Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix 2016, Mongolia PREVIEW

(Via IJF)

The IJF World Judo Tour 2016 has arrived in Mongolia for the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix 2016 - the final IJF Grand Prix before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games - which takes place from Friday 1 July to Sunday 3 July at Buyant Ukhaa Sport Complex.

Ulaanbaatar, which means ‘Red Hero’, is the capital of judo in the country and is a sophisticated city on the Tuul River that beautifully blends its picturesque countryside with urban zest, commerce and is ripening as an ever-changing hotspot for tourists.

The fourth edition of the annual leg of the IJF World Judo Tour is the first IJF event in Asia this year and is the year's seventh and final Grand Prix before the Olympic Games in August. The road to Rio 2016 will make one final stop before Rio de Janeiro as the circuit reverts back to Europe for Russia’s Tyumen Grand Slam from 16 to 17 July.  

Hosts Mongolia have selected a 56-strong team with four judoka in each of the 14 weight categories. The Mongolian Judo Association, who provided their country’s first Olympic gold medal when NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar won the -100kg title at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, have picked a handful of members of their Rio 2016 team such as former world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) but will also blood youngsters as they prepare to switch their focus to Tokyo 2020 in the coming months.

From L-R: Mr. Armen BAGDASAROV, IJF Sports Director, Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA, IJF Education and Coaching Director, Mr. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director  

The draw took place on Thursday afternoon as Mr. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director, revealed that 126 judoka (65 men, 61 women) will be engaged in action from 13 nations in Ulaanbaatar. International stars in action include Olympic champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB), Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Asley GONZALEZ (CUB), former world silver medallist Jose ARMENTEROS (CUB) and Paris Grand Slam winner Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ). 

Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA, IJF Education and Coaching Director, made the opening address on behalf of the International Judo Federation.

“Dear guests, dear friends, ladies and gentleman, on behalf of International Judo Federation, I wish you a warm welcome to Mongolia. Our President Mr. Marius VIZER would like to convey his greetings and we wish you all a good competition for your athletes and an enjoyable time in Ulaanbaatar, thank you.”

Mr. BATTULGA Khaltmaa, Mongolian Judo Association President, stated in the official outlines: “I would like to welcome all honourable guests, officials and athletes from all over the world to participate in the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix.

“I would like to encourage all judoka around the world to put their strength and best performance in a last test for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and for sure they will succeed and realise their Olympic dreams. Lastly, I wish you all to have a pleasant and memorable time while staying in the home land of great Genghis Khan. And I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all judo family members for their precious time and effort to support this tournament.”

From L-R: Mr. BUKHBAT Mashbat, MJA General Secretary, Dr. PAGVA Bira, MJA Vice President and IJF Judo for Peace Commission Assistant Director, Mr. NYAMKHUU Damdinsuren, MJA Senior Manager 

Dr. PAGVA Bira, Mongolian Judo Association Vice President and IJF Judo for Peace Commission Assistant Director, addressed the delegations in Ulaanbaatar on behalf of the organising committee.

“Dear honourable guests, welcome to Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix, it is a privilege and pleasure to have you here for the competition. We wish you all good luck and an enjoyable stay with us.”

Mr. DORLIGJAV Dambii, Chairman of Organising Committee and Minister of Justice and Home Affairs, said: “On behalf of the organising Committee of IJF Judo Grand Prix, Ulaanbaatar is honoured to host the fourth edition of this great event. I would like to thank all IJF members who are supporting this tournament for many years.

“Through judo we have many great possibilities and great opportunities for all people around the world and we would like to wish all the participants the best of luck for this tournament and in the Rio Olympic Games, which will be in just one month. I welcome you all to Mongolia.”

The official draw of the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix 2016 

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Former world champion and Rio 2016 Olympic Games top seed MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) wants to become her country’s first female Olympic champion in any sport. The 26-year-old has won gold at every level of the IJF World Judo Tour including her home event in 2013 and 2015. Almaty Grand Prix winner Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ), who will be seeded for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, has had the measure of her former teammate MUNKHBAT in 2016 while All Japan Championships bronze medallist MORIZAKI Yurie (JPN) makes her third appearance on the IJF World Judo Tour (Tokyo 2013, Tokyo 2014) and will be hoping its third time lucky as she bids to earn her first honours for Japan on the world stage on day one. 


Former Junior World Championships bronze medallist UCHIO Mako (JPN) will be the top seed in the -52kg category for the first time. UCHIO, 20, took silver at the Jeju Grand Prix last year on her IJF World Judo Tour senior debut, and will be confident of claiming gold for Japan’s seven-strong women’s team. Former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist CHINTOGTOKH Azzaya (MGL) will compete along with KWON Aerim (KOR) who makes her second start on the IJF World Judo Tour after making her debut a year ago at the same event. 


Judo is a family passion for former Asian Championships winner ISHIKAWA Megumi (JPN), whose dad is a distinguished coach in her native Nagoya and whose mum is a kata competitor. ISHIKAWA, 27, is a top-level talent but finds herself in Japan’s most overloaded category so competitions on the IJF World Judo Tour have been infrequent with this weekend being her first IJF assignment since the Tokyo Grand Slam 2013. ISHIKAWA has two Grand Prix medals to her name after winning bronze in Amsterdam in 2011 and in Dusseldorf in 2013. Rome European Open bronze medallist KIM Minju (KOR) will be intent on winning her first IJF medal this weekend as Asia could command this category among others. 


