Saturday, April 2, 2016

Samsun Grand Prix 2016 - Turkey DAY TWO


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

After a particularly successful first day yesterday, the Samsun Grand Prix continued today with four more categories: Women’s -63kg and -70kg and Men’s -73kg and -81kg. One of the noticeable aspect of today’s competition is the fact that many young athletes were able to enter the final block of the event, some of them disputing the first Grand Prix final of their young career. This was the case for instance in the -73kg were both, the former double U23 European Champion, Damian Szwarnowiecki of Poland and the North Korean KIM Chol-Gwang, were newcomers at this level. Other experienced competitors had more difficulties to go through the preliminary rounds and being among the top seeded athletes was not a guarantee to win a medal in Samsun.

The Most Progress

The IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer, was present today in Samsun for this second day of competition. Just prior to the final block he was warmly welcomed by a delegation of the Turkish Judo Federation led by President Fatih Uysal, in the presence of several Turkish Authorities. Mr. Vizer also had the chance to meet one of the former presidents of the Turkish Judo Federation, Mr. Ibrahim Oztek, and exchanged presents with him. At the end of the day, Mr. Vizer declared: “I was really happy to be here. The organizing committee did a great job in staging this event, and the Turkish Judo Federation is probably one of the federations which made the most progress in organizing such an event. Efforts still need to be done to attract more people to the judo, to have a public totally in accordance with the high standard of the Grand Prix.“

The IJF President (fifth from the right) together with the Turkish delegation

A Raising Interest

After two days of competition, Mr. Vladimir Barta, the IJF Head Sport Director, explained why the Samsun Grand Prix is so interesting at this period of the Olympic qualification: “First of all, we are all happy about the good atmosphere that we had during those first two days. Of course this is due to the very good performance of the Turkish athletes, but generally speaking all athletes produced a good performance. It’s also very interesting to follow as we are step by step reaching the end of the Olympic qualification period. Many very good athletes are here to gain some precious points and are still struggling to get their ticket to go to Rio. But still, not all of them will be able to go to Brazil. So every fight is interesting and the tension is palpable, which definitely raises the interest of the Grand Prix. For some athletes, who performed here in Turkey, still everything can change in the next event. At the same time, we have top level competitors, whose qualification is almost guaranteed, and who participate in those events to secure their seeding in the Olympic draw. For all those reasons, the Samsun Grand Prix and the upcoming events are very interesting and that's also the reason why they attracts so many athletes and delegations.“

From Puerto Rico to Samsun, a True Success for the Academy

Jessica Garcia is a 35 years old dynamic young lady, who comes from Puerto Rico (PUR) and who obviously showed a big smile here in Samsun. In fact, last week she successfully finished the first level of the IJF Academy course that was held for the very first time in Mexico (read more). This weekend she is in Samsun to coach Melissa MOJICA in the women’s +78kg.

Jessica Garcia at the Samsun Grand Prix 2016

Jessica is a judo lover, a passionate of our sport. Former top level athlete, she participated in 2004 in the Athens Olympic Games. She put an end to her career in 2012 and she’s been practicing judo for 20 years already. Today she has become a coach and continues to invest her time and energy in the development of judo in Puerto Rico.

Concerning her experience at the IJD Academy, she explaines: “It was a big opportunity for me and for all the participants to take part in the IJF Academy. Thanks to our professors, we really learned a lot on how to teach judo, mainly from the grassroots level, but also at all levels. Especially in my country, we need to develop judo for all age groups.“

Then she added: “In Puerto Rico, It’s been five years that I’ve been dealing with young children in a sports school and now I’m really focussing on developing the basics of judo. That was the main subject of the level 1 of the IJF Academy. But I also work with the cadets, the juniors and the seniors and that’s why I’m here in Turkey this weekend and that’s also why being part of the Academy was so useful for me.“

Being asked if she will keep developing her skills, Jessika answers: “For sure I will keep learning and I want to pass the level 2 and 3 in the future. Generally speaking so far the girls have had better results than the men in judo in my country. Thanks to the IJF Academy and what I’ve learned, I feel that I am now ready to help the development of judo in any corner.“

