Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Players to watch in the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam

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The +78kg weight class at the Tokyo Grand Slam has only 11 competitors. The top favorite is Yamabe (JPN) and her main competition is her compatriot Inamori (JPN). Neither Andeol (FRA) nor Ortiz (CUB) will be competing. Also missing are Yu (CHN) and Ma (CHN). This won't be an exciting category.

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With Riner (FRA) and Harasawa (JPN) absent, the top favorite in the +100kg weight class at the Tokyo Grand Slam is Shichinohe (JPN). His main competition is probably Ojitani (JPN). Also missing is Sasson (ISR) and Matiashvili (GEO) who could have given him a tough fight.

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With Harrison (USA) retired and Tcheumeo (FRA) and Aguiar (BRA) not competing, the top favorite has to be Joo (HUN), who has done well in the IJF World Tours since the Olympics. Her main competitor is probably Takayama (JPN).

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With Haga (JPN) not competing, the top prospect for the -100kg division in the Tokyo Grand Slam is probably Maret (FRA). His main challengers are Pacek (SWE), Bisultanov (RUS), and Wolf (JPN). Denisov (RUS), who has just moved up to this weight class is a dark horse. Liparteliani (GEO) who has just moved up as well, is not competing.

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Top prospect in the -70kg division at the Tokyo Grand Slam is Arai (JPN). Her main challenger is Kim (KOR). Many top players are not competing, notably Tachimoto (JPN), Polling (NED) and Alvear (COL).

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Gwak (KOR) is the top prospect in the -90kg category for the Tokyo Grand Slam. Normally this category is super tough but many top players are not competing. Notably absent are Baker (JPN), Toth (HUN), Nyman (SWE), Gonzalez (CUB) and Cheng (CHN). Gviniashvili (GEO) has moved back down to -90kg but he's not competing. Gwak's main challenge will be Nishiyama (JPN). Dark horse is Iddir (FRA).

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Not many top players to challenge Trstenjak (SLO) other than Unterwurzacher (AUT). Dark horse is Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN).

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Nagase (JPN) will probably want to get his revenge against Toma (UAE), who beat him in Rio 2016. These two will be the top dogs in the -81kg category of the Tokyo Grand Slam. Dark horse is Ivanov (BUL).

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No question, Dorjsuren (MGL) is the top favorite here. Notably absent is Matsumoto (JPN) and Silva (BRA). Her main competition will be Yoshida (JPN) and Nae (JPN). Malloy (USA), Kim (KOR) and Receveaux (FRA) are all dark horses.

Top favorite in the -73kg division at the upcoming Tokyo Grand Slam is would have been Ono (JPN) but apparently he is withdrawing due to injury. That means the top favorites are An (KOR) and Nakaya (JPN). Because of home ground advantage I think Nakaya has the edge. Dark horses are aplenty including Iartcev (RUS), Mogushkov (RUS), Hashimoto (JPN) and Ungvari (HUN).

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Many top players are missing from the -52kg division for the Tokyo Grand Slam. Most notably absent are Kelmendi (KOS) and Giuffrida (ITA). Top favorite has to be Shishime (JPN). Her main competition is Babamuratova (TKM), who has some great throwing power. Dark horse is Van Snick (BEL) who has just moved up to this category.

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In the Tokyo Grand Slam -66kg, all eyes will be on Fabio Basile, the dynamic, flashy Italian who upset the odds to win gold in Rio 2016. But in his category are An (KOR), Puliaev (RUS) and the Japanese upstart Abe (JPN). Dark horses are Takajo (JPN) and Khan-Magomedov (RUS). Ebinuma is not contesting.

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The Tokyo Grand Slam -48kg category will also be quite exciting. Home favorite is Kondo but two Mongolians, Munkhbat and Galbadrakh (now fighting for Kazakhstan) will be jostling for top spot too. Jeong (KOR) is the dark horse. She is not as technical as Kondo, Munkhbat or Galbadrakh but a tough, scrappy fighter who can give each of them a run for their money.

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The Tokyo Grand Slam will be the first really exciting judo competition after the Olympics. At -60kg, we have a slate of very exciting players. Top favorite has to be Takato. But other big names are Dashdavaa (MGL), Ganbat (MGL) and Ibrayev (KAZ). Dark horses are Khyar (FRA), Oshima (JPN) and Shishime (JPN).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Qingdao Grand Prix 2016 - China DAY THREE

Russia finish top of the table in Qingdao ahead of season-ending Tokyo Grand Slam  


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

The last ever Qingdao Grand Prix crowned five gold medallists on day three from four different countries as Russia finished top of the medal table in China. 

China’s annual Judo Grand Prix, which was first held in 2009, was held in Qingdao for the final time as one of the leading Asian events will move to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia in the North of China from 2017.

The Qingdao Grand Prix 2016 concluded on Sunday with the women’s 78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories as China had high expectations for their heavyweights.  

-100kg quarter-final action as DENISOV (RUS) in blue defeated AWITI-ALCARAZ (GBR)

Russia ruled in China as they recorded a 14-strong medal haul including four gold, five silver and five bronze medals. An inexperienced Japanese team showed that ability can more than match experience as they won four gold medals and three bronze medals to finish above China who earned three gold, four silver and eight bronze medals.