Asian Championships bronze medallist and world number 13 TSEND-AYUSH Tserennadmid (MGL) will compete for the eighth time this year when she takes to the tatami on Saturday. TSEND-AYUSH finished fifth at the World Judo Masters in May last time out and will be tipped to top the podium in her home event. Former Moscow Grand Slam bronze medallist BALDORJ Mungunchimeg (MGL) will have the same goal while former Asian Championships silver medallist NISHIKAWA Maho (JPN) could capture her first Grand Prix medal. 


Almaty Grand Prix silver medallist TSEND-AYUSH Naranjargal (MGL) will be the top seed in the women’s -70kg category on Saturday. The former Asian Championships winner will face opposition from former European bronze medallist Barbara MATIC (CRO) and 20-year-old IKE Erina (JPN) who finished fifth at the Tokyo Grand Slam last year and is more than capable of winning any colour medal at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix. 


Asian Championships bronze medallist PUREVJARGAL Lkhamdegd (MGL) finished fifth at her home event last year and will surely improve on that result this weekend. PUREVJARGAL won in Ulaanbaatar in 2011 when the event was a World Cup and will have to overcome judoka such as Junior World Championships winner Brigita MATIC (CRO) and Rome European Open bronze medallist PARK Yujin (KOR) to come away with top spot in her homeland. 


Olympic champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) is favoured to defend her Olympic crown this summer and will settle for nothing less than a convincing victory in Mongolia. ORTIZ, 26, has won the Almaty Grand Prix and World Judo Masters back-to-back to give herself the best chance possible of retaining her title as the top seed for the Olympics. Judoka such as former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist ICHIHASHI Suzuka (JPN) will be motivated like never before to try and take a major scalp by beating the seemingly invincible Cuban which also can be said for former Lisbon European Open bronze medallist Ekaterina SHEREMETOVA (RUS). 



Former world silver medallist and top seed DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) will be considered a certain medal source for the hosts when he launches his home campaign on Friday. DASHDAVAA, who won bronze at the invite-only World Judo Masters in May, has been overlooked for Rio 2016 with 20-year-old prodigy TSENDOCHIR Tsogtbaatar winning the backing of the MJA. Orenburg European Cup silver medallist Rasim ALMAMMADOV (AZE) and former Buenos Aires Pan American Open bronze medallist Albert MONGUSH (RUS) could come into the equation if Mongolia are unable to repeat their four medals from four judoka as they achieved a year ago. 


Asian Championships winner DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) will be expected to lead the way in the -66kg category for Mongolia as the top seed. The two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist, who surprisingly lost his opening contest at the World Judo Masters in his last event, has the skills to potentially come away with a rousing win for his nation and will be a strong challenge for judoka such as former Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Vugar SHIRINLI (AZE), Prague European Open winner Andraz JEREB (SLO) and Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Askhat TELMANOV (KAZ). 


Junior World Championships bronze medallist Martin HOJAK (SLO) occupies top seed status at an IJF event for the first time in his career. The 18-year-old has won the Tunisia African Open and is beginning to establish himself as a first choice member of his national senior team as he moves towards Tokyo 2020 at an accelerated rate. Madrid European Open bronze medallist Telman VALIYEV (AZE) and Wollongong Oceania Open bronze medallist Fagan GULUZADA (AZE) could both come to the for Azerbaijan. 


World number 15 NYAMSUREN Dagvasuren (MGL) will be the number one seed in the -81kg category for Mongolia as he looks to shut out international opposition such as Prague European Open silver medallist Jaromir MUSIL (CZE) and young Azeri Afig SAFARLI (AZE) who competes at an IJF event for the first time in 2016. Former Jeju Grand Prix silver medallist JUNG Won Jun (KOR) will be optimistic about his medal chances but NYAMSUREN appears to have all control of the category with four Grand Prix bronze medals on his resume. 


Rio 2016-bound LKHAGVASUREN Otgonbaatar (MGL) has won Grand Slam and Grand Prix gold over the last year to not only become his country’s number one at -90kg but also to qualify for the Games as one of the top seeds. The world number eight won on home soil in Ulaanbaatar last year and the home crowd will expect a repeat this year but London 2012 Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Asley GONZALEZ (CUB) will have other ideas as he looks to charge towards the podium in Rio de Janeiro in August. 


Former world silver medallist Jose ARMENTEROS (CUB) will be seeded at his first Olympics in Rio but first the powerful Cuban will look to steal the show in Ulaanbaatar on Sunday. Three-time Pan American champion ARMENTEROS will take some stopping when he competes in Mongolia for the first time as former Miami Grand Prix bronze medallist GAN Tuvshinjargal (MGL) and 17-year-old former Cadet World Championships runner-up Zelym KOTSOIEV (AZE) both hope to be competitive should such a contest materialise on Sunday. 


Former World Judo Masters bronze medallist BATTULGA Temuulen (MGL) won bronze a year in Ulaanbaatar and will better that result this time around. The two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist will fancy his chances of winning his second Grand Prix title while former Junior World Championships winner ULZIIBAYAR Duurenbayar (MGL) will also be out to turn a 2015 bronze into 2016 gold. Former Moscow Grand Slam silver medallist Dmitriy STERKHOV (RUS) could threaten Mongolia’s desire for heavyweight supremacy in the final gold medal to be decided in Mongolia.   

