Samsun – Turkey, Mar 31, 2013: Today (Sunday) was the second day of the inaugural Samsun Grand Prix as the Black Sea city’s new Tekkeköy Ya?ar Do?u Sports Hall hosted the final day of the competition.
Seven weight categories were in action as the women’s -70kg, -78kg, +78kg categories and men’s -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories all took to the tatami. The event captured the imagination of the city which embraced the Grand Prix stage to showcase 319 judoka from 40 countries over the two days. The new rules were credited as the reason for producing arguably the most positive judo of the World Judo Tour this year as athletes, referees and officials have now had time to acclimatize to them.
Neil ADAMS, IJF official commentator and advisor for the implementation of the new rules, said the new rules produced their most positive response to date as they were implemented for the third World Judo Tour event of the year. ADAMS, who now also works at British Judo’s Director of Elite Coaching, said: “The good thing about this competition is that the referees, fighters and coaches have found a balance which is really important. The new rules needed time to settle down and now their implementation is a lot more polished this weekend.
“Golden score is now exciting and not as prominent as it was in the Olympic Games. The big thing for me is that there’s a lot more standing techniques and ippons and the judo looks the way we think judo should look. The real plus is that when it comes to developing youngsters, they will now come through with positive kumikata and use their body as opposed to their hands to defend. They will need a firm base of fundamental technique which has to come from a coach education which is a paramount importance.”
Daniel LASCAU, IJF Sports Director, believes the new rules are encouraging judoka to use a wider range of techniques and that they have now been embraced by all countries. LASCAU said: “The new rules make for better judo and we’re seeing more techniques and judoka continuing to transition into ne-waza (ground work). I’m surprised how positive the attitude has been from athletes and coaches and with the video support for fights we’re closer to a realistic appreciation of the performance on the mat.
“I can see a lot of technical directors from different federations who are here to watch and analyse these new rules which we will review after the testing period finishes with the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Good feedback will be offered and arguments and adjustments will determine the way forward in the Olympic qualification period for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the aim being to show positive judo which is easy to understand.”
Jan SNIJDERS, IJF Refereeing Director, sees the new rules and particularly the reduction of referees on the tatami from three to one as something that benefits both the referees and spectators. SNIJDERS said: “There is now only one referee on the tatami but they are closely supported by the care system and table officials, including two other referees. In the past we had three referees and occasionally they would disagree on a score so this change is certainly more spectator friendly. Everyone is working together and the judo has been a lot more positive as everyone adapts to the new ways of the sport.”
One referee said: “We were afraid of the changes, there was a lot to do and the most important point was the jump from three referees to one. However, with the rules being implemented so effectively we can now say that we wouldn’t want to go back to three referees on the mat. We view the new system as there one referee on the tatami but two on the side. After only two months it looks like the athletes on one side are getting used to the new rules but also the referees and the amount of penalties now being awarded truly reflects what is really happening on tatami.”
Russian head coach Ezio GAMBA, who worked alongside Neil Adams to deliver the inaugural rules seminar in Malaga, Spain in January, said: “I think the picture is good. There have only been a few mistakes from the athletes and they were instinctive which is normal. The referees now understand the rules better and it’s harder for them as they are not on the tatami every single day like our athletes. I’ve witnessed the progress of the interpretation of the rules with each event and I hope it continues in this direction.
“The greatest challenge at the event for our team was the early competition start on Saturday at 8am due to only three mats being used. I think this is maybe too early, it’s very difficult for the athletes and there are alternatives such as adding one extra tatami or one extra day to the program. There always has to be the greatest consideration for our athletes.”
“Here in Samsun, the level of the competition is high because there a lot of Olympic, world and continental medallists in world and every category was really high quality.”
London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Gevrise EMANE (FRA), who won -63kg gold on Saturday, provided an athletes view on the new rules. EMANE said: “The athletes have had to adapt because there a lot of changes. We have to adapt in a way that we’re always be on the attack which makes things different but in a positive way.”
Meanwhile International Relationship Director of the Turkish Judo Federation, Bunyamin ER, reflected on Turkey’s first Grand Prix. ER said: “The organisation of the event was wonderful and we prepared for a very long time for this competition. We made a special effort for the Samsun Grand Prix and I think it was very successful. I hope that next year the event will be even better.”
WOMEN: -70kg: Sublime CONWAY marks return with gold for GBR
On her first international competition since competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games Sally Conway (GBR) won the biggest medal of her career as she entered unchartered territory by posting a perfect record of winning by ippon in every contest. Assmaa NIANG had no answer for CONWAY’s work rate and fell by ippon after two minutes to seal a first appearance for the Briton on a Grand Prix medal podium after four wins in Samsun.
The first bronze medal went to POSVITE who bested Iljana MARZOK (GER) in just 39 seconds by ippon. The second bronze medal was won by GRAF who edged out Ekaterina DENISENKOVA (RUS) via a shido as the Austrian improved on her fifth-place at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix.