+78kg action as MA (CHN) in white beat XU (CHN)

The IJF World Judo Tour has one last stop for 2016 as the sport returns home to Japan for the Tokyo Grand Slam which will feature Rio 2016 Olympic champions such as ONO Shohei (JPN), Fabio BASILE (ITA) and Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) as the highest profile event following South America’s first Olympics.

Following the Tokyo Grand Slam, the IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER will take part in a live Twitter question and answer session on Monday 5 December at 5pm Japanese time.

Use the hashtag #AskVizer to submit your question as Mr. VIZER will be ready to engage with all members of the judo family and the media during the open forum live from Tokyo. Follow the IJF President on Twitter at @MariusVizer

Watch #JudoTokyo2016, the final event on the IJF World Judo Tour 2016, live and free from Friday 2 – Sunday 4 December at


-78kg: TAKAYAMA maintains 100% medal-winning record on IJF World Judo Tour            Tyumen Grand Slam winner TAKAYAMA Rika (JPN) maintained her 100% medal-winning record on the IJF World Judo Tour as she won her first Grand Prix gold medal on Sunday. World number 14 TAKAYAMA squared off against ZHANG Kaili (CHN) who was contesting her first IJF World Judo Tour final and the 24-year-old ko-uchi-gari expert, who finished seventh at the Zagreb Grand Prix 2014, was second best throughout. The young Japanese fighter wrapped up her opponent on the ground in osaekomi which started with a mune-gatame before moving into a yoko-shiho-gatame and just for good measure the -78kg starlet had a ude-garami on the left arm of her Chinese foe.  

In the first semi-final TAKAYAMA dismissed LI Yang (CHN) with a quick workout as she threw for waza-ari and then held down the local fighter with a kuzure-kesa-gatame for 15 seconds to book a place in the final. In the second semi-final 19-year-old MA Zhenzhao (CHN) lost out to teammate ZHANG Kaili (CHN) by the maximum score to drop into the bronze medal contest instead of the gold medal contest on her senior debut.

The first bronze medal was won by MA against 19-year-old TIAN Miao (CHN) by a yuko in clash between two young Chinese talents. A makikomi attack from MA was enough for a yuko as the hosts further inflated their medal haul on the final day. The second bronze medal contest was won by former Almaty Grand Prix winner Anastasiya DMITRIEVA (RUS) who beat LI. DMITRIEVA moved ahead 2-1 in their head-to-head series as she won their third contest on shidos 1:3.           
ZHANG, Kaili (CHN) vs TAKAYAMA, Rika (JPN)                                                     
Bronze Medal Fights
MA, Zhenzhao (CHN) vs TIAN, Miao (CHN)                                         
DMITRIEVA, Anastasiya (RUS) vs LI, Yang (CHN)                                         

Final Results 
1. TAKAYAMA, Rika (JPN)                                                                                                            
2. ZHANG, Kaili (CHN)                                                         
3. MA, Zhenzhao (CHN)
3. DMITRIEVA, Anastasiya (RUS)                                                    
5. TIAN, Miao (CHN)                                              
5. LI, Yang (CHN)                                         
7. TU, Yung Chen (TPE)        
7. WANG, Szu-Chu (TPE)        

+78kg: World champion YU shows her superiority over compatriot MA at home         

World champion YU Song (CHN) won the domestic bragging rights as she defeated World Judo Masters silver medallist MA Sisi (CHN) in the last women’s contest in Qingdao. YU extended her head-to-head record to 4-2 as she made a winning return to action in her first competition since winning bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics. YU, who could still be identified from her red backpatch which is reserved for reigning world champions, countered an osoto-gari effort from MA with one of her own for ippon with 90 seconds left on the clock. 

In the first semi-final YU defeated former Jeju Grand Prix silver medallist LEE Eun-Ju (KOR) in a flat contest which saw the world champion move into the final on shidos 1:2. In the second semi-final MA bested Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Sandra JABLONSKYTE (LTU) in osaekomi with a mune-gatame hold for 20 seconds having led by a yuko score.

The first bronze medal was won by 2011 Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist KANG Jie (CHN) who threw JABLONSKYTE for a waza-ari before she trapped the Lithuanian on the ground for 15 seconds. The second bronze medal was won by LEE who saw off ko-soto-gari specialist XU Xin (CHN) on shido penalties. XU, who had never medalled at this level, showed a lack of desire as she allowed KIM to take the medal from Qingdao on shidos 2:0.          
MA Sisi (CHN) vs YU, Song (CHN)  
Bronze Medal Fights
JABLONSKYTE, Sandra (LTU) vs KANG, Jie (CHN)  
LEE, Eun-Ju (KOR) vs XU, Xin (CHN)                           

Final Results
1. YU, Song (CHN)                                             
2. MA Sisi (CHN)                                           
3. KANG, Jie (CHN)                                                
3. LEE, Eun-Ju (KOR)                             
5. JABLONSKYTE, Sandra (LTU)     
5. XU, Xin (CHN)                                                                                 
7. KARPOVA, Daria (RUS)                     
7. SUN, Pei Yu (TPE)                                     


-90kg: Seoul 1988 Olympic medallist steers son STEWART to first Grand Prix gold             Glasgow European Open winner Max STEWART (GBR) turned his number one seed status into gold for Great Britain on Sunday with the best performance of his blossoming career. STEWART, 23, defeated Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist GANTULGA Altanbagana (MGL) and rushed to embrace with his coach and dad Dennis STEWART (GBR) who won bronze at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. STEWART tangled with GANTULGA for the first time and captured his maiden Grand Prix title by way of shime-waza after finding a route out of the initial hold down from the Briton.              