13:00 Preliminaries on two mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

13:00 Preliminaries on two mats
16:00 Opening ceremony 
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

13:00 Preliminaries on two mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

Location: Buyant Ukhaa Sport Complex

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Budapest Grand Prix 2016 - Hungary DAY 2

(Via IJF)

Olympic champion HARRISON invincible on the road to Rio 2016 

The Budapest Grand Prix 2016 concluded on Sunday with the heavyweight elite powering to Grand Prix glory at the Papp László Sport Aréna as Olympic and world champions fought for the last time before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

Japan topped the medal table with a youthful and experimental team as they won four gold medals, three silver and two bronze ahead of Slovenia who secured two gold medals and three silver. Germany finished third after claiming one gold medal, two silver and one bronze medal.

Before the final block on the second and final day of the Budapest Grand Prix 2016, Dr. TÓTH Lászlo, Hungarian Judo Association President and Mr. NAGY Gyorgy, Hungarian Judo Association General Secretary, presented a 6th Dan diploma to Mr. ILLYES Miklos and a gold medal and Hungarian Judo diploma to Mr. ZSOLT Antoni and ISTVAN Pusztai.

Mr Marius VIZER, IJF President and Dr. TÓTH Lászlo, then presented the IJF Gold Medal to 9th Dan Mr. FERENC Galla for his 87th birthday.

The IJF World Judo Tour now heads for Asia as Mongolia will host the final Grand Prix before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The annual Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix will take place from 1 – 3 July and will engage 135 judoka in action including a 56-strong home Mongolian team which features former world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg and Olympic bronze medallist SAINJARGAL Nyam-ochir as they compete for the final time before the Olympic Games.   

Full Budapest Grand Prix 2016 results:


-70kg: Teen starlet RODRIGUEZ wins Venezuela’s first Grand Prix gold    

Former world silver medallist Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) lived up to her top seed billing until she met teenage sensation and Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) in the -70kg final. 

RODRIGUEZ, 19, who has nurtured her talents this year at the IJF Training Centre in Dunavarsany, Hungary, became the first Venezuelan judoka to reach a Grand Prix final and the fearless teenager did not stop there as she upset VARGAS KOCH who was comparatively fighting in the seventh Grand Prix final of her career. Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist RODRIGUEZ, who has been financially supported on her road to Rio by the IJF, threw VARGAS KOCH with a morote-seoi-nage and trapped the German in a kesa-gatame hold on the edge of the tatami to seal a remarkable result for the teenager who is one of the most exciting young talents in the sport.

The first bronze medal was won by Asian Championships bronze medallist Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA (UZB) who outthought and outfought former world silver medallist NUNIRA Karen (JPN). The 21-year-old Uzbek, who also fights out of the IJF Training Centre in Dunavarsany, made sure Japan’s only female representative on day two was not among the medals as she edged out her opponent with a yuko score which was the only score of the contest. The second bronze medal contest featured Almaty Grand Prix bronze medallist Maria PEREZ (PUR) who is in the form of her life going into her first Olympic Games. The Puerto Rico fighter threw Madrid European Open winner Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) with a drop seoi-nage for the maximum score after two minutes had elapsed and now heads to Rio 2016 with high expectations.                         

RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN) vs VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Bronze Medal Fights
NUNIRA, Karen (JPN) vs MATNIYAZOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)                        
PEREZ, Maria (PUR) vs VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)                                        

Final Results
1. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)                         
2. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)                                                                            
3. MATNIYAZOVA, Gulnoza (UZB)                                               
3. PEREZ, Maria (PUR)
5. NUNIRA, Karen (JPN)                                
5. VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)                                        
7. POGACNIK, Anka (SLO)                            
7. MOREIRA, Antonia (ANG)                                    

-78kg: Emotional champion HARRISON has air of invincibility heading to Rio 2016    

Olympic champion and Rio 2016 Olympics top seed Kayla HARRISON (USA) won her third consecutive competition and retained her 2015 Budapest Grand Prix title with a comfortable victory over Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Anamari VELENSEK (SLO) in the -78kg final.

HARRISON, who is still only 25, had hoped fight home judoka and left-handed JOO who has given the American problems in the past but the Hungarian lost her semi-final and instead moved into the bronze medal picture. World Judo Masters winner HARRISON was 7-0 against VELENSEK coming into a repeat of their 2015 Budapest final and the result was the same as the former scored a yuko from a seoi-otoshi and was always in control of the contest without being tested to her limits.

HARRISON said she was physically and emotionally spent after a long and gruelling spell of travelling and training in Europe. The American said she felt exhausted. The Budapest Grand Prix could be one of her final judo events.

The first bronze medal was claimed by Havana Grand Prix winner JOO Abigel (HUN) who defeated 18-year-old Junior world silver medallist Klara APOTEKAR (SLO) as the hosts flourished on the second day in the heavier weight categories. APOTEKAR, who was fighting in a Grand Prix for only the second time, was thrown for a waza-ari and JOO added two yuko before finishing with a second and match-winning waza-ari.          

