The final day of the Düsseldorf Grand Slam 2017 saw Japan add two gold medals and Russia and Georgia strike gold for the first time this weekend at the ISS Dome.
Japan were the only country able to win more than one title as they finished with a medal haul of seven gold and two silver medals ahead of Russia who finished second with one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
Before the final block the German Judo Federation recognised their former champions as Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President and Mr. Peter FRESE, German Judo Federation President, awarded a trio of long-time German internationals on the stage.
Germany’s 1984 Olympic champion Frank WIENEKE (centre - right) was presented with his 8th Dan while Mr. Peter FRESE (one from the left) thanked London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian Miryam ROPER (one from the right), who won world bronze 2013, for everything she contributed while representing Germany and wished her well under the colours of Panama for who the veteran switched to in 2017.
The distinguished career of London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and double world medallist Dimitri PETERS (far right) was also celebrated after the 12-time Grand Prix medallist has officially retired from competition.
GERMAN FANS TURNED OUT IN GREAT NUMBERS TO SUPPORT THEIR JUDOKA
Following the inaugural Tunis Grand Prix, the Paris Grand Slam, and the first instalment of the Düsseldorf Grand Slam, the IJF World Judo Tour will now head for Morocco for the first Agadir Grand Prix from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 March.
Olympic champions Beslan MUDRANOV (RUS), Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) and Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO), London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Alexander MIKHAYLIN (RUS) and world champion Nemanja MAJDOV (SRB) will all travel to Africa. Düsseldorf Grand Slam silver medallist and former world champion Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) will be in action along with Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist Miryam ROPER (PAN) and Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Jorge FONSECA (POR).
Watch #JudoAgadir2018 live and free atwww.ijf.org
FORMER WWE SUPERSTAR AND IJF GUEST ANTHONY CARELLI - AKA SANTINO MARELLA IN THE SQUARED CIRCLE - WITH IJF HALL OF FAMER NEIL ADAMS
Stay tuned to the IJF's social media channels for an exclusive interview with Canada's former Junior World Championships team member and ex-national champion Anthony CARELLI who spoke about his judo background, coaching in his homeland and his first IJF World Judo Tour experience. The interview will be published on the IJF website and the IJF YouTube channel in the coming days.
-78kg: Stubborn SATO finds a way past world champion AGUIAR of Brazil
Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist SATO Ruika (JPN) won her fourth Grand Slam title with a key win over world champion Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) who had to open her season with a silver medal. SATO employed her usual combative style which put her Brazilian rival under pressure from the opening seconds which appeared to unsettle the owner of the red backpatch in the -78kg category. SATO is now a 12-time Grand Slam medallist and the two foes could potentially continue their rivalry in Baku at the 2018 World Championships.
JAPAN'S SATO (BLUE JUDOGI) IN -78KG SEMI-FINAL ACTION AGAINST POWELL OF GREAT BRITAIN
In the first semi-final world bronze medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) lost out to SATO by ippon at the halfway point for a place in the -78kg gold medal contest. In the second semi-final AGUIAR defeated Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist Klara APOTEKAR (SLO) by the maximum score.
The first bronze medal contest was won by 20-year-old APOTEKAR who squeezed past former Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Aleksandra BABINTSEVA (RUS) in golden score when the latter was penalised for a third time after two minutes of added time.
The second bronze medal was won by POWELL who produced the only score of her contest against World Judo Masters bronze medallist Karen STEVENSON (NED) when the Welsh judoka threw the world number eight with a makikomi effort for a waza-ari. POWELL is now a four-time Grand Slam medallist and pocketed 500 World Ranking List points as she moved a step closer to recapturing the world number one position.
AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA) vs SATO, Ruika (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO) vs BABINTSEVA, Aleksandra (RUS)
POWELL, Natalie (GBR) vs STEVENSON, Karen (NED)
1. SATO, Ruika (JPN)
2. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)
3. APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO)
3. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)
5. BABINTSEVA, Aleksandra (RUS)
5. STEVENSON, Karen (NED)
7. ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB)
7. MALZAHN, Luise (GER)
+78kg: Fifth Grand Slam title for Openweight world champion ASAHINA
Openweight world champion ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) has now won six of her last seven events but the Japanese starlet did it the hard way in Germany as she only produced one score in her four contests. ASAHINA, 21, of Tokai University, began her season with gold in front of her parents with persistence being the order of the day. The usually dynamic and highly-exciting judo from ASAHINA was not there today but she showed character to progress through the rounds and defeat Openweight world bronze medallist Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN) in the +78kg final. CHEIKH ROUHOU lost out when she picked up a third shido in golden score for dropping after ASAHINA had stepped up her work rate with repeat ashi-waza attacks.
In the first semi-final ASAHINA profited from a below-par performance by Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Iryna KINDZERSKA (AZE) who was penalised three times to receive hansoku-make. In the second semi-final 18-year-old Cadet Asian Championships winner KIM Hayun (KOR) received her third shido and was disqualified against Openweight world bronze medallist Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN).
The first bronze medal was awarded to KIM who beat former Cadet European Championships bronze medallist Samira BOUIZGARNE (GER) when the home judoka was penalised for being passive in golden score. As the third shido, BOUIZGARNE was disqualified in the battle of 18-year-old prospects.
The second bronze medal was won by KINDZERSKA as two-time World Judo Masters bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) was disqualified for receiving three shidos.
ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN) vs CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)
Bronze Medal Fights
KIM, Hayun (KOR) vs BOUIZGARNE, Samira (GER)
KINDZERSKA, Iryna (AZE) vs CERIC, Larisa (BIH)
1. ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)
2. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)
3. KIM, Hayun (KOR)
3. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (AZE)
5. BOUIZGARNE, Samira (GER)
5. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)
7. KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)
7. KALANINA, Yelyzaveta (UKR)
-90kg:Russian youngster upstages returning Olympic champion for gold
European u23 Championships winner Mikhail IGOLNIKOV (RUS) defeated Olympic champion BAKER Mashu (JPN) to win his maiden Grand Slam crown. The 21-year-old Russian, who was appearing in the final block at one of the IJF’s six majors for the first time, was the aggressor and threw the returning BAKER with a nidan-kosoto-gari for ippon. BAKER joked ahead of the weigh-in on Saturday night that his previously injured shoulder felt 80% while the other felt 120% and he won’t be too unhappy with silver on his comeback and first competition since 2016. The two finalists could be -90kg rivals for many years to come.
In the first semi-final World Judo Masters bronze medallist Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) was beaten by IGOLNIKOV by ippon despite originally leading by a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix winner USTOPIRIYON Komronshokh (TJK) fell to BAKER by a waza-ari score in a closely contested match.
The first bronze medal was won by Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist GANTULGA Altanbagana (MGL) who defeated USTOPIRIYON by a waza-ari score in the first contest of the final block on the last day of competition in Germany.
The second bronze medal went to high-flying SHERAZADISHVILI who beat Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Nicholas MUNGAI (ITA) by a waza-ari which was the only score of the contest.
IGOLNIKOV, Mikhail (RUS) vs BAKER, Mashu (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK) vs GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL)
SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP) vs MUNGAI, Nicholas (ITA)
1. IGOLNIKOV, Mikhail (RUS)
2. BAKER, Mashu (JPN)
3. GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL)
3. SHERAZADISHVILI, Nikoloz (ESP)
5. USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK)
5. MUNGAI, Nicholas (ITA)
7. DUDA, Davis (LAT)
7. DOVGAN, Dmitry (RUS)
-100kg: Georgia’s captain fantastic LIPARTELIANI takes over the -100kg lead
Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) took control of the -100kg category just 12 months after stepping up from -100kg with five ippons from his five contests. LIPARTELIANI, 29, clinched his first Grand Slam title since the jump as he defeated Tunis Grand Prix winner and world number 14 Ben FLETCHER (IRL) in the final. LIPARTELIANI now boasts 11 Grand Slam medals while FLETCHER is in the form of his life and would have been thrilled to scoop his country’s first ever honour at this level.
In the first semi-final LIPARTELIANI beat Openweight world silver medallist Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL) by ippon with four seconds left in their contest. In the second semi-final FLETCHER defeated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Niiaz BILALOV (RUS) when the latter was penalised for the third and final time.
The first bronze medal was won by BILALOV who caught former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner LKHAGVASUREN Otgonbaatar (MGL) with ashi-waza for a waza-ari after 66 seconds of golden score.
The second bronze medal went to Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Jorge FONSECA (POR) who countered an osoto-gari attack by NIKIFOROV with an osoto of his own in spectacular fashion.
LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO) vs FLETCHER, Ben (IRL)
Bronze Medal Fights
LKHAGVASUREN, Otgonbaatar (MGL) vs BILALOV, Niiaz (RUS)
NIKIFOROV, Toma (BEL) vs FONSECA, Jorge (POR)
1. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)
2. FLETCHER, Ben (IRL)
3. BILALOV, Niiaz (RUS)
3. FONSECA, Jorge (POR)
5. LKHAGVASUREN, Otgonbaatar (MGL)
5. NIKIFOROV, Toma (BEL)
7. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
7. SAVYTSKIY, Anton (UKR)
+100kg: No heavyweight winner as both Japanese finalists are disqualified
Olympic silver medallist HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN) and two-time Grand Slam winner OJITANI Takeshi (JPN) were not expected to produce one of best contests of the competition when they were paired together but what materialised was a attack-shy final which culminated with a first double disqualification on this stage. World number 34 HARASAWA was fighting for the first time since his shock exit in round two of the World Championships last September which was a fate that OJITANI had also experienced after a third round defeat. Both men were still bidding to redeem themselves in the eyes of the Japanese and when the opportunity presented itself today they both floundered under the bright lights of a Grand Slam final and the last contest of the competition. After a sub-standard final, both judoka received their marching orders with a double hansoku-make issued for the first time as the teammates received their third shidos simultaneously. This meant that there was no +100kg winner and the two Japanese ended with silver medals.
Mr. Juan CARLOS BARCOS, IJF Head Referee Director, explained the decision as he said: “The IJF Supervisors and our team deemed that this contest and the way it unfolded was unacceptable. There was no intention to fight from either judoka and with the recently amended rules we can now reprimand two judoka in this way. This is what we decided as there was no judoka worthy of winning in the +100kg final.”
In the first semi-final Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) picked up a third shido in an insipid display to send HARASAWA in the heavyweight final. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) narrowly lost out to OJITANI by a waza-ari.
The first bronze medal was won by IJF World Judo Tour debutant Bekbolot TOKTOGONOV (KGZ) who bested teammate KRAKOVETSKII by ippon to mark a memorable first experience of the international circuit. While the method of victory will be recorded as ippon, it did not come from a score but rather three shidos against the vastly more experienced judoka.
The second bronze medal went to VOLKOV who outgripped and outfought Rome European Open silver medallist Johannes FREY (GER) who was disqualified after receiving three shidos.
OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN) vs HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ) vs TOKTOGONOV, Bekbolot (KGZ)
VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS) vs FREY, Johannes (GER)
2. HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)
2. OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN)
3. TOKTOGONOV, Bekbolot (KGZ)
3. VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)
5. KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ)
5. FREY, Johannes (GER)
7. ULZIIBAYAR, Duurenbayar (MGL)
7. SASSON, Or (ISR)