Abdul Rahim from Tokyo – Japan, Dec 6, 2014: The second day of competition came to an end at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and four new Grand Slam winners were designated in the women’s -63kg and -70kg and men’s -73kg and -81kg. In the preliminary rounds, many surprises occurred as being a favorite in Tokyo does not necessarily mean to finish on the podium. Thus, several world and Olympic champions or medallists were defeated even before the final block, showing that this year’s edition of the Grand Slam is particularly uncertain in terms of results.
During the day, the young spectators of the Grand Slam, had the chance and opportunity to meet with their heroes as the All Japan Judo Federation organized a signature and photo session with the Japanese Athletes. Kondo Ami, winner in -48kg, Asami Haruna, silver medallist in the same category, Hashimoto Yuki, gold medallist in -52kg, Yoshida Tsukasa, bronze medallist in -57kg, Shishime Toru, silver medallist in -60kg were among the athletes who were present during the event. But for sure the one who attracted the most attention was MATSUMOTO Kaori, Olympic and world champion and winner yesterday of the -57kg weight category, who dedicated her time to sign autographs and exchange some words with children who were all appreciative of her incredible career.
During the afternoon session, Mr. YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, Olympic and four-time world champion, today Vice-President of the All Japan Judo Federation, was also present together with today’s national Japanese squad. Tanabe Yoko, two times Olympic silver medallist and two times World Silver medallist, who has been appointed as the chairperson of the AJJF Athlete Commission said: “Our committee gathers together former athletes, who still want to be involved in the development of judo. We want to give back to judo, what our sport brought us. We want to spread judo even more and with the support of the AJJF as well as the IJF, I believe that we can achieve that.”
Kondo Ami and Asami Aruna explained: “All the children are really happy to meet us. During the competition day, they can only see us from a distance, on the tatami. With this signature, they can talk to us, take pictures and even touch us. It’s important for them and maybe we will give them the envy to start judo and to continue until they can become champions as well. We are very proud to represent our sport and to transfer something to the children. This is very important. We are not only champions.”
Larisa Kiss, the IJF Presidential Office Director said: “We appreciate an initiative such as the one which happened today and that contributes to the promotion of judo. It is important because it is linked with the competitions of the IJF World Judo Tour. We are pleased to see the interest of so many children and of judo champions here in Japan and we congratulate the AJJF for their results and for the excellent level of competition provided here in Tokyo.”
Tomorrow for the last day of competition and for this final day of the 2014 season, five more categories will be on action: Women’s -78kg and +78kg and Men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg.
-63kg: TRSTENJAK Confirms Standing in Tokyo
The first final of the day was rapidly concluded by the top seeded athlete of the category and bronze medallist of the last World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO), who did not give any chance to Edwige GWEND (ITA). After a few seconds, she scored ippon with a counter attack.
The first bronze medal fight opposed the bronze medallist of the Tyumen Grand Slam this year, SURAKATOVA Pari (RUS), and a newcomer in the Japanese team, NISHIKAWA Maho (JPN), with no results at the international level so far. Totally blocked by the powerful gripping of the Japanese, SURAKATOVA was rapidly penalized with three shidos for passivity and false attacks, when NISHIKAWA only got one, offering her the first major result on the international scene.
In the second bronze medal fight, the world number four Anicka VAN EMDEN (NED), faced Martyna TRAJDOS (GER), bronze medallist at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a few weeks ago, in a 100% European fight. Only one shido difference was necessary for the Dutch athlete to add one more line in her already long prize list.
Final Results: 1. TRSTENJAK, Tina (SLO). 2. GWEND, Edwige (ITA). 3. NISHIKAWA, Maho (JPN).
3. VAN EMDEN, Anicka (NED). 5. SURAKATOVA, Pari (RUS). 5. TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER). 7. DREXLER, Hilde (AUT). 7. UNTERWURZACHER, Kathrin (AUT)
-70kg: EMANE Shows Her Experience in Tokyo
The last female category of the day saw the everlasting Gevrise EMANE (FRA), two-time world champion and Olympic medallist, reaching again the final of a major event after having defeated Monika BURGESS (CAN), Kim OLLING (NED), Alena PROKOPENKO (RUS) and Szaundra DIEDRICH (GER) in her semi-final. In the final she was opposed to TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN) who was obviously strongly supported by the public. Showing once again, that she is probably one of the most experienced athletes on the circuit, EMANE perfectly controlled the combat to win the gold.