The second bronze medal contest featured former Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist and Tokyo 2020 hope Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA) and Madrid European Open winner Karen STEVENSON (NED). The Dutch fighter won the first Grand Prix medal of her career by ippon after 66 seconds while youngster again appeared to be in some discomfort as she grimaced in pain and held her ribs when entering and leaving the tatami. 
VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO) vs HARRISON, Kayla (USA)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Bronze Medal Fights
JOO, Abigel (HUN) vs APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO)                           
CAMARA, Sama Hawa (FRA) vs STEVENSON, Karen (NED)                                                 

Final Results
1. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)                                                                                    
2. VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)                                                        
3. JOO, Abigel (HUN)                               
3. STEVENSON, Karen (NED)                           
5. APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO)                                                          
5. CAMARA, Sama Hawa (FRA)                          
7. GIAMBELLI, Miranda (AUS)                              
7. GARRY, Christelle (FRA)                                                                                                                                                                

+78kg: WEISS beats both Chinese judoka en route to maiden Grand Prix crown 

Sofia European Open winner Carolin WEISS (GER) took her career to new heights in Budapest as she won her first Grand Prix title with a classy performance in the Hungarian capital. World Judo Masters silver medallist MA Sisi (CHN) fell to two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist WEISS by a single shido as the German fighter won their first meeting between the two heavyweight forces having defeated reigning world champion YU Song (CHN) in the semi-final. 

The first bronze medal was claimed by Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR) who shaded former Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Santa PAKENYTE (LTU) by a single shido as the smallest of margins separated both judoka after four minutes. The second bronze medal contest was won by world champion YU Song (CHN) who surpassed Junior World Championships bronze medallist Yelyzaveta KALANINA (UKR) by a yuko and a waza-ari with the latter coming from a trademark harai-makikomi.                          


MA, Sisi (CHN) vs WEISS, Carolin (GER)                                                                                                                   
Bronze Medal Fights
PAKENYTE, Santa (LTU) vs KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)                            
YU, Song (CHN) vs KALANINA, Yelyzaveta (UKR)                                                                                                                                                                                            

Final Results
1. WEISS, Carolin (GER)                                     
2. MA, Sisi (CHN)                               
3. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)                                
3. YU, Song (CHN)                            
5. PAKENYTE, Santa (LTU)                                                        
5. KALANINA, Yelyzaveta (UKR)                                                                        
7. TOLOFUA, Julia (FRA)                                 
7. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)                                                                                                                   


-81kg: Russian legend wins first Grand Prix title        

Olympic bronze medallist Ivan NIFONTOV (RUS) claimed the first Grand Prix gold medal of his illustrious career as he defeated Dusseldorf Grand Prix silver medallist Sven MARESCH (GER) in the -81kg final. 

World number 19 MARESCH and world number 20 NIFONTOV were the first and second seeds respectively and both came through the preliminaries unscathed to book a fascinating final. The head-to-head series was locked at 1-1 coming into the gold medal match with their previous meetings coming in 2008 and 2012. Former world, European and Grand Slam winner NIFONTOV marked his first IJF outing of 2016 with the top prize as he rolled over his German rival for a waza-ari and held down the top seed for 15 seconds with a kesa-gatame to win by wazari-awasette-ippon.

The first bronze medal was clinched by two-time Grand Slam silver medallist UNGVARI Attila (HUN) who gave the hosts the perfect start to the final block by defeating Sarajevo European Cup winner Bojan DOSEN (SRB). DOSEN was fighting for a Grand Prix medal for the first time and was unsuccessful in his first medal contest as UNGVARI forced his opponent to submit with a forceful piece of shime-waza. The second bronze medal was won by former Asian Championships silver medallist EBI Yasuhiro (JPN) who beautifully threw 20-year-old Junior European Championships silver medallist Nicon ZABOROSCIUC (MDA) with an ippon seoi-nage for the maximum score at exactly the halfway point having already led by a waza-ari.         
MARESCH, Sven (GER) vs NIFONTOV, Ivan (RUS)                                                                                                                                                  
Bronze Medal Fights
DOSEN, Bojan (SRB) vs UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)                            
EBI, Yasuhiro (JPN) vs ZABOROSCIUC, Nicon (MDA)                                                                                                                                                     

Final Results
1. NIFONTOV, Ivan (RUS)                                  
2. MARESCH, Sven (GER)                                                  
3. UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)                                                            
3. EBI, Yasuhiro (JPN)                    
5. DOSEN, Bojan (SRB)                                   
5. ZABOROSCIUC, Nicon (MDA)                 
7. MAJDOV, Nemanja (SRB)
7. NDIAYE, Pape Doudou (FRA)                                                                                                    

-90kg: Class act TOTH delights Hungarian fans with thrilling gold   

Former world silver medallist TOTH Krisztian (HUN) thrilled the home fans as he made sure that the Hungarian anthem would be heard at the Papp László Sportaréna. TOTH, 22, warmed up for his first Olympic Games – where he will be one of the top seeds – with a powerful display which ended with a decisive win over World Judo Masters bronze medallist Mihael ZGANK (SLO) in the final.

For his age and experience, TOTH shows exemplary matside etiquette, and his immense respect for his opponents and the sport was apparent all day long including in the final when he helped a beaten ZGANK to his feet and shared a sincere conversation with the Slovenian who was beaten by two waza-ari scores. 

