Saturday, May 7, 2016

Baku Grand Slam 2016 - Azerbaijan DAY TWO

Japanese World champion stars while Venezuelan makes history 


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

The Baku Grand Slam 2016, the final Grand Slam in the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification phase, saw current and former world champions conquer and fall as day two served up a day full of emotion at the Heydar Aliyev Sport and Exhibition Complex.

The second day of competition in the oil-rich city of Baku featured 149 judoka (88 men, 61) across four weight categories as the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories shared the tatami with the women’s -63kg and -70kg divisions.

Judo pioneer Jaap NAUWELAERTS D'AGE passed away on Thursday aged 98

Before the final block the judo family was united in mourning the passing of one of the pioneers of European judo in Jaap NAUWELAERTS D'AGE who passed away on Thursday aged 98. The Dutch 10th Dan was a long-time member of the Dutch national team before helping to found the Dutch Judo Federation, the European Judo Union and the International Judo Federation.  

The 1952 European Championships silver medallist was an administrator and referee at the highest level following his competitive career and was a Sports Director for the European Judo Union for three decades.

NAUWELAERTS D'AGE was promoted to 10th Dan, the highest rank in the sport, in 2008 and was an Honorary President of the European Judo Union.

Mr. VIZER, IJF President, with NAUWELAERTS D'AGE in 2011

A minute’s silence was immaculately observed by the capacity crowd as the judo family remembered one of their most cherished figures who left a lasting legacy in judo.    

Mr. VIZER and members of the IJF Executive Meeting met with high-ranked officials including members of the local organising committee 

Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, was in attendance on the second day in Baku and paid tribute to one of the most influential figures in the history of judo.

“I thank Jaap and his family for dedicating his life to judo and everything we see today has been influenced by his contribution to our sport. I express my deepest condolences to his family and friends who have supported him and judo so wonderfully. I was very good friends with Jaap and he will be dearly missed.”

In the final block the Azerbaijan crowd witnessed history on day two as Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) won her country’s first Grand Slam medal as she continues to develop as one of the most exciting and talented teenagers in the sport.

Pan American Championships bronze medallist RODRIGUEZ, 19, has been training recently at the IJF Training Centre, and is ripping up the record books for her country.   

Mr. VIZER, who RODRIGUEZ (below) graciously thanked for his support with a heartfelt message on social media on the eve of the competition, said: “This is a good start for Venezuelan judo and it shows the potential of the IJF Training Centre in Hungary. For those athletes who express their enthusiasm there will always be opportunities if they are not receiving support from their Federation. I am very happy for Elvismar and I hope she will go on to have a lot of success.”

The Baku Grand Slam 2016 will culminate on Sunday with the heavyweights. Olympic champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) is among the stars on show for the final day in Baku as she prepares to defend her +78kg Olympic title at Rio 2016. The heavyweight women’s world champion YU Song (CHN) is the top seed in the category while four-time -90kg world medallist Kirill DENISOV (RUS) will be among the leading men in action as he bids to book his ticket to Rio 2016. 

Judo fans can watch the final day of the Baku Grand Slam 2016 live and free at

Double Paralympic champion and national hero Ilham ZAKIYEV (AZE) with Mr. VIZER

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-63kg: Ippon judo secures spoils for SCHLESINGER  

Dusseldorf Grand Prix silver medallist Alice SCHLESINGER (GBR) played down her day in the post-event interview but the modest Briton excelled in Baku as she won all five of her contests by the maximum score. SCHLESINGER won her first Grand Slam gold medal for Great Britain to secure 500 precious qualification points which edges her closer towards potentially being seeded at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Former Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Marijana MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC (CRO) had a day to remember despite being second best in the final where she was thrown with an uchi-mata for ippon after 27 seconds but will take home 300 points and the best result of her career. 

In the first semi-final MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC surprised former Asian Championships bronze medallist BAK Jiyun (KOR) as the Croatian threw BAK for the maximum score and MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC was fighting back the tears as she guaranteed her first Grand Slam final. In the second semi-final former world champion Yarden GERBI (ISR) lost out to Alice SCHLESINGER (GBR) by ippon after just 54 seconds as the latter continues to come into her own in the British setup.

