Judo Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi 2011.

IJF News Abu Dahbi Oct 16, 2011: Today was the first day of competition at the Judo Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi 2011. Women’s -48, -52, -57kg and men’s -60 and -66kg. 61 countries are engaged in this third Grand Prix of the year. All the points are counting for the World Ranking List and for the Olympic Qualification (Emi YAMAGISHI).

Women’s -48kg: Japan Remains the Leader of the Light Weight Category
The final of the women’s -48kg category opposed Emi YAMAGISHI (JPN), silver medallist on the occasion of the World Judo Masters, this year in Baku, and Shuge WU (CHN), 7th during the last world championships in Paris. Both fighters are respectively ranked 7th and 8th at the World Ranking List. After 2 minutes of fight, Yamagishi scored the first yuko with at arai-goshi on the edge of the tatami. Just after the half of the fight, the referees distributed penalties, giving the equivalent of a yuko to the Chinese. But after 30 more second, WU was penalized for a direct forbidden leg grab, which gave the victory to the Japanese.

YAMAGISHI, Emi (JPN) vs. WU, Shuge (CHN)

Semi Finals
YAMAGISHI, Emi (JPN) vs. JOSSINET, Frederique (FRA) and WU, Shuge (CHN) vs. CHUNG, Jung-Yeo (KOR)

Final Results
2. WU, Shuge (CHN) 3. JOSSINET, Frederique (FRA), 3. CHUNG, Jung-Yeo (KOR)
5. KEARNEY, Lisa IRL, 5. ENTE, Birgit NED, 5. BLANCO, Oiana ESP, 6. BOGDANOVA, Liudmila RUS.

Men’s -60kg: Big Surprise for KOSSAYEV
The final of the day in the men’s -60kg was a real surprise as the best ranked players were all beaten in the preliminary rounds. After a little bit less than 2 minutes, the shadow of a direct leg grab was flying again over the tatami, but the video refereeing said that no penalty could be given. Then, the final which seemed to be very unproductive, suddenly became crazy. A first waza-ari was scored by the Mongol fighter, immediately imitated by the Kazakh and a few second later, it is a ippon that was given for a spectacular sumi-gaeshi on the edge, executed by Kossayev, who won his first major international title.

Earlier during the competition, Amira PAPINASHVILI (GEO), the top ranked fighters of the day (7th at the Ranking list) could reach the semifinal to be opposed to the Mongol Boldbaatar GANBAT who had eliminated in the first round the promising Issam NOUR (FRA), who won several matches during the recent world championships in Paris, last August. The second semifinal pitted Tobias Englmaier (GER) and Yerkebulan KOSSAYEV (KAZ).

Of the four athletes still present in the final four, it is Asia that has proved to be the most successful continent in placing three judoka to access to grand final with Emi Yamagishi (JPN), Shug WU (CHN) and Jung Yeo-CHUNG (KOR). Only Frédérique JOSSINET, from France, was able to rise to this level of competition, despite a big scare in her first match of the day (immobilized by Ukraine’s Maryna CHERNIAK before getting out and finally winning her first confrontation). But Jossinet’s dream to obtain a gold medal was broken by the Japanese Yamagishi who proved that Japan, is still the country to beat in the light weight categories.

GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL) vs. KOSSAYEV, Yerkebulan (KAZ)

Semi Finals
PAPINASHVILI, Amira (GEO) vs. GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL), ENGLMAIER, Tobias (GER) vs. KOSSAYEV, Yerkebulan (KAZ)

Final Results
1. KOSSAYEV, Yerkebulan (KAZ)
2. GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL)
3. PAPINASHVILI, Amira (GEO), 3. ENGLMAIER, Tobias (GER), 5. ALVES, Breno BRA,
5. KIM, Won Jin KOR, 5. MAGERS, Andrejs LAT, 5. PAISCHER, Ludwig AUT

Women’s -52kg: Untouchable Kelmendi
For the third time in a raw, Kelmendi (IJF) was present in the final of a major international tournament against world ranked number 13, HE from China. The first seconds of the final gave the unquestionable impression that Kelmendi was unbeatable here in Abu Dhabi. Too robust on her legs, with a strong kumikata (grip), she avoided all the attacks of her opponent and won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title without having been in danger.