The first bronze medal was won by 2015 Budapest Grand Prix winner Celio DIAS (POR) who defeated 2015 Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Li KOCHMAN (ISR). DIAS, who was verbally urged on by teammate Telma MONTEIRO from the stands, threw for an opening waza-ari score and held down a hapless KOCHMAN for 15 seconds to guarantee a second consecutive appearance on the Budapest Grand Prix medal podium. The second bronze medal was captured by European Games winner Kirill DENISOV (RUS) against former junior ace Max STEWART (GBR) who was fighting in a Grand Prix at his new weight of -90kg for the first time. DENISOV showed his class as he brushed aside the Briton who put in a tremendous effort and should finally come to the fore in the next Olympic cycle. Russia’s Olympic pick at -90kg DENISOV threw for the maximum score in the second minute to bolster his country’s medal collection on day two in Budapest.   
ZGANK, Mihael (SLO) vs TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)         

Bronze Medal Fights
DIAS, Celio (POR) vs KOCHMAN, Li (ISR)                    
STEWART, Max (GBR) vs DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Final Results
1. TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)                                                             
2. ZGANK, Mihael (SLO)                                
3. DIAS, Celio (POR)                                        
3. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)                                                                                    
5. KOCHMAN, Li (ISR)                     
5. STEWART, Max (GBR)                                                 
7. PIONTEK, Zack (RSA)           
7. ODENTHAL, Marc (GER)                                                                                                                            

-100kg: KORREL strikes late for the Netherlands in golden score                 

European Championships bronze medallist Michael KORREL (NED) defeated Asian Championships silver medallist Soyib KURBONOV (UZB) to win his first Grand Prix gold medal and his country’s first title in Hungary. KORREL and KURBONOV were surprise finalists as top seed Karl-Richard FREY (GER) could only manage a fifth-place finish. The finalists traded shido penalties rather than scores as they finished the regulatory five minutes with three shidos apiece which meant that golden score was required to declare a winner. After one minute and 26 seconds of added time it was KORREL who drove his way onto the podium with a drop seoi-nage sending KURBONOV down to the tatami for a waza-ari score. 

The first bronze medal was won by Glasgow European Open silver medallist Philip AWITI-ALCARAZ (GBR) who celebrated his first Grand Prix medal by throwing former world champion Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) with one of the ippons of the tournament. MAMMADOV attempted to bridge which sees the score given as ippon in order to discourage this defensive move to protect a fighter’s safety. The second bronze was won by Junior World Championships bronze medallist Anton SAVYTSKIY (UKR) who shocked Rio-bound Karl-Richard FREY (GER). SAVYTSKIY, who is one of a string of exciting prospects in the Ukrainian team, was tied after five minutes against the German judoka with a yuko apiece but FREY had been penalised three times while the IJF World Judo Tour newcomer had only been penalised once to clinch his first senior medal on the world stage.   
KORREL, Michael (NED) vs KURBONOV, Soyib (UZB)                                                                                                      
Bronze Medal Fights
FREY, Karl-Richard (GER) vs SAVYTSKIY, Anton (UKR)                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Final Result
1. KORREL, Michael (NED)                                                         
2. KURBONOV, Soyib (UZB)                                
3. AWITI-ALCARAZ, Philip (GBR)       
3. SAVYTSKIY, Anton (UKR)                                                       
5. MAMMADOV, Elkhan (AZE)                     
5. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)    
7. ROMANYUK, Oleksandr (UKR)           
7. TACHII, Denis (MDA)                                                                                                                                                                                

+100kg: First Grand Prix success for Ukrainian veteran               

Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Stanislav BONDARENKO (UKR) won his first Grand Prix title on Sunday as he bested Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist UEDA Katsuma (JPN) in the last final of the Budapest Grand Prix 2016. UEDA, 22, has been used sparingly by Japan and based on his performance in the final may be made to wait for another opportunity on the IJF World Judo Tour. A lethargic duel saw both men commit errors and trade shido penalties with neither judoka able to threaten the scoreboard. The contest finished with three shidos against the Japanese and two shidos against the Ukrainian who will believe that his result can reinvigorate his career at the top level. 

The first bronze medal was won by 23-year-old Nabil ZALAGH (FRA) who overpowered Pan American Games winner Freddy FIGUEROA (ECU) on the ground in osaekomi for 20 seconds. ZALAGH, who was aiming for his first international medal, sent FIGUEROA over with an ouchi-gari for a yuko before landing on the Ecuador fighter and remaining there with the pin for bronze. The second and last bronze medal fight of the tournament opposed Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Andre BREITBARTH (GER) and Junior European Championships bronze medallist Zarko CULUM (SRB). Top seed BREITBARTH contained the young Serbian before unleashing his own attacks and scored a waza-ari before pinning his opponent with a kuzure-kesa-gatame for 15 seconds and a place on the medal podium.                              
FinalBONDARENKO, Stanislav (UKR) vs UEDA, Katsuma (JPN)           


Bronze Medal Fights
FIGUEROA, Freddy (ECU) vs ZALAGH, Nabil (FRA)                   
BREITBARTH, Andre (GER) vs CULUM, Zarko (SRB)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Final Result
1. BONDARENKO, Stanislav (UKR)                                                                             
2. UEDA, Katsuma (JPN)                                  
3. ZALAGH, Nabil (FRA)                                                          
3. BREITBARTH, Andre (GER)                                                         
5. FIGUEROA, Freddy (ECU)    
5. CULUM, Zarko (SRB)                                                                           
7. WACZULIK, Richard (HUN)            
7. DEMETER, Bendeguz (HUN)                                                                                                  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Budapest Grand Prix 2016 - Hungary DAY 1

(Via IJF)


The Budapest Grand Prix 2016, the final Grand Prix in Europe before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, opened on Saturday with 130 judoka (75 men, 55 women) fighting on day one at the Papp László Sportaréna. 

Hungary having set up an IJF Judo for children program, as a consequence, the young public is attending the Budapest Grand Prix in number

The Hungarian Judo Association’s premier event – which will make way next year for the country to hold the 2017 IJF World Judo Championships which will have a record total prize money of $1,000,000 – was dominated by Japan and Slovenia who finished day one first and second in the medal table respectively with Kosovo in third place.