STEWART said: “I was always looking for the strangle in the final and I had the perfect chance after my first hold down. I’m getting used to fighting at these bigger events and I hope for more competitions and more success in 2017. My next event will be the British Championships in December.”

In the first semi-final STEWART (GBR), who held down highly-rated Tenri University recruit ODKHUU Tsetsentsengel (MGL) with a tate-shiho-gatame in his quarter-final, submitted JEON Chan (KOR) with shime-waza after an expertly controlled turnover. In the second semi-final GANTULGA defeated former Taipei Asian Open bronze medallist LEE Jaeyong (KOR) by a waza-ari to guarantee the second Grand Prix medal of his career.

The first bronze medal was awarded to rank outsider Said Emi ZHAMBEKOV (RUS) who threw LEE with a sumi-gaeshi for ippon with two minutes remaining. World number 133 ZHAMBEKOV seized his opportunity as he won the first medal contest on the last day of the Qingdao Grand Prix 2016. The second bronze medal went to beaten semi-finalist JEON who routed ERIHEMUBATU (CHN) with four unanswered scores to the delight of his South Korean teammates in the stands. JEON opened his account with a waza-ari from a drop seoi-nage after 40 seconds before adding a yuko from a left-sided seoi-nage. A shell-shocked ERIHEMUBATU was then thrown for a yuko with a right-handed seoi-nage before being put out of his misery by ippon from a morote-seoi-nage.   
GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL) vs STEWART, Max (GBR)                                               
Bronze Medal Fights
LEE, Jaeyong (KOR) vs ZHAMBEKOV, Said Emi (RUS)          
JEON, Chan (KOR) vs ERIHEMUBATU, (CHN)               

Final Results
1. STEWART, Max (GBR)                                                                                             
2. GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL)  
3. ZHAMBEKOV, Said Emi (RUS)                                                                
3. JEON, Chan (KOR)                                 
5. LEE, Jaeyong (KOR)                                             
5. ERIHEMUBATU, (CHN)                                                                 
7. ODKHUU, Tsetsentsengel (MGL)                                           
7. ZHAO, Zhitao (CHN)

-100kg: DENISOV puts -100kg elite on red alert after debut victory            

Four-time world medallist Kirill DENISOV (RUS) stepped up to -100kg with devastating effect in Qingdao as he drove past Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist KHUTAG Tsogtgerel (MGL) in the final to win a debut gold at his new weight. DENISOV, who has fought for a medal at the last six World Championships, has given up his world number 12 ranking at -90kg to move up to the -100kg category. That decision was vindicated in his first competition at -100kg as he beat first-time finalist KHUTAG by ippon after 29 seconds with a tani-otoshi.                  

DENISOV said: “I did two Olympic cycles at -90kg and I felt like now was the time to make a change. This is a good start for me but there is a lot of hard work ahead. I think that now I will really show my best judo and I want to see how my power works out at this weight. I will go to Tokyo and hope to continue this positive start at -100kg but I know it will be extremely difficult in Japan.”

In the first semi-final DENISOV (RUS) had to work harder than he expected to see off Taipei Asian Open bronze medallist HONG Yi Chih (TPE). The contest was scoreless after five minutes but HONG had been penalised three times as he was fighting to hold off the Russian who made a smooth transition to life at -100kg. In the second semi-final Orenburg European Cup bronze medallist Maksud IBRAGIMOV (RUS) was beaten by KHUTAG on shidos as the Russian was penalised three times while the latter was only penalised once. 

The first bronze medal was won by IBRAGIMOV who defeated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Philip AWITI-ALCARAZ (GBR) by a yuko from a sode-tsurikkomi-goshi. Russia were already assured of gold or silver in the -100kg final and IBRAGIMOV made sure that there would be two Russian’s on the -100kg medal podium with a narrow victory as Londoner AWITI-ALCARAZ was unable to put together any of his highly-regarded hip techniques or his uchi-mata. The second bronze medal was won by HU Mingchao (CHN) who defeated HONG in an exciting contest which gripped the crowd which was its most sizable of all three days of competition. HU, who had twice finished fifth at this event in recent years, finally got his sought after home medal after 68 seconds of added time as HONG was penalised for dropping to keep the medal in China.  

DENISOV, Kirill (RUS) vs KHUTAG, Tsogtgerel (MGL)                                                

Bronze Medal Fights
IBRAGIMOV, Maksud (RUS) vs AWITI-ALCARAZ, Philip (GBR)                                
HU, Mingchao (CHN) vs HONG, Yi Chih (TPE)                     

Final Result
1. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)  
2. KHUTAG, Tsogtgerel (MGL)                                                                                              
3. IBRAGIMOV, Maksud (RUS)     
3. HU, Mingchao (CHN)  
5. AWITI-ALCARAZ, Philip (GBR)                                  
5. HONG, Yi Chih (TPE)                         
7. TE, Rigule (CHN)                                              

+100kg: OGAWA draws inspiration from his legendary father for Japan         

Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist OGAWA Yusei (JPN) brought the OGAWA name back to the international landscape in China as he continued to emerge from the shadow of his father and carve out his own reputation. The Japanese heavyweight warmed up this morning with four-time world champion and Barcelona 1992 Olympic silver medallist OGAWA Naoya (JPN) who saw his son overpower fellow youngster Anton KRIVOBOKOV (RUS) to win gold. OGAWA was more adept in ne-waza and created enough space to pin down the Russian with a mune-gatame and KRIVOBOKOV tapped out after 18 seconds.   


