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Judo Grand Slam: Georgia, Canada & Mongolia on Top at Tbilisi 2021

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The final day of the 2021 Tbilisi Grand Slam came to a climactic conclusion. Three countries actually won two gold medals: Mongolia (third place), Canada (second place) and Georgia (first place), while 22 have medallists and 36 placed athletes in the final block. The host country can be satisfied with this result. In a very tough and competitive context, to be among those at the top of the standings was almost guaranteed for Georgia, but the first place was anything but certain.

Georgian Throws a Giant in over 100kg Final

Georgian powerhouse Gela Zaalishvili gave the home nation so much to cheer for, throwing big for one Ippon after another, all through his preliminary contests. In the over 100 kilo-final, he stunned onlookers by launching the Brazilian World and Olympic medallist Rafael Silva through the air! The young Georgian had unstoppable raw power. Some of which he saved to celebrate with his coach.

“I’m always ready to fight for my country, for my homeland. I think this is the right way to live, I put in big effort, I always train hard, and always try to win,” explains Zaalishvili. “This gives me psychological strength, and belief in myself. This gives me big power.”

Final

SILVA, Rafael (BRA) vs. ZAALISHVILI, Gela (GEO)

Bronze Medal Contests

INANEISHVILI, Saba (GEO) vs. ERDOGAN, Cemal (TUR)

SARNACKI, Maciej (POL) vs. GRANDA, Andy (CUB)

Final Results

1. ZAALISHVILI, Gela (GEO)

2. SILVA, Rafael (BRA)

3. GRANDA, Andy (CUB)

3. INANEISHVILI, Saba (GEO)

5. ERDOGAN, Cemal (TUR)

5. SARNACKI, Maciej (POL)

7. HEGYI, Stephan (AUT)

7. YUSUPOV, Alisher (UZB)

Putting in the groundwork at the under 90kg Final

At the under 90kg event, veteran groundwork specialist Marcus Nyman won in typical style, a hold-down secured him his first Grand Slam Gold in 5 years. Nyman’s greater height disturbed Mungai, his Italian opponent, who had some difficulties getting close to him, but what is maybe even more dangerous with the Swede is his skill in ne-waza. An expert sequence finally caught Mungai with a strong immobilisation for ippon and Nyman’s third victory in a grand slam. The President of the International Judo Federation Mr Marius Vizer presented the medals.

Final

MUNGAI, Nicholas (ITA) vs. NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)

Bronze Medal Contests

BOBONOV, Davlat (UZB) vs. KOCHMAN, Li (ISR)

JANDREEV, Shermukhammad (UZB) vs. GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL)

Final Results

1. NYMAN, Marcus (SWE)

2. MUNGAI, Nicholas (ITA)

3. BOBONOV, Davlat (UZB)

3. GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL)

5. JANDREEV, Shermukhammad (UZB)

5. KOCHMAN, Li (ISR)

7. BOZBAYEV, Islam (KAZ)

7. BROWN, Colton (USA)

Woman of the Day

Our woman of the day was China’s Xu Shiyan – a big Ura Nage was the highlight of the over 78kg final, giving her a first-ever Grand Slam Gold. She was awarded her medal by IJF Sport Director, Mr Armen Bagdasarov.

“Because of love. I think because I’m a young athlete I need to prepare more for all competitions, especially for the IJF World Tour and the Olympics,” Shiyan says. “But now i’m young, I love judo, so i’m very passionate”

Final

NUNES, Rochele (POR) vs. XU, Shiyan (CHN)

Bronze Medal Contests

HERSHKO, Raz (ISR) vs. SOUZA, Beatriz (BRA)

ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA) vs. WANG, Yan (CHN)

Final Results

1. XU, Shiyan (CHN)

2. NUNES, Rochele (POR)

3. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen(BRA)

3. SOUZA, Beatriz (BRA)

5. HERSHKO, Raz (ISR)

5. WANG, Yan (CHN)

7. KALANINA, Yelyzaveta (UKR)

7. SLUTSKAYA, Maryna (BLR)

Canada Clinches under 100kg title

In the under 100kg category, Canada’s Shady Elnahas climbed to the top of the podium. He defeated home favourite Sulamanidze in the final, catching the Georgian with a last-minute Kouchi gari, and holding out for the win! Mr Mikhail Kaveleshvili, MP and Chairperson of the Sports & Youth Issues Committee handed Shady his long-awaited gold medal.