Actually, it becomes a habit to find at the highest level of competition the young Majlinda KELMENDI, from Kosovo, fighting under the colors of the IJF. With her two recent World Cup victories (Rome and Minsk), she was still fighting for gold after the preliminaries, being opposed to the Mongolian Bundmaa MUNKHBAATAR in the semi-final. But once again this match was an easy one for Kelmendi who could enter into an international final for the third time in October. The second semifinal pitting Jaana Sundberg (FIN) and Hongmei HE (CHN), sow the victory of the Chinese, Sundberg finishing at the third place.

KELMENDI, Majlinda (IJF) vs. HE, Hongmei (CHN)

Semi Finals
MUNKHBAATAR, Bundmaa (MGL) vs. KELMENDI, Majlinda (IJF)
SUNDBERG, Jaana (FIN) HE, Hongmei (CHN)

Final Results
1. KELMENDI, Majlinda (IJF)
2. HE, Hongmei (CHN)
3. SUNDBERG, Jaana (FIN)
5. CHITU, Andreea ROU, 5. KRAEH, Mareen GER, 5. GOMEZ, Laura ESP, 5. CARRASCOSA, Ana ESP

Men’s -66kg: Decision for Fukuoka
For the first time during the first day of competition, the golden score was needed to make the difference between the two competitors. But even the golden score was not enough and the judges had to give the victory by decision, the winner of the men’s -66kg being the Japanese, Masaki Fukuoka.

In this category, the surprise came from the strong performance of Sergey LIM (KAZ), not listed in the ranking list. The Kazakh athlete climbed to the semifinals by eliminating judokas consistently ranked higher than him, athletes 9th, 10th and 11th in the world ranking list taking the three other places still available for the title. But in the semi-final, Fukuoka, from Japan, was too strong and Lim ended up with a bronze medal, which referring to his ranking position, was already a strong performance.

The only misstep of the day was taken by Sugoi Uriarte (ESP), which was eliminated in the first round, while the two engaged French ended up their competition day in the quarter-finals.

FUKUOKA, Masaaki (JPN) vs. CHO, Jun-Ho (KOR)

Semi Finals
LIM, Sergey (KAZ) vs. FUKUOKA, Masaaki (JPN)
CHO, Jun-Ho (KOR) vs. SANJAASUREN, Miyaragchaa (MGL)

Final Results
1. FUKUOKA, Masaaki (JPN)
2. CHO, Jun-Ho (KOR)
3. LIM, Sergey (KAZ)
3. SANJAASUREN, Miyaragchaa (MGL)
5. KOWALSKI, Tomasz POL, 5. DRAGIN, Dimitri FRA, 5. SHIKHALIZADA, Nijat AZE, 5. DUPRAT, Pierre FRA.

Women’s -57kg: Gold for the Experienced QUINTAVALLE
Telma Monteiro (POR) was well on her way to win again a gold medal in the women’s -57kg, but her foot didn’t agree. Injured during the semi-final, she only took the bronze. Instead of Monteiro, it was Juul FRANSSEN (NED), not ranked in the world ranking list, who entered the final against the current Olympic Champion, Giulia Quintavalle (ITA). The question was: who will win ? The youth of Franssen or the experience of Quintavalle ? After one minute, Quintavalle launched her first strong uchi-mata, but nothing was scored. At the middle of the fight, the Italian launched again her terrific movement and scored waza-ari.

For a second, she probably thought that it was a ippon, and she relaxed. Franssen took the advantage to immobilize her opponent for another waza-ari. With this two advantages on each side of the scoreboard, the two athletes had to enter into the golden score and after one minute, an answer could be be given to the previous question: Quintavalle won the Grand Prix title with a counter attack.

Thus, after the preliminary rounds, the first semifinal of the day was an air of déjà vu for Telma MONTEIRO, a regular competitor at this level of competition. Ranked third in the World Ranking List, she was committed to her role of favorite here in Abu Dhabi. In the semi-final, she was opposed to the very young Juul Franssen. The second semi-final promised to be tough since the holder of the Olympic title, Italy’s Giulia QUINTAVALLE, was opposed to the winner of the Grand Slam, Paris 2011.

Final: FRANSSEN, Juul (NED) vs. QUINTAVALLE, Giulia (ITA)

Semi Finals
MONTEIRO, Telma (POR) vs. FRANSSEN, Juul (NED), QUINTAVALLE, Giulia (ITA) vs. PAVIA, Automne (FRA)

Final Results
3. MONTEIRO, Telma (POR)
3. PAVIA, Automne (FRA)
5. ZABLUDINA, Irina RUS, 5. ROPER, Miryam GER, 5. WANG, Hui CHN, 5. MALLOY, Marti USA

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