Judo Grand Prix, Astana 2014

Astana – Kazakhstan, Oct 12, 2014: The Judo Grand Prix, Astana 2014, produced a stirring conclusion as the heavyweights went toe-to-toe at the Cycle track “Saryarka” on Sunday.

The Kazakh crowd saw the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories compete for the remaining five gold medals.

Kazakhstan’s capital city will host the World Championships 2015 and 277 judoka from 36 countries created an interesting precursor to judo’s annual showpiece over the course of the weekend in Astana.

Mr. Jahangir RIAZ, President of Green Hill, (IJF Official Judogi Master Suppliers and Official Tatami Suppliers) was among the IJF guests in Astana and complemented the organisation of the Grand Prix.

“It has been a very good event here in Astana and the national federation continues to improve their delivery very quickly. We are looking forward to coming back for the World Championships next year,” added Mr. RIAZ who will also be present next week in Uzbekistan.

The IJF World Judo Tour continues next week as the Asian leg gains momentum in Uzbekistan with back-to-back Grand Prix events offering judoka a World Ranking List point’s windfall over the course of one week.

The Judo Grand Prix, Tashkent 2014, takes place from 16-18 October at the Uzbekistan Sport Complex and fans around the world.

Mr. Armen BAGDASAROV, President of Judo Federation of Uzbekistan and IJF Sports Director, has been present in Astana and is relishing the arrival of the IJF World Judo Tour in Tashkent.

“It is our great pleasure to host the second International Judo Federation Grand Prix here in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.,” said the 1996 Atlanta Olympic silver medallist.

“We look forward to welcoming all honourable guests, officials and athletes from all over the world to participate in our event, which is part of the Olympic qualification and we hope that the future champions of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will present.

“We would like to acknowledge the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the IJF and we thank them for their continued support and contribution. We are ready to welcome and host everyone in Tashkent.”

WOMEN: -78kg: POWELL powers to her first Grand Prix gold for Great Britain

Commonwealth Games winner Natalie POWELL (GBR) was unstoppable in her pursuit of her first Grand Prix gold medal as she broke the resistance of Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist Luise MALZAHN (GER) on three occasions. POWELL continues to grow on the World Judo Tour stage and has cemented her place among the -78kg elite by winning her first IJF title in Astana. The free-scoring contest saw MALZAHN go in front with a waza-ari before POWELL levelled with a waza-ari from an ouchi-gari. MALZAHN was penalised for going out of the area before POWELL took the lead for the first time with a yuko and added a second with 21 seconds left.

In the first semi-final top seed MALZAHN bested Victoriia TURKS (UKR) with a high-quality performance. The German judoka opened the scoring with a waza-ari and transitioned to hold her opponent down with a kuzure-kesa-gatame but was only able to secure the pin for six seconds. MALZAHN booked a place in the -78kg final by adding a second waza-ari as TURKS was well beaten and reverted to the bronze medal contest. In the second semi-final POWELL powered past Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Assunta GALEONE (ITA). The contest was settled when the British judoka was sharper in ne-waza as she overpowered GALEONE to pin her in osaekomi-waza for the full 20 seconds for ippon.

The first bronze medal was won by GALEONE who profited from a mistake by former Moscow Grand Slam bronze medallist Vera MOSKALYUK (RUS) in the closing seconds. Both judoka were penalised for passivity in the opening moments and that was how the remainder of the contest unfolded. The rivals were separated with 10 seconds left when the Russian was held accountable for gripping on one side for too long. The second bronze medal contest was won by TURKS who wasted little time in finalising a place on the podium on the last day in Astana. The Ukrainian fighter overcome reigning Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Albina AMANGELDIYEVA (KAZ) by neatly securing a koshi-jime and turning in an anti-clockwise motion to force the Kazakh to submit.

Final Results: 1. POWELL, Natalie (GBR). 2. MALZAHN, Luise (GER). 3. GALEONE, Assunta (ITA). 3. TURKS, Victoriia (UKR).