Double Dutch in the under 78kg Final

Meanwhile, the under-78kg final was an all dutch affair. As is usually the case when two athletes from the same country meet in the final block, both struggled to take the upper hand, until a sequence on the floor that looked like any other but allowed Natascha Ausma to force a submission with a clinical strangle, but in true Judo Fashion immediately check on her friend and opponent – Karen Stevenson. Mr Sergey Soloveychik, Vice President of the IJF and President of the European Judo Union, awarded the medals.

Final

AUSMA, Natascha (NED) vs. STEVENSON, Karen (NED)

Bronze Medal Contests

GRAF, Bernadette (AUT) vs. LANIR, Inbar (ISR)

MA, Zhenzhao (CHN) vs. BABINTSEVA, Aleksandra (RUS)

Final Results

1. AUSMA, Natascha (NED)

2. STEVENSON, Karen (NED)

3. LANIR, Inbar (ISR)

3. MA, Zhenzhao (CHN)

5. BABINTSEVA, Aleksandra (RUS)

5. GRAF, Bernadette (AUT)

7. BROLIH, Patricija (SLO)

7. SHMELEVA, Antonina (RUS)

Plenty more to come

The Georgian Judo juggernaut kept rolling on day 3 – so many dynamic fighters, putting on an epic Judo show. Young up and comers shone through much of the day, defeating household names and Champions. The competition came to a fitting end with Georgia on top of the podium, once again.

Mr Florin Daniel Lascau, IJF Sport Director & Acting Referee Director presented the coveted medal to the Georgian victor, who shared the moment with his teammate beside him on the podium. Concluding yet another gripping tournament for the International Judo Federation.

Join us on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in Antalya, for a new grand slam in less than a week to continue to follow the adventure of the Olympic qualification races.

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Portugal doesn’t have a big tradition of winter sports but there are some chasing the Olympic dream

portugal-doesn’t-have-a-big-tradition-of-winter-sports-but-there-are-some-chasing-the-olympic-dream

Portugal doesn't have a big tradition of winter sports but there are some chasing the Olympic dream

Portugal doesn’t have a big tradition of winter sports, but the country has at least two athletes aiming to reach the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, even if their preparation is on wheels.

25-year-old José Cabeça’s has achieved what no one had ever done before: a performance at a world championship that allows him to represent Portugal in a cross-country skiing event in Beijing.

Not bad for someone who learnt to ski in just one year in order to fulfil his Olympic dream.

“People ask – how is it possible that in one year he goes from not being able to ski to be in a position to make it to the Olympics and become the first Portuguese to qualify through the world championships?” says Cabeça.

“There’s a lot of hard work for several years, obviously not in skiing. Triathlon has played a key role. I’ve managed to learn, little by little and all by myself. I don’t have a skiing coach. I’ve learnt with other athletes and by watching videos.”

Cabeça started his cross-country skiing adventure about a year and a half ago in France, where he lived for two and a half months to “be able to train”, because “it is impossible in Portugal”.

A few months later, in February this year, he reached the high point of his early career in the sport, with a score at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Germany, that opened a spot for Portugal at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

From roller to ice speed skating

Diogo Marreiros is a silver medalist in the 10km roller speed skating world championships. He switched to ice to fulfil his Olympic dream.

Currently, he trains almost every day in Lagos on one of the two tracks suitable for this sport in the region and he’s positive about the challenge of training conditions for winter sports in Portugal.

