Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016 - Georgia DAY THREE

(Via IJF)

Dutch delight as they oust hosts for top spot 

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

The Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016 featured the heavyweights on the third and final day of competition in Georgia as the ippons flowed one last time at the New Sports Palace on Sunday.   

Georgia’s final day of IJF World Judo Tour action saw 129 judoka (43 women, 86 men) fight across the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories.

The Netherlands finished top of medal table with a brilliant third day performance as they won -78kg and -90kg gold in addition to -78kg silver and +100kg silver. The Dutch team led the way at the Tbilisi Grand Prix 2016 with three gold medals and two silver ahead of Georgia who won two gold and one silver while Brazil finished third with one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

Georgia’s hopes on the final day were pinned on stars such as World Judo Masters -90kg winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) who was the lightest and youngest judoka in the -100kg category having moved up to the heavier division in December.

GVINIASHVILI, 20, won his first international medals at -100kg at Pan American Open’s in Lima and Buenos Aires earlier this month, as he has needed to travel far and wide beyond IJF events having started with zero qualification points when he switched categories in December. GVINIASHVILI weighed 94kg at the weigh-in on Saturday night but what the youngster lacks in weight, he more than makes up for in with heart as he came away with a highly-deserved and highly-popular bronze medal.

Georgia's Visually impaired (VI) judoka Zviad GOGOTCHURI (blue judogi) was in action again in Tbilisi

Visually impaired (VI) judoka Zviad GOGOTCHURI (GEO) was also a contender for the hosts as he fought fully sighted judoka on Sunday. GOGOTCHURI, who has already qualified for the Paralympic Games, won the Tbilisi Grand Prix in its first year in 2014 and since then has made the switch to VI judo due to his vastly deteriorating vision. The IBSA World Games winner has still made a handful of appearances on the IJF World Judo Tour as visually impaired judoka are all eligible to compete on the tour providing they are members of their national team and earn selection.  

The 29-year-old, who is still ranked 71st on the IJF World Ranking List in the -90kg category, used the event as a key part of his Paralympic bid and gave a superb account of himself in front of his home crowd. The Georgian defeated Ibrahim KHALAF (JOR) by hansoku-make before registering a stunning upset win over Brazilian legend and former world champion as well as double Olympic medallist Tiago CAMILO in golden score. GOGOTCHURI came undone against Tbilisi-born Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) in the third round by ippon who then went on to win bronze. Junior ace SHERAZADISHVILI showed his maturity and immense respect for GOGOTCHURI with an honest and touching embrace.

The participation of VI judoka on the IJF World Judo Tour continues to reflect the sport’s motto of ‘Judo For All’ and the universality of the Olympic and Paralympic sport. The IJF has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) to jointly co-ordinate and continue to work on the development of judo worldwide.

The final day in Tbilisi was due to feature Greek all-time great Ilias ILIADIS (GRE) but the legendary fighter was ruled out of the -90kg category due to injury which was also the case for World Judo Masters -100kg winner Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) who was due to be the top seed.

The IJF World Judo Tour 2016 moves straight onto Turkey for the Samsun Grand Prix next week as 465 judoka will compete from 73 nations from Friday 1 – Sunday 3 April. The three-day competition is the final IJF event before April’s continental championships which will see the best of Europe, Oceania, Asia, Pan America and Africa fight for continental honours.   

Tbilisi Grand Prix -66kg bronze medallist Sinan SANDAL (TUR) equalled the best result of his career in Georgia which came as a timely lift going into his country’s leg of the IJF World Judo Tour next week.

“The bronze medal was good motivation for me before the Olympic Games and I understand what I need to work on now,” said SANDAL, who the Samsun Grand Prix has special significance for.  

“Samsun is my city. I was born there and grew up there. The atmosphere and energy will be higher than normal for me and I hope my result will be even better than bronze. I believe the Samsun Grand Prix will play a big part in helping me on my way to the Olympic Games.”

Watch #JudoSamsun2016 live and free from 1-3 April at


-78kg: VERKERK wins all-Dutch clash with Rio 2016 ramifications                

Former world champion Marhinde VERKERK (NED) took a giant step towards sealing a place at one more Olympic Games as she defeated Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) in a battle of the Netherlands’ best -78kg judoka. With the stakes so high and the rewards so great, a nail-biting contest ensued which saw the more experienced VERKERK emerge triumphant on shido penalties. STEENHUIS was penalised twice for passivity while VERKERK was only penalised once and that was for the same indiscretion as the contest finished scoreless but nevertheless with victory for VERKERK.   

In the first semi-final STEENHUIS (NED) defeated Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) in golden score. STEENHUIS was penalised for an overly defensive posture while POWELL was reprimanded for being passive. POWELL lacked any fluidity and struggled to stand upright before the golden score period started and STEENHUIS was clearly the fresher of the two which saw her take the contest by a yuko score. In the second semi-final London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) was upset by VERKERK who forced the Brazilian favourite to tap out with kansetsu-waza. 