The first bronze medal was won by Pan American Championships silver medallist Maricet ESPINOSA (CUB) who showed her fantastic throwing skills as she beat a deflated GERBI who walked on to a huge effort from the Cuban on the edge of the area for ippon. ESPINOSA is in fine form and looks poised for a serious medal tilt in Rio while GERBI, who had trailed to a yuko, limped off the tatami and will hope to return to action and the medal podium before August. The second bronze medal was claimed by Qingdao Grand Prix silver medallist Busra KATIPOGLU (TUR) as BAK could not compete due to injury.                           

MISKOVIC HASANBEGOVIC, Marijana (CRO) vs SCHLESINGER, Alice (GBR)                                                                                                                                                                               
Bronze Medal Fights
GERBI, Yarden (ISR) vs ESPINOSA, Maricet (CUB)          
BAK, Jiyun (KOR) vs KATIPOGLU, Busra (TUR)    

Final Results 
1. SCHLESINGER, Alice (GBR)                                                   
3. ESPINOSA, Maricet (CUB)                                                               
3. KATIPOGLU, Busra (TUR)                                       
5. GERBI, Yarden (ISR)                                    
5. BAK, Jiyun (KOR)                                 
7. PRUVOST, Marielle (FRA)                               
7. TSUGANE, Megumi (JPN)                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


-70kg: World runner-up BERNABEU bounces back in Baku            

World silver medallist Maria BERNABEU (ESP) returned to the IJF World Judo Tour medal podium in Baku for the first time since her heroics at the sport’s 2015 marquee event in Astana, Kazakhstan. BERNABEU blasted past Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Maria PORTELA (BRA) in the final as she surprisingly overpowered the Brazilian in osaekomi for 20 seconds with a sankaku-gatame hold. 

In the first semi-final Pan American Championships bronze medallist Maria PEREZ (PUR) was beaten by BERNABEU who was in devastating form as she won by ippon in just 47 seconds. In the second semi-final PORTELA beat veteran Juliane ROBRA (SUI) by throwing the Swiss judoka for a waza-ari score and holding down her opponent for 15 seconds to confirm her place in the -70kg final.

The first bronze medal was claimed by Pan American Championships bronze medallist Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) who entered her name in the record books by defeating ROBRA. Teen starlet RODRIGUEZ defeated her opponent in their previous meeting and made it 2-0 in their head-to-head series as she won by ippon after 44 seconds. The 19-year-old defeated the 33-year-old and a beaming smile appeared on the face on the Venezuelan who has unlimited potential. The second bronze medal contest was won by PEREZ who registered the sole score in her contest against African Championships winner Assmaa NIANG (MAR) for an excellent result for Puerto Rico. 

PORTELA, Maria (BRA) vs BERNABEU, Maria (ESP)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Bronze Medal Fights
ROBRA, Juliane (SUI) vs RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)                             
PEREZ, Maria (PUR) vs NIANG, Assmaa (MAR)   

Final Results
1. BERNABEU, Maria (ESP)                                                                                          
2. PORTELA, Maria (BRA)                                   
3. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)                              
3. PEREZ, Maria (PUR)   
5. ROBRA, Juliane (SUI)                                 
5. NIANG, Assmaa (MAR)                                                          
7. GERCSAK, Szabina (HUN)                                  
7. TSEND AYUSH, Naranjargal (MGL)                                                                                                                                                                                                   


-73kg: SHARIPOV shows star quality to win all-Uzbek final 

Asian Championships bronze medallist Mirali SHARIPOV (UZB) won the domestic bragging rights against teammate and Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Giyosjon BOBOYEV (UZB) as he came out on top in their -73kg final. BOBOYEV (UZB) led by a waza-ari score after SHARIPOV tried to lift up his teammate but his compatriot countered with ashi-waza for the opening score. That deficit saw SHARIPOV open up and he turned the contest around as he won by ippon with an enormous pick up in a result which could define his race for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

In the first semi-final Dmytro KANIVETS (UKR) – who beat favourite ORUJOV (AZE) with a juji-gatame in the quarter-finals - was beaten by BOBOYEV (UZB) on shido penalties 2:3 while in the second semi-final SHARIPOV (UZB) saw off Olympic silver medallist UNGVARI Miklos (HUN) by a waza-ari score.  