Daniel Lascau, IJF Sports director and in charge of the technical part of the IJF Academy said: “Jessica successfully completed the course being a true example for her colleagues. The IJF Academy really offers the opportunity to spread quality judo throughout the world, on all five continents. Last week was the first time that the IJF Academy was held on the Pan American continent. We are very proud that it was launched together with the visit of President Marius Vizer, who came to open the IJF training center and visited Guadalajara where the upcoming World Masters will take place at the end of May and will conclude the Olympic qualification process.“

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-63kg: PINOT Adds One More Gold for France

None of the athletes in the eight seeded slots were able to enter into the final of the -63kg weight category. Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT), winner of the last Tbilisi Grand Prix last week and world number four, was thus defeated by the Brazilian Mariana SILVA, 28th in the world ranking, in the quarter-finals, while SILVA on her momentum eliminated the second Austrian of the category, Hilde DREXLER in the semi-finals. In the absence of the leader of the division, Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) and especially in the absence of her famous teammate, Clarisse AGBEGNENOU, Margot PINOT (FRA) had a perfect competition to join SILVA in the final. If it will be difficult or impossible for her to take the place of AGBEGNENOU to go to the Olympics, PINOT is positioned as a new safe bet in the category.

It took a little more than one minute and a half for PINOT to execute a superb yoko-tomoe-nage, that initiated applause in the stands, but for no score as SILVA landed on her stomach. But that definitely looked like a serious warning for the Brazilian. Thirty seconds from the end, it was SILVA’s turn to put PINOT in danger with a huge uchi-mata, but again for no score. It was time for the golden score. After two minutes of golden score, the final concluded as it started with a strong yoko-tomoe-nage for no score but enough to give a penalty for passivity to Silva and the victory to Margot PINOT.

Not present in the final, some of the top athletes of the day nevertheless were still running for a medal as Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) was opposed to the Havana Grand Prix 2016 bronze medallist, Mia HERMANSSON (SWE), in the first bronze medal fight. After a few seconds, UNTERWURZACHER scored a yuko that she was able to save until the final gong for the tenth Grand Prix medal for the Austrian.

The second bronze medal contest also saw two seeded athletes meeting for a spot on the podium: the winner of the 2015 Qingdao Grand Prix, YANG Junxia (CHN), and the silver medallist of last year’s edition of the Samsun Grand Prix, Hilde DREXLER (AUT). Despite a strong battle in standing position, none of the competitors were able to score. But the fight was really interesting on the floor with long sequences of ground work from both sides, YANG taking the advantage by immobilising here opponent on the edge but for no score as DREXLER escaped. Then the Austrian was penalised two times for passivity, before YANG was actually able to conclude with an immobilisation for ippon 13 seconds before the end of the match. This was the third medal for the Chinese at that level of competition.

SILVA, Mariana (BRA) vs. PINOT, Margaux (FRA)

Bronze Medal Fights
YANG, Junxia (CHN) vs. DREXLER, Hilde (AUT)

Final Results
1. PINOT, Margaux (FRA)
2. SILVA, Mariana (BRA)
3. YANG, Junxia (CHN)
5. DREXLER, Hilde (AUT)


-70kg: GAHIE Upsets the Hierarchy

After the 100% French final of yesterday in -57kg, the French delegation once again placed both its athletes in the final of the -70kg weight category, since Marie-Eve GAHIE and Fanny Estelle POSVITE met to compete for the gold. The choice is announced Cornelian for France when it will come to determine the list of names that will go to the Games. The category is actually dominated by the current world champion, Gévrise EMANE, but the younger generation is pushing very hard behind the experienced EMANE. Already silver medallist last week in Tbilisi, just behind the world number one Kim POLLING (NED), POSVITE who earned her first world medal last year in Astana in the shadow of her elder, is as serious contender for future selections. Marie-Eve GAHIE was more like a surprise but she showed really powerful judo throughout the preliminary rounds of the competition.