In the first semi-final Tyumen Grand Slam winner Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) lost out to KRIVOBOKOV who held down his compatriot with a kesa-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon. In the second semi-final former Junior World Championships winner ULZIIBAYAR Duurenbayar (MGL) was thwarted by Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist OGAWA Yusei (JPN). The Japanese fighter won by a single shido which was given to the Mongolian for a gripping infringement.  

The first bronze medal went to ULZIIBAYAR who came from behind to beat Taipei Asian Open bronze medallist LEE Po Yen (TPE) in the closing seconds. Two yuko scores put LEE in the ascendancy but he was careless in the last minute and was thrown for a waza-ari with 11 seconds left and tapped out while pinned in osaekomi after three seconds. The second bronze medal went to VOLKOV who edged past two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist KIM Kyeongtae (KOR). A shido against KIM for a gripping infringement was decisive as both judoka failed to threaten the scoreboard and their mutual lack of attacking impetus showed why they were inferior to today’s heavyweight final.                                                                                                    

OGAWA, Yusei (JPN) vs KRIVOBOKOV, Anton (RUS)                                                   

Bronze Medal Fights
ULZIIBAYAR, Duurenbayar (MGL) vs LEE, Po Yen (TPE)            
KIM, Kyeongtae (KOR) vs VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)                     

Final Result
1. OGAWA, Yusei (JPN)
2. KRIVOBOKOV, Anton (RUS)                                                                                                        
3. ULZIIBAYAR, Duurenbayar (MGL)  
3. VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)                                                  
5. LEE, Po Yen (TPE)                                  
5. KIM, Kyeongtae (KOR)                                            
7. WANG, Yuntao (CHN)                              
7. NA, Risu (CHN)                                 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Qingdao Grand Prix 2016 - China DAY TWO

Japan double up on day two as Qingdao fortunes the fledglings  


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


The IJF World Judo Tour’s final Grand Prix for 2016 showcased the middleweights on day two in China as four judoka were crowned Qingdao Grand Prix gold medallists with Japan starring playing a starring role.  

The women’s -63kg and -70kg categories and men’s -73kg and -81kg categories were engaged in Grand Prix action in Qingdao for the final time. Following the ninth Grand Prix of the season the IJF World Judo Tour 2016 will conclude in Japan with the Tokyo Grand Slam next month from 2 – 4 December.

Grand Prix events have been staged all over the world in 2016 with the season-opening Havana Grand Prix (Cuba) before Dusseldorf (Germany), Tbilisi (Georgia), Samsun (Turkey), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Budapest (Hungary), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Zagreb (Croatia) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan).

A Grand Prix gold medal is worth 300 world ranking points, silver is valued at 180 points, while bronze earns 120 points. The world ranking list determines which judoka are seeded for IJF World Judo Tour events with the top eight-ranked judoka in each weight category being seeded and ensuring that they will avoid each other in the early rounds.

CHUANG (TPE) in white throws BOLDBAATAR (MGL) in the -73kg first round 

Since the Rio 2016 Olympics Games, the IJF World Judo Tour has created new stars as teams field their most promising young judoka with the World Championships 2017 in Budapest a short-term goal and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to see such athletes in their prime.  

The four gold medals on day two were won by Japan, South Korea and Russia who won their third gold medal of the tournament to keep them ahead of China with Japan in third place.

The Qingdao Grand Prix 2016 will conclude on Sunday with the heavyweights as the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories will feature on the two mats in addition to the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories. World champion and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist YU Song (CHN) has become a Chinese idol after her world and Olympic heroics and will be the fighter to beat on the last day of Grand Prix action of the season.  

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-63kg:Japanese teenager NABEKURA aces Qingdao test     

Budapest Grand Prix winner NABEKURA Nami (JPN) won her second Grand Prix gold medal as she came through her latest test with a glowing display. The Japanese fighter, one of the best prospects in Asia, collided with European u23 Champion Lucy RENSHALL (GBR) in an exciting contest which could become a fascinating rivalry on the senior stage over the coming years. The judoka were led by an all-star coaching cast in London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist UENO Yoshie (JPN) who was coaching the Japanese while Seoul 1988 Olympic bronze medallist Dennis STEWART (GBR) coached the Briton. NABEKURA attacked with conviction as her osoto-gari and ne-waza turnovers looked dangerous but it was her uchi-mata which provided Japan’s first gold medal in Qingdao as she scored a yuko in golden score.  

In the first semi-final World Judo Masters bronze medallist YANG Junxia (CHN) was tamed by NABEKURA by a single shido in a scoreless content as the young Japanese judoka showed complete composure and poise. In the second semi-final Orenburg European Cup silver medallist Valentina KOSTENKO (RUS) lost out to the in-form RENSHALL in golden score. RENSHALL, who came through the ranks of SKK Judo Club in St Helens, scored a waza-ari in added time with a strong hip technique to move into the gold medal contest.     

