-ari score. 
KHUBETSOV, Alan (RUS) vs GUGAVA, Levan (GEO)               
Bronze Medal Fights
OTGONBAATAR, Uuganbaatar (MGL) vs WIECZERZAK, Alexander (GER)                     
MOUSTOPOULOS, Roman (GRE) vs REKHVIASHVILI, Zebeda (GEO)                                           
Final Result
1. KHUBETSOV, Alan (RUS)                                                            
2. GUGAVA, Levan (GEO)                                              
3. OTGONBAATAR, Uuganbaatar (MGL)                                          
3. MOUSTOPOULOS, Roman (GRE)                                                        
5. WIECZERZAK, Alexander (GER)                     
5. REKHVIASHVILI, Zebeda (GEO)                                
7. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)             
7. KALKAMANULY, Aziz (KAZ)                             

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