Tuesday, August 16, 2016

-100kg Overview

As we get into the second heaviest Men's weight class of -100kg, there were still many participants, with a total of 34 competing. There were many past world and Olympic champions in this division, including Tagir Khaibulaev (RUS), Tuvshinbayar Naidan (MGL), Lukas Krpalek (CZE), Maksim Rakov (KAZ) and Ryonosuke Haga (JPN). Other top competitors were Elmar Gasimov (AZE), Cyrille Maret (FRA), Henk Grol (NED) and Beka Gviniashvili (GEO). So, it was a very crowded field.

Pool A: Gasimov (AZE)
Gasimov did well to beat Khaibulaev (RUS) in his first fight. He threw the 2012 Olympic champion with a side takedown for waza-ari and then pinned him long enough for a yuko. Khaibulaev was not able to get back the scores and was thus eliminated in the first round. Next up, Gasimov faced Lyes Bouyacoub (ALG). Gasimov scored first with a nice kosoto-gari for waza-ari. Then Bouyacoub struck back with a soto-makikomi for waza-ari. But as the Algerian had two shidos on the board, at the end of match time, he lost. That brought him up against Ramadan Darwish (EGY), whom he beat surprisingly easily within the first minute with a tani-otoshi that scored ippon.

Pool B: Bloshenko (UKR)
The top prospects here would be Martin Pacek (SWE), Cho Guham (KOR) and Karl-Richard Frey (GER). Nobody expected Artem Bloshenko (UKR) to emerge victor in this pool but it was he who got through. His first match was against Soyib Kurbanov (UZB) whom he dispatched with a big hugging kosoto-gake for ippon. Next, he threw Hussain Shah Shah (PAK) with sumi-gaeshi for ippon. After that, he faced Cho whom he threw with another sumi-gaeshi for ippon. This brought him up against Frey whom he threw twice. The first one was through a kosoto-gari done after Frey tried to pick him up in response to an ouchi-gari attack. The second was through a nicely timed sasae-tsuri-komi-goshi which scored yuko. Not initially considered a top contender, Bloshenko had done remarkably well throughout the preliminary rounds and was now headed to the semi-finals.

Pool C: Maret (FRA)
The top prospects here were Maret, Grol and Gviniashvili. In the end, it was the Frenchman who got through. He had an easy first fight against Ayouba Traore (MLI), whom he threw with uchimata within the first 30 seconds. His next match though would be a tough one, against Grol, whom he narrowly beat with a yuko score from a side takedown. After that it was out of the frying pan and into the fire as he had to face Gviniashvili in the quarter-final. Theirs was a bruising battle but Maret got his chance when Gviniashvili came in for a hip throw. Maret rode the attack and tipped him over for a waza-ari score.

Pool D: Krpalek (CZE)
In this pool, we had three world champions, Krpalek, Rakov and Haga. Krpalek nearly lost his first match, against Jorge Fonseca (POR) who threw him with a nice osoto-gari for yuko. Krpalek struggled to get the score back to no avail until the last 30 seconds when he was able to pull off a sumi-gaeshi that scored waza-ari. That brought him up against the very tough Rakov. At the end of the match, there was no score on the board but Krpalek was ahead on penalties, so he got through to the quarter-final where he would face the reigning world champion Haga. Krpalek fought the right fight and wore out the Japanese champion with his heavy gripping. At the end of the match, Haga was down on penalties, which meant Krpalek would be the one going to the semi-finals.

The Darwish-Frey match featured very heavy grip fighting with neither men able to come in for a proper attack. Slightly more than halfway through the match, Darwish went for broke and lunged at Frey trying to catch him with a hugging kosoto-gake. Frey just whirled him over with his hands to land him flat on his back for a massive ippon.

Haga's match against Gviniashvili also featured heavy gripping but punctuated with more attempts to to throw. After incurring a shido, Gviniashvili tried every which way he could to get a score on Haga but was unable to get even a yuko although on some occasions he came pretty close to scoring. In the end, Haga went through on penalty win.

Bloshenko had defied all expectations to get this far but he met his match when he went up against  Gasimov who threw him with kosoto-gake for ippon.

In the Krpalek-Maret match, it was the Czech player all the way as he attacked his French opponent non-stop until he finally caught him on the ground and pinned Maret for ippon.

Perhaps incensed at his semi-final performance Maret unleashed all his fury on Frey with a picture-perfect osoto-gari that slammed Frey onto the mat for an indisputable ippon.

Haga, who is well known of his uchimata is actually quite good on the ground too, especially with sankaku and it was exactly that technique that he used to pin and strangle Bloshenko, who had to tap out. It was yet another bronze for Japan.

Krpalek displayed the same kind of determination in the final as he did in the semi-final, coming out charging and going after Gasimov with real attempts to throw. Gasimov gave as good as he got but there was no stopping Krpalek who managed to hook Gasimov with ouchi-gari. Gasimov tried to counter the attack but instead ended up landing flat on his back with Krpalek on top. It was a great way to win the gold.

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