The first bronze medal was won by AGUIAR who profited from the inaction of 36-year-old veteran Yahima RAMIREZ (POR). Brazilian AGUIAR came here for gold but bounced back from a disappointing semi-final defeat as RAMIREZ, who received 12 shidos during five fights, looked lacklustre and received four shidos and hansoku-make. AGUIAR is using such an events as a barometer to judge where she is physically and at least has areas to work on before the final Rio 2016 qualification events and her home Games.  

The second bronze medal contest was won by Grand Prix specialist POWELL who shaded world number 12 Madeleine MALONGA (FRA). The Welsh judoka was penalised twice for passivity in the early stages of the contest but increased her activity while MALONGA began to toil. POWELL rolled an ouchi-gari attack from the Frenchwoman who went over for a yuko for the 14th Grand Prix medal of her career which moves her ahead of Kayla HARRISON (USA) as the third most prolific medallist behind Germany’s Franziska KONITZ (15) and Luise MALZAHN (16).             
VERKERK, Marhinde (NED) vs STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)  

Bronze Medal Fights
AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA) vs RAMIREZ, Yahima (POR)                            
POWELL, Natalie (GBR) vs MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA)  

Final Results 
1. VERKERK, Marhinde (NED)                                       
2. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)                                    
3. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)  
3. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)                                                        
5. RAMIREZ, Yahima (POR)                                                                                   
5. MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA)                                                                   
7. CAMARA, Sama Hawa (FRA)                              
7. SOL, Kyong (PRK)                                                                                                                                       

+78kg: Second Grand Prix success for SAYIT  

Double world silver medallist Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN (BRA) was unable to take part in the +78kg final due to injury as Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Kayra SAYIT (TUR) finished on top of the podium. World number 26 SAYIT won her second Grand Prix gold wearing the Turkish badge after finishing first at the Budapest Grand Prix last summer. 

In the first semi-final ALTHEMAN took Paris Grand Slam silver medallist MA Sisi (CHN) off balance and down for a waza-ari score which was enough for a spot in the final while in the second semi-final SAYIT (TUR) beat Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR) by ippon.     
The first bronze medal was won by Casablanca African Open winner Maryna SLUTSKAYA (BLR) as she overpowered the passive IAROMKA on the ground by trapping her for 20 seconds in osaekomi with a kami-shiho-gatame hold. The winner earned her first Grand Prix medal since 2013 when she took the same silver at the Almaty Grand Prix.The second bronze medal was won by MA – her seventh at this level – in an uneventful contest against Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Emilie ANDEOL (FRA) as both judoka were lethargic and gave away shidos. ANDEOL was penalised for the fourth and final time for a false attack                                                  
ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA) vs SAYIT, Kayra (TUR)                                                    
Bronze Medal Fights
SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR) vs IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)                            
MA, Sisi (CHN) vs ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA)   

Final Results
1. SAYIT, Kayra (TUR)                                                           
2. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)  
3. SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR)                                                        
3. MA, Sisi (CHN)                 
5. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)                                                                                      
5. ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA)                                            
7. PAKENYTE, Santa (LTU)           
7. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)                                                                                               


-90kg: Flying Dutchman VAN T END delivers gold        

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Noel VAN T END (NED) had the measure of the dangerous Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner Marcus NYMAN (SWE) as he continued his country’s golden streak in Tbilisi. VAN T END scored a yuko and a waza-ari before NYMAN offered a purposeful attack but when he did the Dutchman was moving through the air from a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi but avoided giving away a score. VAN T END has a cool demeanour and kept active and alert as he maintained his advantage to take gold.  

In the first semi-final former Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Celio DIAS (POR) was beaten by the inspired NYMAN as he could not escape a hold down inside 20 seconds. In the second semi-final VAN T END emphatically defeated Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) as he scored three times without a reply. The Flying Dutchman led by a waza-ari before adding a yuko and then finally ippon after two minutes in a sharp display.
The first bronze medal was awarded to world number 22 DIAS who fought his way past Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Joakim DVARBY (SWE). World number 20 DVARBY had won both their previous meetings but DIAS pulled one back in their head-to-head series as he scored a waza-ari with an ippon-seoi-nage after one minute and moved into the osaekomi but the Swede escaped from the kuzure-kesa-gatame hold. With two minutes left DIAS struck again with a drop morote-seoi-nage for his second waza-ari.

The second bronze medal went to 20-year-old Junior world silver medallist SHERAZADISHVILI who was a strong performer all day long and got his just rewards in front of a crowd who more than appreciated his Georgian roots. SHERAZADISHVILI won the first Grand Prix medal of his burgeoning career against Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS) and started by taking the lead with a yuko as he collapsed a drop-seoi-nage attempt to drive over the Russian for the smallest score. MAGOMEDOV was twice penalised for a cross-grip as he was unwilling to attack and then got caught for a waza-ari by the Spaniard who held down his opponent for 15 seconds and a fine bronze medal.