Ahead of the final block, the opening ceremony took place as Dr. László TÓTH, Hungarian Judo Association President, made the opening address.

“Dear all, welcome to Hungary for the Budapest Grand Prix 2016. It is a great privilege and pleasure for us to host such an important date on the judo calendar and we thank all of the participants for your support. I would like to offer you all a special invitation to the 2017 World Judo Championships which we will stage here in Budapest next year and we look forward to seeing you all again. Good luck in the Budapest Grand Prix and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.” 

From left to right: Mr. YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, Mr. UEMURA Haruki, Dr. TÓTH László, Mr. Mairus Vizer, Mrs. Nadia COMANECI and Mr. Ilie NASTASE

IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER made the first address on behalf of the International Judo Federation. 

“Dear guests, dear ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all to the Budapest Grand Prix 2016. It is a great honour for us to recognise sporting legends here today. I would like to thank the Hungarian Government, the Hungarian Judo Association and all their partners for this successful Grand Prix. I declare the Budapest Grand Prix 2016 open.”

IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER then presented IJF Grand Prix gold medals to Mrs. Nadia COMANECI, Romania’s five-time Olympic gymnastics champion and to Mr. Ilie NASTASE, IJF Ambassador and former tennis world number one.

Dr. TÓTH László then presented IJF Grand Prix gold medals to IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER, Mr. YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, IJF Development Director and IJF Hall of Famer and Mr. UEMURA Haruki, IJF World Promotion Director, Kodokan President and Hall of Famer.

On Sunday the heavyweights will collide as stars such as Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) and world champion YU Song (CHN) will make their final appearance on the IJF World Judo Tour before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in just eight weeks’ time.  


Use #judobudapest2016 to join in with the social media discussion 


-48kg: ENDO Hiromi stars again in Budapest for Japan    

Former World Judo Masters winner ENDO Hiromi (JPN) signalled her return to the elite level by winning the first gold medal at stake on day one of the Budapest Grand Prix. ENDO, 23, won the Cadet World Championships in Budapest in 2009, before going on to experiencing senior success including a stunning World Judo Masters win in 2013. The Japanese fighter’s career has stalled since then due to a run of injuries but ENDO is back and has already put her name into contention for a long battle for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. ENDO met 18-year-old IJF World Judo Tour debutant Romane YVIN (FRA) in the first final in Hungary and controlled the contest from start to finish as the Budapest specialist held down the young Frenchwoman for 20 seconds for ippon to open Japan’s medal account in fine fashion.   

The first bronze medal fight pitted Cluj Napoca European Open bronze medallist Violeta DUMITRU (ROU) against Rio-bound Taciana LIMA-BALDE (GBS). The world-class African fighter produced an assured display as she fought past her Romanian foe by scoring a waza-ari with a deft piece of footwork before adding a yuko from osaekomi. Lisbon-based LIMA-BALDE will be confident of challenging for honours at her first Olympics as she becomes the first Guinea Bissau judoka to compete at the Olympics in Rio.    

The second bronze medal fight opposed Sofia European Open silver medallist Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) and 19-year-old former Junior European champion PUPP Reka (HUN). NIKOLIC was the stronger of the two judoka as she scored a yuko and a waza-ari while youngster PUPP who was willed on by the home faithful mustered an ambitious uchi-mata attempt as she was second best but is a hope for the future for the hosts. 
ENDO, Hiromi (JPN) vs YVIN, Romane (FRA)                                                                                                                                                                                    
Bronze Medal Fights
DUMITRU, Violeta (ROU) vs LIMA-BALDE, Taciana (GBS)                           
NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB) vs PUPP, Reka (HUN)                                                                                                                                           

Final Results
1. ENDO, Hiromi (JPN)                              
2. YVIN, Romane (FRA)                          
3. LIMA-BALDE, Taciana (GBS)                                                                 
3. NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)           
5. DUMITRU, Violeta (ROU)        
5. PUPP, Reka (HUN)              
7. CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA)                         
7. RAYNER, Chloe (AUS)                                                                        

-52kg: Rio 2016 favourite KELMENDI wins as Kosovo dominate     

Two-time world champion Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS) faced her lead training partner and understudy in 20-year-old Junior world champion Distria KRASNIQI (KOS) in the -52kg final on Saturday. The two Kosovo stars walked to the venue together ahead of fighting each other and went all out in a gripping bout. Club and international team colleagues KELMENDI and KRASNIQI, who live on the same street, were unable to score as KELMENDI prevailed on shido penalties 1:3 and the pair shared a special moment on the mat as they showed their mutual respect and friendship knowing that neither of them would be where they are today – on the Budapest Grand Prix podium among other triumphs - without each other.  


The first bronze medal contest was won by former Junior World Championships silver medallist Larisa FLORIAN (ROU) who lifted former Astana Grand Prix silver medallist Christianne LEGENTIL (MRI) with a huge ura-nage for ippon after just 42 seconds having led by a waza-ari. LEGENTIL has been training and living at the IJF centre in Dunavarsany to prepare for the Games having finished seventh at London 2012 and will quickly put her Budapest disappointment behind her to target the top ranks in Rio de Janeiro as she did in London.