+78kg: KONITZ comes through for Germany

Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Franziska KONITZ (GER) won her country’s first gold medal in Germany by besting former European bronze medallist Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR) in the +78kg final. KONITZ, who looked assured and composed in the preliminary rounds, defeated KINDZERSKA in quick fashion by holding her down in osaekomi just 77 seconds into the final. The world-class German initially pinned her opponent down with a yoko-shiho-gatame before adjusting to a stronger position which subdued KINDZERSKA for 20 seconds and ippon.

In the first semi-final KONITZ showed superior conditioning to oust Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Svitlana IAROMKA (UKR) and secure a -78kg final berth. KONITZ, who is part of a 14-stong German team in Astana, triumphed by a yuko as her opponent succumb to the sole score of the contest after the four minutes elapsed. In the second semi-final KINDZERSKA subdued home judoka Zarina ABDRASSULOVA (KAZ) to the visible frustrations of the home fans. ABDRASSULOVA was humbled by wazari-awasette-ippon as her opponent held her down for 15 seconds for the contest-winning second waza-ari score.

The first bronze medal was won by ABDRASSULOVA in an all-Kazakh showdown with seven-time Asian Championships medallist Gulzhan ISSANOVA (KAZ). After a lethargic four minutes from both judoka, which saw them both receive three shido penalties, the winner was decided 64 seconds into golden score when ABDRASSULOVA won the adulation of compatriots by throwing for ippon. The second bronze medal was clinched by IAROMKA who defeated Commonwealth Games winner Sarah ADLINGTON (GBR) who took bronze at the Glasgow European Open a week ago on home soil. ADLINGTON was penalised for passivity after 90 seconds and her opponent gradually came more into the contest which concluded with an ippon from an o-goshi with 67 seconds left.

Final Results: 1. KONITZ, Franziska (GER). 2. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR). 3. ABDRASSULOVA, Zarina (KAZ). 3. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)

MEN: -90kg: USTOPIRIYON wins Tajikistan’s first Grand Prix gold medal

Reigning Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Komronshoh USTOPIRIYON (TJK) triumphed against little-known Asset AKHMETZHANOV (KAZ) in the -90kg to make history for his country. USTOPIRIYON, 21, who finished fifth at the Junior World Championships a year ago, was contesting his first Grand Prix final and made sure that he come out on top as he silenced the home fans. When all eyes and hopes were invested in AKHMETZHANOV he was not able to do himself justice but will hope the silver medal can steer towards more medal-winning displays.

In the first semi-final AKHMETZHANOV dispatched Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Quedjau NHABALI (UKR) to ensure a home finalist for the Kazakh crowd. The home judoka was in the ascendancy after scoring a waza-ari and turned to ashi-waza to seal victory as he swept NHABALI with de-ashi-barai for a second waza-ari. In the second semi-final USTOPIRIYON defeated Alexandre IDDIR (FRA) who was part of three-man French team in Astana. USTOPIRIYON, who finished fifth at the Asian Games a fortnight ago, prevailed by way of a single shido given to the Frenchman in a scoreless contest as their defensive prowess cancelled each other out.

The first bronze medal was awarded to IDDIR who returned to winning ways by beating Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS). The Russian judoka was penalised with a shido for a gripping infringement before IDDIR threw with an uchi-mata in the corner of the tatami for a waza-ari. KHALMURZAEV almost rued his sumi-gaeshi attempt was IDDIR nearly countered osaekomi. IDDIR received shido penalties for going out of the area and a false attack but the time ran out on the Russian’s medal bid. The second bronze medal was captured by NHABALI in a one-sided contest against Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Walter FACENTE (ITA). NHABALI stepped up his workkrate after an uneventful opening minute and never looked back as he scored a yuko and added two waza-ari scores to clinch the final place on the podium.

