Dusseldorf, Feb 22, 2015: The Düsseldorf Judo Grand Prix 2015 in Germany continued with the focus on the middleweights on Saturday at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle on day two. The public and officials saw four weight categories take to the tatami in search of Grand Prix honours as the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories and men’s -73kg and -81kg categories were contested.

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A few minutes prior to the final block, the public had the pleasure of seeing again their national hero, Ole Bischof, Olympic champion in 2008 and Olympic silver medalist in 2012, who came to attend the Grand Prix as a spectator:

“It’s a strange but great feeling to come back here as a spectator and a guest and not as a competitor. I am now working full time for PWC, a consulting agency. I have really long and hard working days but I love sport and I love Judo, so I am more than happy to be here. If once you were a judoka, you are for life. Last December, I was also elected as a board member of the Deutsher Olympisher Sportbund (German Olympic Committee), and I would be very pleased to see the Olympic Games come to Germany, maybe Berlin or Hamburg, in 2024. This would be a new and very exciting challenge.”

During the ceremony which was held just before the final block, Mr. Thomas Geisel, Ober-Burgermeister Düsseldorf, Mr. Ole Bischof, Olympic Champion, Mr. Peter Frese, President of the German Judo Federation and Mr. Daniel Lascau, IJF Sport Director, gathered together on the tatami with a group of children from the local judo clubs for a family picture of the former and future generations of champions: “I am happy to welcome you all in our city of Düsseldorf. Let the bests win with fair play and respect”, said, Mr. Geisel. Mr. Bischof and Mr. Frese thanked all the organizers for all the efforts to organize such a big and successful event. Then Mr. Lascau declared: “This is the first Grand Prix of the season, many nations and participants came here. We can all be happy and proud. Thanks to the volunteers and surrounded by all the children, I wish, in the name of the IJF and its President, Mr. Marius Vizer, all the best to all the judoka.”


During the first two days of competition, the IJF once again demonstrated its dynamism and willingness to look to the future while remaining loyal to its core values. For the first time, the Düsseldorf Grand Prix served as a test to measure live a number of parameters during the fights. The test was conducted by the PIQ company whose founder, Mr. Ongan Mordeniz, and Fiel Manager, Mr. Thierry Daudier, were present in Düsseldorf. A dozen athletes, including Luxembourg judoka Marie Muller and world champion, Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO), were used to trial the technology and authorized the experts to install an electronic chip on their belt.

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The PIQ chip and its accessory

“With this system we can measure in real time the acceleration and rotation of the athletes. This information seems to be crucial in judo, a sport whose whole secret lies in the movement”, explained Mr. Ongan Mordeniz.

After contacts were made at the last edition of Sportel in Monaco, between the PIQ and the IJF, the project is now in its experimental phase. “We have yet to identify the data that will be really useful and how we will then be able to use them” explained Thierry Daudier, before adding, “but the first tests were really encouraging. We discovered that a judo competition such as a Grand Prix was totally adapted to such an experimentation. We have a clearer idea now on how to attach the chip on the belt, to a place that is neither dangerous nor inconvenient for the athletes.”

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The PIQ representatives explain how the chip is working to the IJF delegates

Ultimately, the idea is to provide real-time data used during TV broadcast to supplement the technical information already presented to the viewers. The spectator will then be able to purchase the same equipment and wear the same type of sensor to be able to compare themselves to their favourite champions. The chip is actually a multisport device that adapts to each discipline with dedicated accessory. Data is collected in real time on a smartphone with a dedicated application.

After this first test went perfectly in Düsseldorf, the analysis and optimization will continue to offer as soon as possible an operational system.

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Marie Müller (LUX) is the first one to try the new device.

Of the eight top seeded athletes in the -63kg category, only two athletes were still present in the final block, since Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO), Edwige GWEND (ITA), Anne-Laure BELLARD (FRA), JOUNG Da-Woon ( KOR), Junxia YANG (CHN) and Hannah MARTIN (USA) were prematurely eliminated from the competition. The two finalists were not unknown as TSEDEVSUREN Munkhzaya (MGL) had already stepped on the podium of a World Judo Tour event three times and Alice SCHLESINGER (GBR) was bronze medalist at the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam but that was for Israel.

It took a little bit more than one minute for Alice SCHLESINGER to write the first line of her new career with Great Britain by scoring a clear ippon with an unstoppable uchi-mata on the edge of the fighting area. The silver medal of TSEDEVSUREN is the fourth one of the tournament for Mongolia.

The first bronze medal was disputed between Mariana SILVA (BRA), winner of the 2014 Panamerican Open in Buenos Aires, and TASHIRO Miku (JPN), bronze medalist at the last world championships in Russia. SILVA rapidly scored a yuko, but TASHIRO took again the lead with a waza-ari. Silva again scored a second yuko with a counter attack, but this was not enough to jump in front again. With one waza-ari against two yuko, TASHIRO Miku won the first bronze medal of the day.