The first bronze medal was won by MYUNG Ji-Hye (KOR) who won her first IJF World Judo Tour medal against KOSTENKO. The South Korean fighter opened the scoring with a driving ouchi-gari which earned a waza-ari before KOSTENKO replied with an osoto-combination for a yuko with just 12 seconds left and the Korean held on. The second bronze medal was won by world bronze medallist TSEDEVSUREN Munkhzaya (MGL) who defeated YANG by a yuko from a harai-makikomi which was the only score of the contest. World number 14 TSEDEVSUREN was not at her best as she fought for the first time since Rio 2016 but still had the quality and experience to find a way onto the medal podium.  
RENSHALL, Lucy (GBR) vs NABEKURA, Nami (JPN)                                          
Bronze Medal Fights
KOSTENKO, Valentina (RUS) vs MYUNG, Ji-Hye (KOR)        
YANG, Junxia (CHN) vs TSEDEVSUREN, Munkhzaya (MGL)                                         

Final Results
1. NABEKURA, Nami (JPN)                                                
2. RENSHALL, Lucy (GBR)                                        
3. MYUNG, Ji-Hye (KOR)                      
3. TSEDEVSUREN, Munkhzaya (MGL)                                          
5. KOSTENKO, Valentina (RUS)          
5. YANG, Junxia (CHN)                                              
7. CHENG, Yu Ching (TPE)                                         
7. SHI, Cuijuan (CHN)                      

-70kg: IKE doubles Japan’s golden haul  

Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner IKE Erina (JPN) won her second IJF Grand Prix gold medal with a bold display on day two in Qingdao. IKE, who finished a notable fifth at the Tokyo Grand Slam last year, faced former World Judo Masters winner HWANG Ye-Sul (KOR) in the final as the South Korean standout was fighting for the very first time in 2016. IKE took a commanding lead with a waza-ari as she held down the South Korean for 17 seconds as the latter escaped to keep the contest and her gold medal hopes alive. The Japanese judoka went back to the same technique seconds later and this time there was to be no escape as HWANG was powerless to resist her young opponent. 

In the first semi-final Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Katie-Jemima YEATS-BROWN (GBR) lost out to HWANG by a yuko which came after 25 seconds with a determined uchi-mata which caught the Brit by surprise. In the second semi-final IKE saw off four-time Grand Prix winner CHEN Fei (CHN) on shido penalties after four scoreless minutes of judo. CHEN was penalised twice while IKE was reprimanded once and the home fighter moved down into one of the two bronze medals contests.

The first bronze medal was claimed by CHEN who bested Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Iana DIBRINA (RUS). The home judoka held down her Russian opponent for 15 seconds with a mune-gatame and the Russian elected to tap out and concede the contest. The second bronze medal was captured by YEATS-BROWN as Russia were again denied a -70kg medal. PROKOPENKO, who was bidding for a first IJF medal, failed with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi and was then thrown for a waza-ari before the former gymnast from Kent pinned down her opponent for 15 seconds. 
IKE, Erina (JPN) vs HWANG, Ye-Sul (KOR)                                             

Bronze Medal Fights
CHEN, Fei (CHN) vs DIBRINA, Iana (RUS)                                         
PROKOPENKO, Alena (RUS) vs YEATS-BROWN, Katie-Jemima (GBR)              

Final Results
1. IKE, Erina (JPN)                                              
2. HWANG, Ye-Sul (KOR)                                                                                           
3. CHEN, Fei (CHN)        
3. YEATS-BROWN, Katie-Jemima (GBR)                                             
5. DIBRINA, Iana (RUS)                                           
5. PROKOPENKO, Alena (RUS)   
7. SHANG, Liu-Yu (TPE)                                           
7. SHAO, Nan (CHN)                                      


-73kg: Russian KURZHEV ends his wait for Grand Prix gold                  
Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Uali KURZHEV (RUS) has pushed himself to the forefront of Ezio GAMBA’S plans after winning his first Grand Slam and Grand Prix titles in the last six months. KURZHEV won his country’s Grand Slam in Tyumen and has now topped the Grand Prix podium after denying Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist SAIYINJIRIGALA (CHN) a home victory. The Russian was penalised after 51 seconds for passivity but produced the first and only score in the gold medal contest with a spinning ko-soto-gake for ippon with 94 seconds remaining. 

In the first semi-final SAIYINJIRIGALA held down Taipei Asian Open silver medallist CHUANG Shang Chin (TPE) for 15 seconds for his second and match-winning waza-ari. In the second semi-final IJF World Judo Tour tyro TAKEUCHI Nobuyasu (JPN) was thrown by KURZHEV with a ko-soto-gari for ippon after one minute. 

The first bronze medal contest saw a straightforward victory for TAKEUCHI against tai-otoshi artist YANG Yifan (CHN). TAKEUCHI scored a yuko with an uchi-mata before adding a waza-ari with a tai-otoshi of his own and the Japanese sealed a fine performance by holding down a well-beaten YANG with a mune-gatame for 15 seconds. The second bronze medal went to former Jeju World Cup silver medallist LEE Young Jun (KOR) who bested CHUANG to win his first IJF Grand Prix medal. LEE fell into the hold down and controlled CHUANG for the full 20 seconds for the maximum score to continue his country’s strong start to the medal action on day two.                        