Final Results: 1. USTOPIRIYON, Komronshoh (TJK). 2. AKHMETZHANOV, Asset (KAZ). 3. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA). 3. NHABALI, Quedjau (UKR)

-100kg: Seventh heaven for RAKOV

Former world champion Maxim RAKOV (KAZ) won the seventh senior IJF title of his career in the perfect location as he defeated London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Dimitri PETERS (GER) in Kazakhstan. RAKOV, a four-time Grand Prix winner before today, was also known for winning a Grand Slam and a World Championships. The Asian star was unable to win in the manner he would have wished as it was settled on shido penalties. PETERS was penalised on three occasions while RAKOV was penalised once which was decisvive after four minutes of action.

In the first semi-final RAKOV defeated African Championships silver medallist Ramadan DARWISH (EGY). RAKOV was energised by his vocal supporters who reacted to his every move and were concerned when DARWISH almost edged ahead with a committed uchi-mata attempt. Next time around RAKOV saw the uchi-mata coming and capitalised on that by turning the Egyptian over with his own momentum. Both judoka were then penalised for passivity after a momentary lull in the action before RAKOV was rendered the winner after five minutes of action.

In the second semi-final PETERS was in scintillating form as he bowled over Sarajevo European Cup bronze medallist Miklos CIRJENICS (HUN) with relative ease on two occasions to advance to the final. PETERS threw with osoto-gari for a waza-ari and fought for a juji-gatame but CIRJENICS responded quickly to remain in the contest. The outcome was determined when PETERS scored a second waza-ari with an ouchi-gari after just two minutes to wrap up an explosive victory.

The first bronze medal was won by CIRJENICS, who having finished fifth at the Zagreb Grand Prix, went one better this time around by beating former national champion David BITIEV (RUS). CIRJENICS was penalised for gripping infringements before he took the lead with a waza-ari from countering an ura-nage by taking control of the movement and landing with balance on his opponent. The Hungarian scored a match-winning second waza-ari by putting his right arm over the right shoulder of his opponent and swept with his right foot.

The second bronze medal was won by 2013 Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist DARWISH who wore down Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Martin PACEK (SWE). DARWISH neutralised the repeated uchi-mata attempts of his opponent initially but eventually PACEK broke through with technique for a waza-ari score. PACEK was physically spent by the halfway point and had both hands on his knees during a break in the action and had next to nothing left in reserve. The Swedish fighter was penalised four times for passivity and received hansoku-make.

Final Result: 1. RAKOV, Maxim (KAZ). 2. PETERS, Dimitri (GER). 3. CIRJENICS, Miklos (HUN). 3. DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)

+100kg: BOR late show is rewarded with Astana victory

Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Barna BOR (HUN) defeated former Asian Championships silver medallist Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) in the last contest of the Judo Grand Prix, Astana 2014. KRAKOVETSKII, who finished seventh at the World Championships in August, fell to a harai-makikomi with 36 seconds left after two failed uchi-mata attacks from the former forced BOR into decisive action.

In the first semi-final BOR dismissed Tallinn European Open winner Or SASSON (ISR) after just one minute by ippon and looked on course to claim the +100kg title. In the second semi-final KRAKOVETSKII defeated European bronze medallist Andre BREITBARTH (GER).

KRAKOVETSKII attacked with ashi-waza and scored ippon only 61 seconds into the contest.

The first bronze medal went to BREITBARTH who come from behind to elude Montevideo Pan American Open winner Soslan BOSTANOV (RUS). BREITBARTH went behind to a waza-ari from a harai-makikomi and BOSTANOV was good value for his lead until he slipped when pressing forward to attack and the German capitalised by pinning him with kuzure-kesa-gatame for 20 seconds with just 18 seconds left on the clock. The second bronze medal went to former European u23 Championships silver medallist Daniel ALLERSTORFER (AUT) as SASSON could not compete due to injury.

Final Result: 1. BOR, Barna (HUN). 2. KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ). 3. BREITBARTH, Andre (GER). 3. ALLERSTORFER, Daniel (AUT). —- Photos © IJF Media by G. Sabau

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