The first bronze medal was won by European champion and world number one Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) who defeated UNGVARI on shido penalties. ORUJOV responded to his crowd-silencing quarter-final defeat by besting UNGVARI on shido penalties 3:4 as the chants of ‘Rustam, Rustam’ rang out around the venue. The Azerbaijan star was aiming for gold and himself had a muted reaction to winning bronze but the result will extend his lead at the helm of the -73kg category. The second bronze medal was won by Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner SAI Yinjirigala (CHN) – his first at this level – as he dominated KANIVETS. SAI took the lead with a yuko from a modified kata-guruma before sinking in the shime-waza on the ground and the Ukrainian was slow to react and had no choice but to submit. 

SHARIPOV, Mirali (UZB) vs BOBOYEV, Giyosjon (UZB)                                                                                      
Bronze Medal Fights
UNGVARI, Miklos (HUN) vs ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)                               
KANIVETS, Dmytro (UKR) vs SAI, Yinjirigala (CHN)                 

Final Results
1. SHARIPOV, Mirali (UZB)                                     
2. BOBOYEV, Giyosjon (UZB)                                                                   
3. ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)                                
3. SAI, Yinjirigala (CHN)                                                 
5. UNGVARI, Miklos (HUN)     
5. KANIVETS, Dmytro (UKR)        
7. AZOIDIS, Georgios (GRE)                                
7. SCVORTOV, Victor (UAE)                                                                                                                                                                 

-81kg: World champion NAGASE opens his first Olympic season with gold  

World champion NAGASE Takanori (JPN) competed for the first time outside of Japan as the world champion and showed no signs of the immense pressure he has on his shoulders as Japan’s pick at -81kg for Rio 2016. NAGASE, 22, whose world champion status is indicated by his red backpatch, took bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December following his first world title victory and launched his Olympic season in style in Baku as he secured top spot by rushing past European Championships bronze medallist Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL) in 42 seconds by ippon from a ko-soto-gari. The win was the third for NAGASE at a Grand Slam and the Japanese fighter will be tipped for success at his first Olympics. 

In the first semi-final NAGASE was pushed into golden score by Frank DE WIT (NED) who is carving out quite the reputation for himself. Junior world champion DE WIT was more than comfortable against NAGASE and actually went in front with a determined ouchi-gari before level terms were restored when the Japanese fighter conjured up his own waza-ari score with three seconds left. After 53 second of additional time, it was DE WIT who was denied as he was penalised for passivity after a titanic effort in one of the best contests of the day. In the second semi-final IVANOV (BUL) defeated Matteo MARCONCINI (ITA) with a tai-otoshi earning a waza-ari and the Bulgarian – who was supported to compete in Baku by the IJF – had done enough for a place in the final.

The first bronze medal was won by MARCONCINI as he submitted Carlos LUZ (POR) to achieve a career-best result having trailed to a yuko. MARCONCINI prevailed with a neatly executed piece of shime-waza while Ivan Felipe SILVA MORALES (CUB) left DE WIT (NED) reeling as the Cuban won the second -81kg bronze medal. The Dutch youngster was ahead with a yuko score until the Cuban fired off a ko-soto-gake for his own yuko and then decided the fate of the contest with a delightful ouchi-gari for ippon and his first Grand Slam medal. As the IJF commentator Sheldon Franco-Rooks alluded to on the live stream DE WIT was undoubtedly one of the best performers thus far to leave Baku without a medal. 
NAGASE, Takanori (JPN) vs IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)               
Bronze Medal Fights
MARCONCINI, Matteo (ITA) vs LUZ, Carlos (POR)                       
DE WIT, Frank (NED) vs SILVA MORALES, Ivan Felipe (CUB)                              
Final Result
1. NAGASE, Takanori (JPN)  
2. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)                                                              
3. MARCONCINI, Matteo (ITA)                                             
3. SILVA MORALES, Ivan Felipe (CUB)                                                                                        
5. LUZ, Carlos (POR)                                              
5. DE WIT, Frank (NED)                                   
7. AVALIANI, Ambako (GEO)               
7. CHEN, Asaf (ISR)                                                                                                                                                                                            


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

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

LocationHeydar Aliyev Sport and Exhibition Complex

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