In the second bronze medal fight world number 38 Karolina PIENKOWSKA (POL) narrowly defeated Junior European champion Astride GNETO (FRA). PIENKOWSKA pipped GNETO to the podium with a low tai-otoshi scoring a yuko and the 20-year-old French fighter, whose older sister Priscilla will represent France at the same weight at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, fought to the end of the four minutes but her opponent held on with three shido penalties against her name.                   
KRASNIQI, Distria (KOS) vs KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)      
Bronze Medal Fights
LEGENTIL, Christianne (MRI) vs FLORIAN, Larisa (ROU)                      
PIENKOWSKA, Karolina (POL) vs GNETO, Astride (FRA)                                                                                                

Final Results
1. KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)                
2. KRASNIQI, Distria (KOS)                                                             
3. FLORIAN, Larisa (ROU)                                                                           
3. PIENKOWSKA, Karolina (POL)                              
5. LEGENTIL, Christianne (MRI)                                
5. GNETO, Astride (FRA)                                 
7. LOPEZ SHERIFF, Estrella (ESP)       
7. DELGADO, Angelica (USA)                                                                                                                                                                      

-57kg: Youth beats experience as TAMAOKI wins all-Japanese duel  

Former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) was humbled by former Junior world champion and former Asian Championships winner TAMAOKI Momo (JPN) in the Budapest Grand Prix -57kg final on Saturday. The -57kg category is arguably Japan’s strongest and it was TAMAOKI, 21, who won bronze in Budapest a year ago, who took the contest to her more accomplished opponent. Neither judoka was able to penetrate the scoreboard but it was TAMAOKI who prevailed on shido penalties with two against her name and three against UDAKA.   

The first bronze medal was convincingly won by five-time world medallist Telma MONTEIRO (POR) who scored three times against Warsaw European Open silver medallist Sappho COBAN (GER). On her return from a knee injury, Portugal’s top judoka marked her first competition of 2016 with a place on the podium which came after a waza-ari and a yuko score gave the four-time world runner-up the platform to engage her opponent on the ground and COBAN had to submit to a lightning quick juji-gatame.                 

The second bronze medal was won by Olympic bronze medallist Marti MALLOY (USA) who saw off Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Johanna MUELLER (GER) after the latter received a shido in the scoreless contest while American ace and Rio-bound MALLOY pitched an unblemished record. 
TAMAOKI, Momo (JPN) vs UDAKA, Nae (JPN)                                                                                                                                                              
Bronze Medal Fights
MONTEIRO, Telma (POR) vs COBAN, Sappho (GER)               
MALLOY, Marti (USA) vs MUELLER, Johanna (GER)   

Final Results 
1. TAMAOKI, Momo (JPN)                
2. UDAKA, Nae (JPN)                                                                  
3. MONTEIRO, Telma (POR)   
3. MALLOY, Marti (USA)                            
5. COBAN, Sappho (GER)                                                 
5. MUELLER, Johanna (GER)                                  
7. NURJAVOVA, Rushana (TKM)                           
7. GLAAS, Ebba (SWE)                                                                                                                

-63kg: Japan’s Junior ace defeats Slovenia’s senior world champion for gold     

Junior world champion NABEKURA Nami (JPN) starred for a youthful Japanese team as world and European champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) was cast aside in the -63kg final. NABEKURA, from Himeji, Hyogo, Japan, was not fazed by the red backpatch status of world champion TRSTENJAK as she caught the Slovenian with an osoto-gari for a yuko score and looked like she belonged on the world stage. NABEKURA, 19, won her maiden Grand Prix after two shido penalties for passivity and a shido against TRSTENJAK for a gripping infringement were deemed insignificant due to the only score of the four minute contest going in the favour of the Japanese.     


In the first bronze medal contest Oceania Championships winner Katharina HAECKER (AUS) defeated Junior World Championships bronze medallist Lucy RENSHALL (GBR) with a koshi-jime strangle to the delight of her ecstatic coach.  
The second bronze medal contest featured former Lisbon European Open silver medallist Amy LIVESEY (GBR) and Pan American Championships bronze medallist Estefania GARCIA (ECU) and it was 22-year-old LIVESEY from SKK Judo Club in St Helens, England, who earned her first Grand Prix honours. The British fighter produced two yuko scores without reply for a brilliant result on her Grand Prix debut.          
NABEKURA, Nami (JPN) vs TRSTENJAK, Tina (SLO)                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
Bronze Medal Fights
HAECKER, Katharina (AUS) vs RENSHALL, Lucy (GBR)               
LIVESEY, Amy (GBR) vs GARCIA, Estefania (ECU)                   

Final Results 
1. NABEKURA, Nami (JPN)                                                            
2. TRSTENJAK, Tina (SLO)                                                                             
3. HAECKER, Katharina (AUS)     
3. LIVESEY, Amy (GBR)                                     
5. RENSHALL, Lucy (GBR)                                                            
5. GARCIA, Estefania (ECU)                                            
7. SZABO, Franciska (HUN)                         
7. BILLIET, Sandrine (BEL)                                                                               


-60kg: Japanese youngster powers to gold     

World number 278 AOKI Dai (JPN) won the first IJF gold medal of his career and the first men’s final at the Budapest Grand Prix 2016 as he beat Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Otar BESTAEV (KGZ). AOKI was fifth at the Tokyo Grand Slam last year and returned to the IJF circuit in Budapest with medal ambitions which were realised in only his third appearance on the IJF World Judo Tour. AOKI trapped the vastly-experienced BESTAEV on the tatami and held his opponent there in osaekomi for 20 seconds and ippon. The victory meant that Japan made a perfect start to the competition by winning the first male and female finals in Budapest as they typically set a rampant pace on the world stage.  