KURZHEV, Uali (RUS) vs SAIYINJIRIGALA, (CHN)            

Bronze Medal Fights
TAKEUCHI, Nobuyasu (JPN) vs YANG, Yifan (CHN)                                          
LEE, Young Jun (KOR) vs CHUANG, Shang Chin (TPE)                            

Final Results
1. KURZHEV, Uali (RUS)  
2. SAIYINJIRIGALA, (CHN)                                  
3. TAKEUCHI, Nobuyasu (JPN)  
3. LEE, Young Jun (KOR)                              
5. YANG, Yifan (CHN)                                                                                          
5. CHUANG, Shang Chin (TPE)                                                                                                             
7. PARK, Seung (KOR)                                            
7. CHENG, Fei-Fang (TPE)                                     

-81kg: South Korea unearth new -81kg star in former YOG winner LEE  

LEE Jaehyung (KOR) was the hero for South Korea as he struck -81kg gold on day two in Qingdao. LEE arrived in China without any senior results but an accomplished record as a teenager including winning the 2010 Youth Olympics Games in Singapore. The South Korean beat Rio 2016 Olympic champion Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) to win the YOG title while future world silver medallist TOTH Krisztian (HUN) joined them on the podium as a bronze medallist. LEE faced two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist and -81kg newcomer Nick DELPOPOLO (USA) in the final today and took the contest to the American. A ko-uchi-gari from LEE scored a waza-ari and both judoka collected shidos as the tactically astute Asian fighter won his first IJF World Judo Tour final and will be one to look out for in this new Olympic cycle.  

In the first semi-final Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner NYAMSUREN Dagvasuren (MGL) surprisingly fell to 23-year-old LEE by a yuko score as the top seed was stopped in his pursuit of gold and turned his attention to bronze. In the second semi-final 21-year-old former Junior European Cup winner Elemer SZOCS (ROU) was beaten by DELPOPOLO by a yuko after 20 seconds of golden score.

The first bronze medal was won by German European Cup bronze medallist Etienne BRIAND (CAN) as he saw off SZOCS on shido penalties 1:2. The second bronze medal was won by top seed NYAMSUREN who salvaged a medal for his country despite failing to invigorate the category as many expected. The Mongolian narrowly defeated 18-year-old rookie SU Rilige (CHN) by a yuko and held on after being under a torrent of pressure in the closing minute.
DELPOPOLO, Nick (USA) vs LEE, Jaehyung (KOR)                       

Bronze Medal Fights
SZOCS, Elemer (ROU) vs BRIAND, Etienne (CAN)                                  
SU, Rilige (CHN) vs NYAMSUREN, Dagvasuren (MGL)                                       

Final Result
1. LEE, Jaehyung (KOR)                                                                                  
2. DELPOPOLO, Nick (USA)                                                
3. BRIAND, Etienne (CAN)                                                                          
3. NYAMSUREN, Dagvasuren (MGL)                                         
5. SZOCS, Elemer (ROU)    
5. SU, Rilige (CHN)  
7. KHABACHIROV, Murat (RUS)                          
7. XIE, Yadong (CHN)    

Friday, November 18, 2016

Qingdao Grand Prix 2016 - China DAY ONE

Irresistible Russia hit the gold medal trail in China     

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


The final edition of the Qingdao Grand Prix burst into life on Friday as the fast-paced and free-flowing lightweights fought for the five titles at stake on day one at the Qingdao Guoxin Stadium. 

The final Grand Prix of the year is also the final instalment of Grand Prix judo in Qindao as China’s marquee judo competition will move next year to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia in the north of the country.

Three women’s categories and two men’s categories were contested on Friday as the women’s -48kg, -52kg and -57kg judoka and the men’s -60kg and -66kg athletes were looking to win the final Qingdao Grand Prix medals.

The parade of the flags during a colourful opening ceremony 

Ahead of the final block, the delegations and judo fans were treated to the opening ceremony which opened with a parade of the flags of the 15 competing nations. The national anthem of People’s Republic of China was followed by the opening speech from Mrs. QIAO Yunping, Deputy Director General of Shandong Sports Bureau.

“I welcome everyone to China for the Qingdao Grand Prix 2016,” said the former table tennis world champion and Atlanta 1996 Olympic silver medallist. “I wish you all a lot of success and thank you for your support. We hope you will enjoy the competition and our country.”

Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA, IJF Education and Coaching Director, officially opened the penultimate IJF event of 2016 before the IJF Anthem signalled the conclusion of the opening ceremony.

“Dear delegates, athletes, officials, coaches, ladies and gentleman, I welcome you all to China on behalf of the IJF. I declare the Qingdao Grand Prix 2016 open,” said Mr. MERIDJA.

Russia reigned on day one in China as they won two gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal ahead of hosts China who finished second with two gold medals, one silver and four bronze medals.

Day two of the final Qingdao Grand Prix will see four weight categories in action at the Diamond Hall as the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories will compete alongside the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories with four more winners set be crowned in China.

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-48kg: LI leads the way for high-flying hosts in the lightweight category    

Former Pan American Open bronze medallist LI Yanan (CHN) won her first Grand Prix gold medal in the first final in Qingdao on Friday. Tashkent Grand Prix winner Mariia PERSIDSKAIA (RUS) was the favourite in the gold medal contest despite giving up home advantage to LI. A shido against PERSIDSKAIA was the only time the referee was called up upon during the four minute final as LI celebrated a golden start for China.        

In the first semi-final PERSIDSKAIA ousted YIN Lingling (CHN) by a yuko as the teenage home fighter took her opponent the full distance. The yuko from PERSIDSKAIA was the only score of the contest as YIN slipped down into the bronze medal contest and the former moved into the -48kg gold medal contest. In the second semi-final 20-year-old IJF World Judo Tour debutant GUAN Xiaoxian (CHN) lost out to LI who prevailed by a yuko score in a traditionally tight contest between two teammates.