“At this time of year, ice speed skaters travel to warm countries and keep their form with lots of cycling and roller skating. Being far is not a big problem as all the skaters are currently away from the ice,” says Marreiros.

Marreiros first put skates on at the age of four and won his first European Championship medal at 16.

The 29-year-old skater has accumulated medals on wheels ever since, including European vice-champion and the world vice-champion 10km Pontos.

Over the last four years, he has been preparing over the winter season in Germany and the Netherlands, where he has been improving his “technique and physical shape,” allowing him to “qualify for the world cups” scheduled for the end of the year.

He’s even launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund his preparation on ice and train in the Netherlands.

His ranking in the world cups taking place over four weekends in a row in Poland, Norway, Canada and the United States from 14 November to 14 December will determine if he will be in China in February.

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Nyman offers a masterclass on closing day of Antalya Grand Slam

nyman-offers-a-masterclass-on-closing-day-of-antalya-grand-slam

By Richard Good
 & International Judo Federation

Nyman offers a masterclass on closing day of Antalya Grand Slam

On the final day of the Antalya Grand Slam, it was the turn of the heavyweights to put on their show. And Sweden’s Marc Nyman offered a masterclass in newaza, or floor-based judo, taking the -90kg title with a golden score wazari against Hungary’s Krisztian Toth.

Dr Laszlo Toth, the president of the Hungarian Judo Association, handed out the medals.

The 2018 World Champion Shori Hamada offered her own demonstration of precision newaza throughout the day and she claimed her third Grand Slam gold medal with victory over Poland’s Beata Pacut in the -78kg final.

Skander Hachicha, the president of the Tunisian Judo Federation, made the presentations.

Hershko digs deep for first-ever Grand Slam gold

Azerbaijan’s Zelim Kotsoiev won a tactical final against Aaron Wolf of Japan to take his first-ever Grand Slam Gold in the -100kg category.

IJF Events Director, Dr Lisa Allan presented the medals.

Israel’s Raz Hershko won her first-ever Grand Slam in an exciting finale to the +78kg contest against China’s Xu Shiyan. With Hershko a wazari up, Xu scored on the buzzer to take the match to a golden score. But Hershko dug deep with a second wazari to claim the gold.

Ki-Young Jeon, the IJF referee supervisor, gave out the medals.

“Wow, it was crazy. I didn’t know what to do with myself,” said Hershko afterwards. “I was so excited so the first thing I did was scream and shout like crazy because I said ‘wow I won this fight’. It was so dramatic and it was my win, it was my first win and it was a big win and I’m so happy.”

Remarkable ippon secures gold for Bashaev

And in the +100kg contest, Russia’s Tamerlan Bashaev was on top form throughout the day, storming through the preliminaries to set up a final against World and Olympic Silver Medallist Harasawa Hisayoshi. It was Bashaev who took the contest, with a remarkable ippon.

Florin Daniel Lascau, the acting IJF refereeing director, presented him with his medal.

“I think it’s a part of judo,” Bashaev said afterwards. “Because when we fight, when I win against my opponent it’s like I destroyed his dream, so I can’t be like, oh I’m the best.”

The home athletes also enjoyed some fine successes throughout the three days of the tournament, contributing to an incredible festival of judo in Antalya, Turkey.

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Judo Grand Slam: Georgian judoka take early lead in Tbilisi

judo-grand-slam:-georgian-judoka-take-early-lead-in-tbilisi

Slick judo displays all around leave five countries with five gold medals at the close of day 1 at the International Judo Federation’s 2021 Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia.

There is no crowd at the Tbilisi Grand Slam, in keeping with the need to preserve the health of the community, but there are, however, three tatami and offensive, risky judo on offer.

After one day of competition, Georgia already takes the lead with three finals for one gold medal, but Uzbekistan and Italy are not far behind, with only one silver medal difference, while Mongolia and Kosovo are close too. The results show a great diversity of countries, with 5 countries having already won at least one gold medal. Altogether, 14 countries won a medal on day 1 and 23 were represented in the final block.