-78kg: Glory for MALZAHN
Luise MALZAHN (GER) has pedigree at this level as a three-time Grand Prix medallist and added to that collection by defeating Anastasiya DMITRIEVA (RUS) by ippon to win gold. MALZAHN, who is still only 22, once again showed her maturity at the top level as she defiantly grinded out three victories to take the -78kg title.
The first bronze medal went to Natalie POWELL (GBR), the reigning Abu Dhabi Grand Prix silver medallist, who registered a yuko on the scoreboard against MARANIC who failed to respond with a score of her own. The second bronze medal was won by Geraldine MENTOUOPOU (FRA) as she overcome Victoria TURKS (UKR) three minutes into the contest.
+78kg: KAYA delights home crowd
Turkey’s reigning European bronze medallist Beliks Zehra KAYA took gold to the delight of the home crowd who played their part against the highly-talented Carolin WEISS (GER) in the +78kg final. To WEISS’ credit only a shido against her was the difference as KAYA shaded the contest to climb on to the top of the medal podium before her jubilant supporters who held aloft their Turkish flags in celebration.
The first bronze medal was won by Gulsah KOCATURK (TUR) who applied just enough pressure to pin down SHEKEROVA for ippon. The second bronze medal went to Jasmin KUELBS (GER) was made to work against Irine LEONIDZE (GEO) to secure a place on the medal podium and produced two yuko scores before sealing victory by ippon after the Georgian had recorded a waza-ari.
MEN: -81kg: PIETRI wins first Grand Prix title
Loic PIETRI (FRA) staked his claim for a top billing in the -81kg category with a bronze medal at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix and now looks set to stay in the upper echelons of the sport as he eased to gold against Vitalii DUDCHYK (UKR). PIETRI took the win by ippon, his fourth triumph in his five fights by the maximum score, with another polished performance.
The first bronze medal went to Ivan VOROBEV (RUS) as teammate Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS) was unable to compete due to injury. The second bronze medal was won by Jaromir JEZEK (CZE) who overcome Marcel OTT (AUT) by ippon. There were shocks all round in the category as world silver medallist Srdjan MRVALJEVIC (MNE) was stunned by Valeriu DUMINICA (MDA) in the second round and Paris Grand Slam winner Yakhyo IMAMOV (UZB) had to settle for seventh-place.
-90kg: Golden DENISOV takes top honours
Former world silver medallist Kirill DENISOV (RUS) clinched the top prize as he reigned supreme over Guillaume ELMONT (NED).
DENISOV, who finished in fifth-place at the London 2012 Olympic Games, did just enough against the hard-working ELMONT to come home in first place as his visibly frustrated rival fell as the result of a shido.
The first bronze medal went to Mohamed DARWISH (EGY) who impressively surged past world number nine Kirill VOPROSOV by ippon having upset world number four Dilshod CHORIEV (UZB) in the second round. The second bronze medal went to Alexandr JURECKA (CZE) who grounded out a victory over Alexandre IDDIR (FRA) by juji-gatame.
-100kg: Joy for BISULTANOV and Russia
A rampant Adlan BISULTANOV (RUS) got his just rewards for a tireless showing as he swept past Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) in the -100kg final by ippon. Four out of BILSULTANOV’s five wins were by way of ippon as he was the outstanding judoka on the day in one of the most competitive categories in the competition.
The first bronze medal was won by Dmytro LUCHYN (UKR) scored an upset as he saw off the challenge of London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Henk GROL (NED) by ippon in 38 seconds. The second bronze medal was won by European u23 champion and Paris Grand Slam winner Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) over Ramadan DARWISH (EGY) via osaekomi as he held down his opponent with tate shiho gatame. World number one Ramziddin SAYIDOV (UZB) fell at the first hurdle against Domenico DI GUIDA (ITA) who went to finish in seventh-place.
+100kg: NAZHMUDINOV is king of the heavyweights
Magomed NAZHMUDINOV (RUS) and Faicel JABALLAH (TUN) served up an absorbing final as the Russian belied his smaller frame to not only threaten JABALLAH in some physical changes but to eventually take the victory. The contest could have gone either way but it was NAZHMUDINOV’s day as the Tunisian was penalised with a shido and had to be contest with second place on the medal podium.
The first bronze medal went to breakthrough judoka Chris SHERRINGTON who was all smiles as he won a career-best result by throwing Onise BUGHADZE for ippon in the fourth minute of the contest. The Brit showed in the quarter-final that he could mix it up with the +100kg elite when he shocked eight-time African champion and 2010 world bronze medallist Islam El Shehaby (EGY) by winning with a kami shiho gatame hold down for ippon in just 46 seconds.
EL SHEHABY (EGY) shook off that defeat and picked himself up to capture the second bronze against Matjaz CERAJ (SLO) with just 45 seconds left in the contest. —- IJF