The first bronze medal contest was won by GUAN who beat teammate YANG Shuang (CHN). GUAN held down YANG, who had fifth and seventh place finishes at her home Grand Prix in previous years, for a waza-ari score which proved enough as a barrage of seoi-nage attacks from YANG was too little too late. The second bronze medal was won by YIN over 22-year-old seoi-nage specialist LIN Chu Yun (TPE). The scoreboard was all square after four minutes as both judoka had two shidos and no scores to force the contest into golden score. A shido for LIN handed the contest and bronze medal to the Chinese competitor as the hosts kept both -48kg bronze medals in the country.                     
PERSIDSKAIA, Mariia (RUS) vs LI, Yanan (CHN)                    
Bronze Medal Fights
GUAN, Xiaoxian (CHN) vs YANG, Shuang (CHN)                                            
YIN, Lingling (CHN) vs LIN, Chu Yun (TPE)                    

Final Results
1. LI, Yanan (CHN)                                          
2. PERSIDSKAIA, Mariia (RUS)                                                             
3. GUAN, Xiaoxian (CHN)                                             
3. YIN, Lingling (CHN)                         
5. YANG, Shuang (CHN)                                                                                             
5. LIN, Chu Yun (TPE)                        
7. GAO, Jun-Ying (TPE)                                        
7. WONG, Ka Lee (HKG)          

-52kg: CHEN captures Chinese gold            

World number 115 CHEN Chen (CHN) will skyrocket up the world rankings after winning her country’s Grand Prix by beating Orenburg European Cup bronze medallist Galiya SAGITOVA (RUS) in the -52kg final. CHEN, who was fifth here in 2012, won the scoreless final on shido penalties as SAGITOVA was reprimanded for not attacking and then again for passivity while the former was only penalised once. China and Russia were the two leading nations in Qingdao and on this occasion it was the home nation who prospered. 

CHEN (white) in quarter-final action against LAU (HKG)  

In the first semi-final little-known CHEN Wei (CHN) lost out to SAGITOVA in golden score by a shido for passivity. At the end of regulation time both judoka had a shido with CHEN being penalised for dropping and SAGITOVA for not taking a grip. SAGITOVA pressed the action in golden score and after three a half minutes the referee had seen enough to penalise the Chinese judoka. In the second semi-final former Orenburg European Cup bronze medallist Natalia PAVLOVA (RUS) was defeated by CHEN who guaranteed herself a home Grand Prix medal at her third attempt after winning by a yuko score.

The first bronze medal was clinched by Taipei Asian Open winner CHEN Chin-Ying (TPE) who scored a yuko and followed up in ne-waza by freeing a leg to apply the osaekomi for 20 seconds and ippon. CHEN looked impressive as she won her country’s second medal of the competition by countering a tani-otoshi and overpowering the Russian on the ground. The second bronze medal was won by CHEN who emphatically dismissed 17-year-old Junior Asian Cup medallist Annie LAU (HKG) after just 14 seconds with a textbook sode-tsurikomi-goshi for ippon.                                        
SAGITOVA, Galiya (RUS) vs CHEN, Chen (CHN)                                

Bronze Medal Fights
PAVLOVA, Natalia (RUS) vs CHEN, Chin-Ying (TPE)                                       
CHEN, Wei (CHN) vs LAU, Annie (HKG)                                         

Final Results
1. CHEN, Chen (CHN)                                 
2. SAGITOVA, Galiya (RUS)
3. CHEN, Chin-Ying (TPE)                                         
3. CHEN, Wei (CHN)                                           
5. PAVLOVA, Natalia (RUS)       
5. LAU, Annie (HKG)                                                            
7. GU, Xiaowei (CHN)                          

-57kg: Russian youngster KONKINA shows promise for the table toppers in China      

Tashkent Grand Prix winner Anastasiia KONKINA won back-to-back Grand Prix gold for the first time in her young career as she thwarted first time Grand Prix finalist LIN Yuanyuan (CHN). KONKINA, 22, opposed LIN for the first time and took command of their final with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata before utilising the same technique for a match-winning waza-ari. LIN was fighting on home soil on the IJF World Judo Tour for the third time and finally had a silver medal to show for her perseverance while KONKINA showed that she has a bright future ahead of her on the road to Tokyo 2020.    

In the first semi-final KONKINA defeated 21-year-old former Junior Asian Championships winner LEE Hsin-Yun (TPE). KONKINA submitted LEE with a juji-gatame having been a waza-ari in front as Russia made sure they would feature heavily in the final block. In the second semi-final FENG Xuemei (CHN), who has never fought outside of China, fell to colleague LIN Yuanyuan (CHN) who was competing at the Qingdao Grand Prix for the third time. LIN pinned down her countrywoman for 20 seconds and a place in the gold medal contest.

The first bronze medal was won by beaten semi-finalist FENG who saw off 27-year-old LI Xiandong (CHN) whose only previous IJF World Judo Tour competition was the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. The contest was even at the end of regular time and LI was penalised in golden score for dropping to gift the contest to her teammate FENG who originally led with a ko-uchi-gake which was followed by a yuko from an osoto for LI. The second bronze medal was won by Asian Championships bronze medallist YAMAMOTO Anzu (JPN) who put on a clinic against LEE. The 22-year-old Japanese, who has been left out of her country’s team for the Tokyo Grand Slam in two weeks’ time, scored a yuko from a seoi-nage, a waza-ari from an ouchi-gari and completed a full house of score with ippon from a ko-uchi-gari.       

KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS) vs LIN, Yuanyuan (CHN)             

Bronze Medal Fights
LI, Xiandong (CHN) vs FENG, Xuemei (CHN)       
LEE, Hsin-Yun (TPE) vs YAMAMOTO, Anzu (JPN)                         


Final Results 
1. KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS)                         
2. LIN, Yuanyuan (CHN)                                        
3. FENG, Xuemei (CHN)                     
3. YAMAMOTO, Anzu (JPN)                                                   
5. LI, Xiandong (CHN)                                
5. LEE, Hsin-Yun (TPE)                                
7. LEUNG, Po Sum (HKG)                                          
7. LKHAGVATOGOO, Enkhriilen (MGL)                   


-60kg: DASHDAVAA finds form in Qingdao to close in on the world’s best     

Former world silver medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) bounced back from a below-par outing in Uzbekistan in his last competition to win gold at the Qingdao Grand Prix with victory over Casablanca African Open silver medallist Islam YASHUEV (RUS). DASHDAVAA, who was fifth in Tashkent, led the final with a waza-ari from a pure te-waza attack and won the final with a tate-shiho-gatame hold for 15 seconds. The Mongolian star, who started the day as the world number seven, winked at the camera after winning his fifth Grand Prix gold medal.     

In the first semi-final DASHDAVAA bested 19-year-old YANG Yung Wei (TPE). The Mongolian produced a yuko from a ura-nage which was the only score of the content as Junior Asian Championships bronze medallist YANG was a worthy opponent but could not push his opponent. In the second semi-final YASHUEV fought off teammate Sayan KHERTEK (RUS) who finished fifth at the Tyumen Grand Slam this year. KHERTEK made a tentative start as he was penalised twice for passivity and YASHUEV asserted himself to hold down his countryman for 20 seconds and ippon with a mune-gatame in the first semi-final on day one.  

The first bronze medal was won by KHERTEK who was a convincing winner against 2013 World Championships competitor TANG Xiaolong (CHN). The Russian led by a waza-ari from a beautiful shoulder throw having threatened with his seoi-nage in the opening minute of the contest. KHERTEK added a yuko before pinning a mismatched TANG for 15 seconds with a yoko-shiho-gatame to win by wazari-awasette-ippon. The second bronze medal was won by teenager YANG who showed a wide repertoire of techniques against former Taipei Asian Open silver medallist SU Rilege (CHN). SU was penalised for passivity after he made a negative start while YANG came close to troubling the scoreboard with persistent ashi-waza attacks. YANG added a yuko with 33 seconds left before wrapping up the win in osaekomi to capture his first IJF World Judo Tour medal.  


DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL) vs YASHUEV, Islam (RUS)                 

Bronze Medal Fights
TANG, Xiaolong (CHN) vs KHERTEK, Sayan (RUS)                                            
YANG, Yung Wei (TPE) vs SU, Rilege (CHN)               


Final Results
1. DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)  
2. YASHUEV, Islam (RUS)                                  
3. KHERTEK, Sayan (RUS)                                               
3. YANG, Yung Wei (TPE)                                               
5. TANG, Xiaolong (CHN)                                           
5. SU, Rilege (CHN)                
7. YANG, Chun-Ting (TPE)                                      
7. MUN, Gilju (KOR)                                       

-66kg: ABDULZHALILOV pips teammate to top spot for Russia            

Former Miami Grand Prix winner Abdula ABDULZHALILOV (RUS) topped an IJF Grand Prix medal podium for the first time since 2013 as he saw off teammate and Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Anzaur ARDANOV (RUS) to win -66kg gold. World number 58 ABDULZHALILOV was the leading man with three wins by ippon from his four contests including the final which came courtesy of a hold down which started inside the area and moved outside as ARDANOV tried but failed to free himself from the grasp of his game colleague.  

ABDULZHALILOV (blue) in semi-final action against DOVDON (MGL)

In the first semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist and top seed DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) fell to ABDULZHALILOV by ippon while in the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Andraz JEREB (SLO) succumbed to ARDANOV by a waza-ari score in a close contest.

The first bronze medal was won by IJF World Judo Tour newcomer TAGAWA Kenzo (JPN) as he upstaged world number 16 JEREB. The 20-year-old Japanese fighter threw his Slovenian opponent after 25 seconds with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi which proved to be the only score of the contest. The second bronze medal went to DOVDON who registered the smallest score possible to see off 20-year-old former Taipei Asian Open bronze medallist QING Daga (CHN). A yuko was the difference as the Mongolian held down QING with a kata-gatame for 10 seconds before the latter escaped in the closing minute of the contest. 
ABDULZHALILOV, Abdula (RUS) vs ARDANOV, Anzaur (RUS)                                      

Bronze Medal Fights
TAGAWA, Kenzo (JPN) vs JEREB, Andraz (SLO)                                           
DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL) vs QING, Daga (CHN)                           

Final Result
2. ARDANOV, Anzaur (RUS)                                                                                       
3. TAGAWA, Kenzo (JPN)                                                  
3. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)                                
5. JEREB, Andraz (SLO)                                               
5. QING, Daga (CHN)                                                                              
7. REN, Jiawen (CHN)                                      
7. NAKANO, Shugen (PHI)