The first bronze medal fight was won by 21-year-old Prague European Open silver medallist Cedric REVOL (FRA) as he defeated Junior world bronze medallist Irakli KUPATADZE (GEO). REVOL won his first Grand Prix medal at his first attempt by a waza-ari score and both judoka could become fixtures in this category in the next Olympic cycle towards Tokyo 2020.                          

The second bronze medal fight of the men’s -60kg category saw Almaty Grand Prix bronze medallist and top seed Sharafuddin LUTFILLAEV (UZB) defeat Ilgar MUSHKIYEV (AZE). LUTFILLAEV made the better start and MUSHKIYEV was overzealous when he attacked as he was disqualified for a leg grab to gift the bronze medal to the Uzbek star who needs to assistance from his opponents.              
AOKI, Dai (JPN) vs BESTAEV, Otar (KGZ)                                                                                                                  

Bronze Medal Fights
REVOL, Cedric (FRA) vs KUPATADZE, Irakli (GEO)                           
LUTFILLAEV, Sharafuddin (UZB) vs MUSHKIYEV, Ilgar (AZE)                                  

Final Results
1. AOKI, Dai (JPN)                                          
2. BESTAEV, Otar (KGZ)                                           
3. REVOL, Cedric (FRA)                                                           
3. LUTFILLAEV, Sharafuddin (UZB)                        
5. KUPATADZE, Irakli (GEO)                                                                                 
5. MUSHKIYEV, Ilgar (AZE)                                                                            
7. MANQUEST, Vincent (FRA)                          
7. BARTHA, Akos (HUN)                                                                                                                      

-66kg: Slovenian youngster beats Japanese tyro to gold   

Tunisia African Open bronze medallist Adrian GOMBOC (SLO) won his first Grand Prix gold medal as Slovenia made a sensational start to the competition. Former Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist GOMBOC squared off against Junior world champion ASARI Masaya (JPN) and the 20-year-old, who was making his senior international debut in Budapest, limped his way onto the tatami and was unable to replicate his earlier form from the preliminaries as he lost by two yuko scores.   


In the first bronze medal contest Casablanca African Open silver medallist Alexandre MARIAC (FRA) gave his all against Jeju Grand Prix silver medallist FUJISAKA Taroh (JPN) but the Frenchman lost out on shido penalties in a scoreless contest. MARIAC was penalised three times while FUJISAKA was only penalised once and therefore could add one more medal to Japan’s growing haul.             
The second bronze medal went to double Olympic bronze medallist Rishod SOBIROV (UZB) who beat former Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR). The contest was scoreless with 44 seconds remaining and both judoka had each been penalised three times but SOBIROV always has an extra gear and sent his Israeli opponent to the tatami with a ko-uchi-gari for a waza-ari and held down his opponent with a tate-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds and bronze. 
ASARI, Masaya (JPN) vs GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO)
Bronze Medal Fights
MARIAC, Alexandre (FRA) vs FUJISAKA, Taroh (JPN)                        
SOBIROV, Rishod (UZB) vs SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR)                          

Final Result
1. GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO)                                                                    
2. ASARI, Masaya (JPN)                     
3. FUJISAKA, Taroh (JPN)                                
3. SOBIROV, Rishod (UZB)  
5. MARIAC, Alexandre (FRA)                                                 
5. SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR)                                    
7. ZAMBORI, Bence (HUN)                       
7. ZACHEJA, Maciej (POL)                                                                                              

-73kg: DRAKSIC delivers for Slovenia after rocky run      

Former European champion Rok DRAKSIC (SLO) is back to his best judo after following up on his European bronze medal by winning the Budapest Grand Prix. DRAKSIC has had to dig deep to end a mixed run of results by flying back into form in 2016 and former Cluj Napoca European Open silver medallist Dmytro KANIVETS (UKR) was conquered in the -73kg final as the Slovenian pinned the Ukrainian down on the tatami for 20 seconds and ippon. DRAKSIC looked confident and moved well as he secured control of his opponent and ended up in a tate-shiho-gatame hold. KANIVETS will still be delighted with his effort as he won his first IJF World Judo Tour medal and will hope to repeat that achievement on many occasions post-Rio. 

The first bronze medal was won by 20-year-old Giorgi KATSIASHVILI (GEO) who celebrated his first Grand Prix medal by defeating three-time Grand Slam medallist Igor WANDTKE (GER) by ippon with a traditionally Georgian style pick-up.           
The second and last male bronze medal fight of the first day of competition in Hungary saw Artem KHOMULA (UKR) deny Gambia what would have been a first Grand Prix medal in their history as Faye NJIE (GAM) fell by ippon in the highest profile contest of his career.                        

DRAKSIC, Rok (SLO) vs KANIVETS, Dmytro (UKR)                                                                                                                                                                                          
Bronze Medal Fights
KATSIASHVILI, Giorgi (GEO) vs WANDTKE, Igor (GER)                        
KHOMULA, Artem (UKR) vs NJIE, Faye (GAM)                                            

Final Result
2. KANIVETS, Dmytro (UKR)                              
3. KATSIASHVILI, Giorgi (GEO)                             
3. KHOMULA, Artem (UKR)                                                
5. WANDTKE, Igor (GER)                                                      
5. NJIE, Faye (GAM)                                                  
7. CERCEA, Marcel (ROU)                       
7. GOURLAY, Frederik (SWE)