In the first bronze medal contest, NUN IRA Karen (JPN), world silver medallist, was opposed to ZUPANCIC Kelita (CAN), who was at the tenth position in the World Ranking List with 1234 points, just before the tournament. After almost four minutes of neutralization, nothing was written on the scoreboard, when NUN IRA launched a last desperate attack that was immediately countered by ZUPANCIC for a clear ippon. Only 11 seconds were remaining.
The second bronze medal fight was 100% German with Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) and Szaundra DIEDRICH (GER) facing for only one spot on the podium. With a strong koshi-waza technique, Laura VARGAS KOCH took the lead with a waza-ari, that she immediately followed on the floor with osaekomi for ippon.
Final Results: 1. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA). 2. TACHIMOTO, Haruka (JPN). 3. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)
3. ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN). 5. DIEDRICH, Szaundra (GER). 5. NUN IRA, Karen (JPN). 7. CONWAY, Sally (GBR). 7. PROKOPENKO, Alena (RUS).
-73kg: AKIMOTO in Front of ONO
In the -73kg, ONO Shohei (JPN) and AKIMOTO Hiroyuki (JPN) proved to be the two best athletes of a very strong weight category. Favorite of this final, ONO, world champion in Rio in 2013, found in front of him a highly-motivated AKIMOTO, who after a long and complicated fight, finally scored a nice yuko with a shoulder movement, from which ONO tried to escape but with no success.
The first bronze medal fight of the men’s -73kg opposed the new Junior World Champion and recent Jeju Grand Prix winner, AN Changrim (KOR) and ORUJOV Rustam (AZE), who finished on the podium in Abu Dhabi on the occasion of the first Grand Slam in the UAE. In a close contest, AN Changrim was able to score a single yuko before controlling the end of the fight in a very tactical way for a so young competitor, and despite the three shidos he was penalized with, AN won the bronze.
The second bronze medal fight did not show more action than the first as both fighters knew each other very well and only penalties were distributed until the last seconds when UNGVARI, Olympic silver medallist in London in 2012, launched an action-reaction technique, for waza-ari, giving him the chance, one more time to step on an international podium.
Final Results: 1. AKIMOTO, Hiroyuki (JPN). 2. ONO, Shohei (JPN). 3. AN, Changrim (KOR). 3. UNGVARI, Miklos (HUN). 5. MUKI, Sagi (ISR). 5. ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE). 7. DRAKSIC, Rok (SLO). 7. NISHIYAMA, Yuki (JPN)
-81kg: TAKANORU repeats, TOMA in silver with Fairplay
The last final of the day opposed the already winner of the Grand Slam last year in Tokyo, NAGASE Takanori (JPN), who defeated the current world champion in the semi-final, and Sergiu TOMA (UAE), bronze medallist this year at the World Championships in Chelyabinsk. After the first minute and a half, NAGASE was penalized with a first shido for passivity. Exactly one minute later, both athletes were penalized this time, TOMA keeping his advantage of one penalty. But 35 seconds before the end, both athletes were tight again, when TOMA was penalized. It was time for the golden score. After almost one minute and thirty seconds, the UAE athlete received a last shido for passivity. Respectively bowing towards the referee, TOMA accepted the second victory in a row of NAGASE Takanori with fairplay.
To determine the winner of the first bronze medal fight, the public did not have to wait too long. After a period of observation and some quite strong attacks from MARUYAMA Goki (JPN), Alexander WIECZERZAK (GER) used a tiny opportunity to apply a shime-waza technique to his opponent for an immediate ippon, concluding a good day for the former Junior World Champion (Agadir 2010).
The second bronze medal fight featured the ultimate favorite of the category and current world champion, Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) who was untouchable until his semi-final against NAGASE Takanori (JPN) who surprisingly was able to throw him for ippon. To finally step on the podium, the Georgian had a last fight against Victor PENALBER (BRA). Less than a minute was necessary to TCHRIKISHVILI to propel PENALBER up in the sky for a flat landing on his back for ippon. TCHRIKISHVILI could finally show a small smile after capturing the bronze medal.
Final Results: 1. NAGASE, Takanori (JPN). 2. TOMA, Sergiu (UAE). 3. TCHRIKISHVILI, Avtandili (GEO). 3. WIECZERZAK, Alexander (GER). 5. MARUYAMA, Goki (JPN). 5. PENALBER, Victor (BRA). 7. BOTTIEAU, Joachim (BEL). 7. KIM, Jae-Bum (KOR). —- IJF/Photos © IJF Media by Gabriela Sabau and Nicolas Messner