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Judo Grand Slam: Tashkent 2021 at the apex of Judoka mastery


By Jim OHagan


Judo Grand Slam: Tashkent 2021 at the apex of Judoka mastery

The Tashkent Judo Grand Slam is underway and the 2013 World Champion from Mongolia – Munkhbat Urantsetseg was a force to be reckoned with on Day 1. She took on 2018 Masters Champion Tsunoda Natsumi.

Munkhbat landed an explosive tani otoshi, a technique she had been perfecting for this very moment.

The medals were presented by President of the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan, Mr Rustam Shoabdurakhmanov. And Munkhbat took home her first IJF World Tour gold medal since 2018.

“I was very happy to win against my Japanese opponent, because I’d been preparing this technique specifically for her,’ explains Munkhbat. “So when it worked I was overjoyed and happy.”

The man of the day was World No. 1 Nagayama Ryuju. Ever calm and collected with spectacular skills, his path to the final was full of masterclass moments in Judo technique. Nagayama bested Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Smetov in the final with a flawless drop seoi nage.

President of the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan and Vice President of the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan, Mr Azizjon Kamilov presented the medals.

“I am very grateful to be here in this competition and able to fight despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ryuju told reporters. “Also, I am delighted about this result and just feeling happy about being back to Judo again.”

In the under 52kg category, reigning World Champion Abe Uta clinched yet another Gold medal. She was presented her medal by Mr Mohammed Meridja, Education and Coaching Director of the International Judo Federation.

The under 66kg category saw An Baul defeat Mongolia’s Yondonperenlei. The medals were presented by General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Ubekistan, Mr Oybek Kosimov.

In the under 57kg category, Mr Vladimir Barta, Head Sport Director of the International Judo Federation presented the gold medal to Japan’s Tamaoki Momo. Momo earned her second Grand Slam gold after forcing Lien Cheng-Ling of Chinese Taipei into submission with a chokehold.

But the silver medalist was behind our ‘moment of the day’.

The action continues in Uzbekistan tomorrow with the middleweight bouts.

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Four arrested after police carry out search at FC Barcelona’s stadium


By Euronews with AFP, AP


A policeman enters the offices of the Barcelona Football Club on March 01, 2021 in Barcelona during a police operation inside the building

A policeman enters the offices of the Barcelona Football Club on March 01, 2021 in Barcelona during a police operation inside the building

Credit: AFP

Four people were arrested by Spanish police on Monday as part of an investigation into FC Barcelona.

The arrests came as officers searched Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium in a search and seize operation.

Spanish media said the operation was related to last year’s “Barçagate,” in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of the club and then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Local media reports Bartomeu is among those in custody.

Some of the people supposedly targeted in the Barçagate scandal included players Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqué, as well as former coach Pep Guardiola.

Barcelona had denied accusations that it hired — and overpaid — a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials.

The club later released an independent audit report showing that there was no wrongdoing.

Police in Catalonia confirmed the arrests but declined to reveal who was detained.

In a midday press release, FC Barcelona confirmed “the search of the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police force) this morning in the offices of Camp Nou, on the orders of the judge of the investigating court number 13 of Barcelona, in charge of the case of the contract for social network surveillance services” – otherwise known as Barçagate.

The club stated that it had “offered its full collaboration” to the court.

Bartomeu defended himself over Barçagate at the time, saying: “Have they been asked to monitor social networks? The answer is yes. Have they been instructed to discredit people or institutions on social networks? The answer is no. And we will prosecute all those who accuse us of that.”

Criticised by a large section of the club’s supporters, players and members, Bartomeu and his entire board of directors resigned at the end of October.

The club has been mired in political turmoil and debt prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The operation comes less than a week before presidential elections are to be held at the club.

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Dicko unstoppable in Tel Aviv Grand Slam


By Richard Good
 & International Judo Federation


Dicko unstoppable in Tel Aviv Grand Slam

The Shlomo arena in Tel Aviv came alive on the final day of a historic Judo Grand Slam.

France’s European Champion Romane Dicko was totally unstoppable in the +78kg category, coming up with huge throws throughout the day.

In the final she took on Rochele Nunes and made it look almost easy: throwing her Portuguese opponent in just 10 seconds to secure yet another IJF World tour victory.

Brigadier-General Miri Regev, Israel’s minister of transport and road safety, made the presentations.

“I was ready to fight,” said Dicko afterwards. “And I was like I have to do my best on every sequence. That was the first one, so it was good, but I was ready to fight.”

Korrel back on form

Dutch dynamo Michael Korrel was back to his usual incredible form, despatching a fantastic rostra of judoka on his way to the -100kg final.

There he met Israel’s Peter Paltchik and secured victory with a fast footsweep for a golden score waza-ari.

Hili Tropper, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports, awarded the medals.

“The tactics were not really special,” said Korrel. “But it’s just – I started playing Judo again man! Sometimes you have the pressure too much on yourself and you get more locked in the strength stuff. What I showed today is just my Judo”

Anna Maria Wagner won Germany’s first gold of the tournament in the -78kg division.

Yarden Gerbi, Olympic Medallist and World Champion presented her with her medal.

Double success for Georgia

In the -90kg final, Georgia’s Masters Champion Lasha Bekauri once again defeated former world champion Nikoloz Sherazadishvili, who competes for his adopted Spain.

Laszlo Toth, member of the IJF Coordination Committee of Directors and President of the Hungarian Judo Federation, awarded Bekauri his medal.

And Gela Zaalishvili provided more Georgian success in the +100kg category, defeating Russia’s Tamerlan Bashaev with an emphatic Ippon.

Alex Gilady, IOC Member and Vice-Chair of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Coordination Commission, awarded Zaalishvili his medal.

Incredible Ashi-Waza from Gasimov

An explosive attack from Israel’s Serafim Kompaniez was our first move of the day.

And an incredible Ashi-Waza from Azerbaijan’s Elmar Gasimov was our second, bringing to a close a memorable event in Tel Aviv.

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