A little less active than her teammate, POSVITE was penalised with a first shido for passivity. Just 25 seconds before the end, it was GAHIE’s turn to be penalised with a shido, putting the two athletes in the position to enter the golden score. After 25 seconds in the extra time, GAHIE put POSVITE dangerously out of balance, enough to make POSVITE penalised with a shido, which in golden score was synonymous of victory for the young Marie-Eve GAHIE.

The two athletes, Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA (UZB) and Maria PEREZ (PUR), who competed in the first bronze medal fight were not among the favourites of the category in the morning of the tournament. There are moments in the life of a judoka, when everything looks easy. That’s probably what Maria PEREZ felt today when she launched an unstoppable harai-makikomi technique for ippon and a bronze medal. Her coach, on the side of the tatami, who also participated in the IJF Academy (see before) could celebrate this great achievement.

Among the other favourites who lost during the preliminary rounds, only ZHOU Chao (CHN) was able to reach the final block to face Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) in the second bronze medal contest. Zhou was quickly penalised with a shido for passivity. Just half way to the end, RODRIGUEZ scored a waza-ari with a right handed uchi-mata, which she followed on the floor with an immobilization for ippon and a first Grand Prix medal for the Venezuelan.

Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) is currently training at the IJF training center in Hungary and was among the athletes helped to come to Samsun to participate in the Grand Prix.

GAHIE, Marie Eve (FRA) vs. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)

Bronze Medal Fights
MATNIYAZOVA, Gulnoza (UZB) vs. PEREZ, Maria (PUR)
ZHOU, Chao (CHN) vs. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)

Final Results
1. GAHIE, Marie Eve (FRA)
2. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)
3. PEREZ, Maria (PUR)
3. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)
5. ZHOU, Chao (CHN)
7. MANSOUR, Lola (BEL)
7. TAEYMANS, Roxane (BEL)


-73kg: First Golden Appearance of SZWARNOWIECKI

Having won only a single medal in a Grand Prix so far (bronze medallist Qingdao in 2015), the North Korean, KIM Gwang Chol was the surprise guest of the final of the -73kg. He took all his preliminary fights with great seriousness and especially a flawless technique which allowed him to eliminate Guillaume CHAIN in the semi-final on a clear score, ippon after less than two minutes. It was a complete shock among the favourites in this category, since none of the eight seeded competitors was able to enter the final, most of them also disappearing from the final ranking of the day, like SAINJARGAL Nyam-Ochir (MGL), Dex ELMONT (NED), Alex William POMBO SILVA (BRA) or Nicholas DELPOPOLO (USA). The host country believed that Hasan VANLIOGLU (TUR) could also join his three comrades who yesterday were present in the final of the 2016 Samsun Grand Prix. But the entrance to the final was finally blocked by a combative Damian SZWARNOWIECKI (POL).

The final immediately started on a high rhythm, as both competitors were attacking in all directions. The strongest attack was executed by KIM but it didn’t score this time, while SZWARNOWIECKI was penalised with a shido for passivity. Just after three minutes, the Polish athlete dropped under the centre of gravity of his opponent to hook his leg (ko-uchi-gari) for waza-ari. Suddenly KIM seemed incapable of finding any solution against SZWARNOWIECKI, who, despite some penalties for passivity maintained the score to win a well deserved gold medal.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Georgios AZOIDIS (GRE) and the silver medallist of last year’s edition of the Grand Prix, Hasan VANLIOGLU (TUR). The first strong attack came from VANLIOGLU, who threw AZOIDIS with a sumi-gaeshi for no score. But the Greek being less active than his opponent was quickly penalised with a shido for passivity. Attacking in all directions, VANLIOGLU was also taking the risk to make false attacks, and he was penalised two times. But that’s the moment, he launched a desperate ko-uchi-gari that was counted as a waza-ari. One minute before the end, the Turkish athlete was penalised a third time putting him in danger despite his waza-ari. The atmosphere was starting to get electric as the last seconds were counted but finally VANLIOGLU could keep his advantage to win a third Grand Prix medal and the fourth medal of the Turkish delegation on the occasion of the 2016 edition of the Grand Prix.