In judo circles, Georgia is sometimes known as ‘the land of Champions’ and Temur Nozadze certainly lived up to that title, showing the World what Georgian Judo is all about. The young and explosive fighter tore through the competition with one spectacular throw after another. After narrowly missing out on Gold in Tel Aviv last month, Nozadze stood atop his first Grand Slam podium, doing his home country proud.

“It is a big honour for me to fight here in my home of Georgia, it inspires me to work even harder to fight in the biggest and most epic tournaments in the World,” the under-60kg champion told reporters.

Final

NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB) vs. NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)

Bronze Medal Contests

SAIDABUROROV, Shahboz (TJK) vs. TSJAKADOEA, Tornike (NED)

HUSEYNOV, Karamat (AZE) vs. SIMEONIDIS, Konstantin (RUS)

Final Results

1. NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)

2. NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB)

3. HUSEYNOV, Karamat (AZE)

3. SAIDABUROROV, Shahboz (TJK)

5. SIMEONIDIS, Konstantin (RUS)

5. TSJAKADOEA, Tornike (NED)

7. ENKHTAIVAN, Ariunbold (MGL)

7. VEREDYBA, Oleh (UKR)

-52kg: GIUFFRIDA Stops GILES For Gold

The under 48kg Veteran

The light categories opened the competition that will end on Sunday, with the enthusiasm of the newcomers and the determination of the old guard. There was particular interest in seeing Mongolian Urantsetseg Munkhbat who was tipped as the woman to beat in Tbilisi. Following on from her third place in Doha, during the World Judo Masters and her title in Tashkent two weeks ago, the Mongolian, world champion in 2013 and still very competitive, qualified once again for the final of a World Judo Tour event. This secured her a 39th medal on the circuit, not counting her three world medals.

Spanish rivalry and the underdog

We also expected the confrontation between the two Spaniards, Laura Martinez Abelenda and Julia Figueroa, while they still race towards an Olympic selection. It was Julia Figueroa who seemed to gain the upper hand over her compatriot on the other side of the draw, as she qualified for the semi-final, but her road to the podium was suddenly blocked when she was defeated by the Italian Francesca Milani, who was not among the seeds when warming up at the beginning of the day. With no record on the World Judo Tour so far, Milani can certainly be proud of an amazing competition day.

Unsurprisingly Urantsetseg Munkhbat won the gold medal but Milani certainly gave it her all with courage and determination. The seasoned Mongolian was too powerful for her young opponent and after several attempts on the floor, finally concluded with an immobilisation that was awarded ippon, just one second before the end of the match.

Laura Martinez Abelenda and Julia Figueroa thus eventually met for the bronze medal. Knowing one another perfectly, it took more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds for Figueroa to finally score with a beautiful o-uchi-gari, to reinforce her lead over her teammate for the Olympic qualification.

Final

MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL) vs. MILANI, Francesca (ITA)

Bronze Medal Contests

MARTINEZ ABELENDA, Laura (ESP) vs. FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP)

COSTA, Catarina (POR) vs. STANGAR, Marusa (SLO)

Final Results

1. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)

2. MILANI, Francesca (ITA)

3. FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP)

3. STANGAR, Marusa (SLO)

5. COSTA, Catarina (POR)

5. MARTINEZ ABELENDA, Laura (ESP)

7. PETIT, Lois (BEL)

7. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)

Italy versus Britain in under-52kg heat

Silver medallist at the last Olympic Games, Italian judoka Odette Giuffrida, also winner of the 2020 European Championships, perfectly fulfilled her role as the favourite at this Grand Slam. She qualified for the final against the Brit Chelsie Giles, gold medallist in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, thus demonstrating that her victory in Israel was not by chance.