The second third place was entirely European, since the Austrian Magdalena KRSSAKOVA opposed the German Martyna TRAJDOS who had failed in the semi-finals against Schlesinger. If most of the fight was led by the German with only one shido, she suddenly found a small opportunity to throw her opponent with ko-uchi-gari for waza-ari. Just before the end of the match, she added one yuko to the scoreboard to secure her third place.

It was necessary to search for the thirteenth position in the world ranking list to find the first finalist of the day in the -70kg category. To reach the final ARAI Chizuru (JPN) eliminated Lea PUESCHEL (GER), Anzhela MAROZAVA (BLR) Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) and Iljana MARZOK (GER). For the title of champion of the Grand Prix, she was opposed to the first German representative reaching a final in Düsseldorf, Szaundra DIEDRICH (GER), who was third in the Grand Prix of Astana last year.

After a minute of observation, the first strong attack came from Szaundra DIEDRICH but for no score. Then Arai was penalized for stepping outside of the fighting area. At the half of the final, the German launched what looked like a perfect uchi-mata, but lacking of arm control, she could not conclude her movement. It was the time for Arai to take the lead with a small yuko with a ko-uchi-barai, a yuko which was enough to win the fourth gold medal for Japan on the occasion of this 2015 edition of the Düsseldorf Grand Prix.

The young Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED), having only a fifth place in the 2014 World Junior Championships to her credit, and Iljana MARZOK (GER), winner of the Qingdao Grand Prix in 2014, were opposed in the first match for a bronze medal. A little more than one minute was necessary for VAN DIJKE to score ippon with a superb counter attack.

In the second match for the bronze medal, Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) met Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER). Although the German was the top seeded athlete of the tournament, she was defeated in the semi-final by teammate Szaundra DIEDRICH, who created the surprise of the day in the weigh category. Due to an injury, Laura VARGAS KOCH could not compete and Kelita ZUPANICIC was awarded with the third place.


If ONO was not among the favorites of the competition, it is because he was not part of the top 8 seeded athletes of the category. Nevertheless, it was obvious that the 2013 world champion in Rio, had a great chance to reach the final in Düsseldorf, and that’s what he did without having to put in too much energy, except against the young Korean AN Changrin in the semi-final, where he eventually won by waza-ari. In the final he was opposed to the world number 12, Georgian Nugzari TATALASHVILI, who made a flawless competition until then.

ONO was penalized with a first shido for stepping out of the fighting area after a few seconds, but he immediately took the control over the final by scoring waza-ari with an uchi-mata. After a little more than two minutes, TATALASHVILI trying to find some opportunities to come back, was surprised by the counter attack of the Japanese fighter who literally incrusted the Georgian into the tatami.

The number one seeded, MUKI Sagi (ISR), could only claim up to a bronze medal, as he was eliminated by AN, junior world champion in 2014 during the preliminary rounds. But for this he had to first face Marcelo CONTINI (BRA). After two minutes, MUKI was already leading with a waza-ari and a yuko. The Israeli concluded the fight with a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for a second waza-ari.

The second third place was disputed between Victor SCVORTOV (UAE), bronze medalist of the last World Championships in Chelyabinsk and AN Changrim (KOR). After less than a minute, AN scored the first with a left handed eri-seoi-nage for waza-ari. Always first on Kumikata, quicker and more precise than his opponent, AN showed that at his young age he is already a well accomplished judoka.

Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO), who was designated as the top ranked male athlete of 2014 (in all categories) confirmed his supremacy over the -81kg by entering the final against Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL), who surprised everybody by defeating the 2013 world champion Loïc Pietri from France.

Two minutes and 15 seconds were necessary to see the first penalty on the scoreboard, when both athletes were penalized for passivity. Moments later, TCHRIKISHVILI received a second penalty but still remained in the balance for the world champion. Almost out of breath, Joachim BOTTIEAU produced a fantastic effort to avoid all the Georgian’s attacks and slowly but surely kept that one penalty advantage until the final gong, to write his name on the top of today’s results.

In the first bronze medal fight Loïc Pietri, who looked a little tired today, was opposed to Laszlo CSOKNYAI (HUN), who obtained a silver medal in Tunisia earlier this year on the occasion of the African Open. It took almost three minutes for Pietri to score a first yuko with a counter attack. Lacking of speed and accuracy the Frenchman showed a more defensive dimension today in Düsseldorf, but it was enough to finally secure the bronze and 120 world ranking points.

The second bronze medal fight saw again the Canadian Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER, who is accustomed to international podiums (bronze medallist in London 2012 and world silver medallist in Chelyabinsk) and the local judoka Sven MARESCH fought for a place on the podium. But in front of his public, MARESCH immediately showed that he was the leader on the tatami, and he scored a superb ippon before the halfway point of the fight. —- Photos: IJF Media by Tamas Zahonyi and Nicolas Messner

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