The second survivor of the seeded athletes still present in the final block was Guillaume CHAINE (FRA) who faced Nuno SARAIVA (POR) for the last spot in the podium. The first shido was given to the Portuguese for passivity, when a few seconds later, CHAINE scored a beautiful waza-ari with o-uchi-gari. The French seemed to perfectly control the fight, maybe too much, when SARAIVA suddenly dropped on his knees for a superb drop-sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for a clear ippon.

KIM, Chol Gwang (PRK) vs. SZWARNOWIECKI, Damian (POL)

Bronze Medal Fights
AZOIDIS, Georgios (GRE) vs. VANLIOGLU, Hasan (TUR)
SARAIVA, Nuno (POR) vs. CHAINE, Guillaume (FRA)

Final Results
2. KIM, Chol Gwang (PRK)
3. SARAIVA, Nuno (POR)
5. AZOIDIS, Georgios (GRE)
5. CHAINE, Guillaume (FRA)
7. ESPOSITO, Antonio (ITA)
7. SAINJARGAL, Nyam-Ochir (MGL)

-81kg: IVANOV Climbs More Steps in Samsun

There was truly extraordinary fights in this last male category of the day, such as this WANG Ki-Chun vs. KIM Jae-Bum in the semi-final, which was a bit overshadowed by the fight of the -73kg category on the other tatami in which the Turkish VANLIOGLU was trying to qualify for the final. It must be said that KIM is the defending Olympic champion of the category. But the qualification for Rio is also disputed by WANG who was long the world number one in -73kg before he decided to try his luck in the upper category. Both competitors fought like crazy, putting all their energy into the match, knowing without doubt that the outcome of this could be a ticket to the game for one of them, but not for the other. At this game, it is WANG who won with a waza-ari to KIM. After the battle, the first came to respectfully greet his teammate. This match should stay in the archives. In the final WANG was opposed to the young Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL), who competition after competition shows that he might be among the favourites of the Rio Games.

World champion in 2009 in -73kg, WANG proved once again that he is an incredible champion with an incredible longevity. After more than two minutes, he was ahead of IVANOV by two penalties, imposing him a torrid pace. But this is the moment IVANOV chose to score a brilliant waza-ari with ko-uchi-gake on the edge of the fighting area. Perfectly controlling the end of the fight, IVANOV could secure a very precious victory.  After his victory, IVANOV explained how happy he was with this new step towards the Olympics and that the support that he received from the IJF was really helpful. (Ivaylo IVANOV is among the athletes supported by the IJF to participate in the World Judo Tour events).

The first bronze medal fight opposed the 2015 Junior World Champion, Frank DE WIT (NED) and the more experienced Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL). The fight was very tactical as none of the two judoka could score, but BOTTIEAU more experienced could finally secure the medal with an advantage of one penalty (3-2).

The second bronze medal fight saw the winner of the 2015 Tashkent Grand Prix, Sergiu TOMA (UAE), and the 2012 Olympic champion, KIM Jae-Bum (KOR), fighting for the last spot on the podium. Only a few seconds were necessary to TOMA to score a perfect action-reaction technique for one of the best ippons of the day.

WANG, Ki-Chun (KOR) vs. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)

Bronze Medal Fights
DE WIT, Frank (NED) vs. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL)
TOMA, Sergiu (UAE) vs. KIM, Jae-Bum (KOR)

Final Results
1. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)
2. WANG, Ki-Chun (KOR)
3. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL)
3. TOMA, Sergiu (UAE)
5. DE WIT, Frank (NED)
5. KIM, Jae-Bum (KOR)
7. PACEK, Robin (SWE)


Sunday April 3, 2016

Start: 10:00 on 3 tatami
Final block: 17:00 on 1 tatami

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

Location: Yasar Dogu Sports Arena, Samsun, Turkey

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