Almost ten minutes were necessary for Odette Giuffrida to stop Chelsie Giles from winning her second grand slam gold medal in a row, but that was close as neither of the two champions was able to find the slightest throwing opportunity, between the failed tai-otoshi attempt of the Italian and the no more successful uchi-mata of Giles, both showed they are getting ready for the Olympic rendezvous this summer and since the Italian already did it five years ago in Rio, anything is possible.

Final

GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA) vs. GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

Bronze Medal Contests

RAMOS, Joana (POR) vs. PIMENTA, Larissa (BRA)

PUPP, Reka (HUN) vs. LEVYTSKA-SHUKVANI, Tetiana (GEO)

Final Results

1. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)

2. GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

3. PUPP, Reka (HUN)

3. RAMOS, Joana (POR)

5. LEVYTSKA-SHUKVANI, Tetiana (GEO)

5. PIMENTA, Larissa (BRA)

7. DELGADO, Angelica (USA)

7. VAN KREVEL, Naomi (NED)

-66kg: Georgian Judoka Surprises Everyone

In the -66kg category final we again found a Georgian athlete, Vazha Margvelashvili. This is not really a surprise since the bronze medallist of the last World Judo Masters was seeded number one in the competition. In the final, he faced the number 4 seed, Uzbek Sardor Nurrilaev, who climbed up one more level after his bronze medal in Tashkent two weeks ago.

It took only 20 seconds for Nurrilaev to score an impressive ippon after he had engaged an o-uchi-gari that went outside the fighting area, but in a brilliant change of direction, Nurrilaev transformed the backward momentum into a brilliant uchi-mata. Margvelashvili could only look at the referee with astonishment. The ippon was crystal clear and a good example of the fact that you should never relax until the referee actually says: ‘mate’.

Medal, flowers and cheques were presented by Mr Giorgi Atabegashvili, President of the Georgian Judo Federation and Mr Udo Quellmalz, IJF Refereeing Supervisor, Olympic and double World Champion

Final

MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO) vs. NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB)

Bronze Medal Contests

NINIASHVILI, Bagrati (GEO) vs. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)

PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS) vs. VIERU, Denis (MDA)

Final Results

1. NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB)

2. MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO)

3. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)

3. PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS)

5. NINIASHVILI, Bagrati (GEO)

5. VIERU, Denis (MDA)

7. ABDELMAWGOUD, Mohamed (EGY)

7. TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB)

-57kg: GJAKOVA Shows Strength to Win Gold

A Georgian athlete in the final illustrated once again the rise of local female competitors. Eteri Liparteliani is not a complete unknown however, having been junior world champion in 2019. She continues to assert herself on the World Judo Tour and won a beautiful bronze medal in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago. We must also remember that in the semi-final she eliminated the reigning world champion, the Canadian Christa Deguchi, who returned to competition at this grand slam. In the final, Liparteliani found Kosovan Nora Gjakova, another regular on the international circuit.

The least we can say is that both women put an incredible amount of energy and power into the final and into controlling the upper part of the body. In that game, Gjakova came out on top. After scoring a waza-ari, she controlled the rest of the match to win the gold. It is now certain that it is not the last time that we will see LIPARTELIANI at that level of competition.

Medal, flowers and cheques were presented by Dr Lisa Allan, Events Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Shengeli Pitskhelauri, World Bronze Medallist & European medallist

Final

LIPARTELIANI, Eteri (GEO) vs. GJAKOVA, Nora (KOS)

Bronze Medal Contests

MEZHETSKAIA, Daria (RUS) vs. KAJZER, Kaja (SLO)

PERISIC, Marica (SRB) vs. DEGUCHI, Christa (CAN)

Final Results

1. GJAKOVA, Nora (KOS)

2. LIPARTELIANI, Eteri (GEO)

3. DEGUCHI, Christa (CAN)

3. MEZHETSKAIA, Daria (RUS)

5. KAJZER, Kaja (SLO)

5. PERISIC, Marica (SRB)

7. KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS)

7. NASCIMENTO, Ketelyn (BRA)

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