SHERAZADISHVILI, who was born in Tbilisi and started judo here aged 8, said: “This is my first Grand Prix medal and it means everything to me. I’ve done a lot of senior competitions now but this is my first medal at this level. Fighting in Georgia for the first time for me as a Spanish international was very special for me and I can’t thank the crowd enough for their support. I am so happy, I will never forget this day.”
VAN T END, Noel (NED) vs NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)                                                         
Bronze Medal Fights
DIAS, Celio (POR) vs DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)                               
MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS) vs SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP)           

Final Results
1. VAN T END, Noel (NED)                                    
2. NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)                                                              
3. DIAS, Celio (POR)     
3. SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP)                        
5. DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)                                
5. MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)                      
7. RANDL, Milan (SVK)                             
7. GERASIMENKO, Dmitri (SRB)                                                                                                                                                                   

-100kg: Perfect record for Swede PACEK in Tbilisi      

Tyumen Grand Slam winner Martin PACEK (SWE) won all four of his contests by ippon including the final against Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Javad MAHJOUB (IRI) to capture -100kg gold. PACEK was able to beat MAHJOUB for the first time by ippon from an uchi-mata with 27 seconds left on the clock. 

In the first semi-final Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) came up short against PACEK who had a waza-ari advantage before scoring ippon with 11 seconds left from a makikomi effort. In the second semi-final Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Javad MAHJOUB (IRI) defeated Domenico DI GUIDA (ITA) on shido penalties 1:2 in a scoreless bout.

The first bronze medal was won by GVINIASHVILI as he produced the best result of his brief -100kg career by throwing Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Soyib KURBONOV (UZB) with a photogenic and enormous ura-nage for ippon. GVINIASHVILI put the crowd through every possible emotion during a gripping challenge all day long and they jumped out of their seats when KURBONOV landed for the maximum score for their compatriot. The second bronze medal was won by FONSECA who beat Casablanca African Open silver medallist Domenico DI GUIDA (ITA). FONSECA has the tools to trouble anyone in his category and has proven that this year by placing at all three of his IJF events. The 23-year-old took control with a yuko and added a waza-ari from which DI GUIDA could not fight back and the overmatched Italian accrued three penalties as he struggled to get to grips with his opponent.          
MAHJOUB, Javad (IRI) vs PACEK, Martin (SWE)                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Bronze Medal Fights
KURBONOV, Soyib (UZB) vs GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO)                    
DI GUIDA, Domenico (ITA) vs FONSECA, Jorge (POR)        

Final Result
1. PACEK, Martin (SWE)                                                                                      
2. MAHJOUB, Javad (IRI)                                  
3. GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO)                                                                  
3. FONSECA, Jorge (POR)                         
5. KURBONOV, Soyib (UZB)                                               
5. DI GUIDA, Domenico (ITA)          
7. TAVELURI, Lasha (GEO)                                
7. FLETCHER, Benjamin (GBR)                                                                                                                                                     

+100kg: Grand Prix glory belongs to SASSON for Israel           

Paris Grand Slam runner-up Or SASSON (ISR) won the spoils for Israel as he earned his maiden Grand Prix title with a victory over Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Roy MEYER (NED) in the +100kg final. SASSON led their head-to-head series 3-1 going into the contest and extended it today with a yuko before both judoka exchanged shido penalties. SASSON and MEYER have established themselves among Europe’s elite and will be full of confidence going into next month’s European Championships. 

In the first semi-final MEYER thwarted Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Aslan KAMBIEV (RUS) as the latter was penalised twice for passivity which settled the scoreless contest.In the second semi-final Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) fell to SASSON after 22 seconds by a thunderous ippon-seoi-nage which booked a place in the final.

The first bronze medal went to Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Maciej SARNACKI (POL) as VOLKOV could not compete due to injury. The second bronze medal went to London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Rafael SILVA (BRA) after an insipid display from KAMBIEV who received four shidos after only two minutes.                                                                                      
SASSON, Or (ISR) vs MEYER, Roy (NED)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Bronze Medal Fights
VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS) vs SARNACKI, Maciej (POL)               
KAMBIEV, Aslan (RUS) vs SILVA, Rafael (BRA)             

Final Result
1. SASSON, Or (ISR)    
2. MEYER, Roy (NED)                                 
3. SARNACKI, Maciej (POL)                                                                            
3. SILVA, Rafael (BRA)                                                                               .                                              
5. VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)                                                            
5. KAMBIEV, Aslan (RUS)                                  
7. GORDIIENKO, Oleksandr (UKR)                     
7. KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ)                                  

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