By the IJF and IBSA
Uzbekistan judoka delighted their home crowds between 23-24 September, grabbing four gold medals at their home International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo Grand Prix in Tashkent.
The competition, organised with the support of the International Judo Federation, was the perfect chance for athletes to end the season with a bang.
Spectators filled the stands at the newly opened Humo Arena, showing the huge popularity of judo in the country.
The home judoka did not disappoint, delivering several convincing victories to add to the electric atmosphere.
Uchkun Kuranbaev won Uzbekistan’s first gold on the opening day of competition in the men’s up to 66kg. He defeated Azerbaijan’s Namig Abasli with an osae-komi waza in a thrilling final.
Ukrainian world No.1 and European champion Davyd Khorava had to settle for bronze alongside Georgia’s Giorgi Kaldani.
Rankings leader Parvina Samandarova faced a difficult match in the women’s up to 57kg final, taking on Azerbaijan’s Sevda Valiyeva.
Valiyeva looked the strongest, scoring a waza-ari early on. But Samandarova kept her head and conjured a beautiful juji-gatame that forced her opponent to tap out. Japan’s Junko Hirose and Azerbaijan’s Afag Sultanova took bronze.
Nafisa Sheripoeva claimed gold in the women’s up to 63kg, beating European champion Khanim Huseynova. Turkey’s Duygu Cete Artar and Russia’s Aminat Magomedova were third.
Davurkhon Karomatov rounded off the Uzbek haul, beating not only top seed Huseyn Rahimli with a flashy ippon but also Ukraine’s European bronze medallist Dimitry Solovey in an exciting final.
After Karomatov scored a first waza-ari with a soto maki komi, Solovey came back with a counter attack to even up the score. It was Karomatov that proved to be the most creative, delivering an impressive ko uchi maki komi.
France’s Nathan Petit and Rahimli shared the third podium spot.
Elsewhere in the competition, Iran picked up two golds.
World champion Mohammedezra Kheirollahzadeh impressed once again in the men’s over 100kg. With a clever turnover, he held down Uzbekistan’s Shirin Sharipov for 20 seconds for ippon.
Russia’s Gaidar Gaidarov and Azerbaijan’s double Paralympic champion Ilham Zakiyev were third.
In the men’s up to 90kg reigning world and European title-holder Oleksandr Nazarenko of Ukraine was the man to beat. Georgia’s Lasha Kiziashvili did just that in a tough semi-final against the Ukrainian with a high attack rate that forced him into three shido.
In the final Kiziashvili employed the same strategy against Iran’s Vahid Nouri, putting him on two shidos. However the Georgian soon ran out of energy, opening the door for Nouri who executed a left uchi mata to grab the gold.
Uzbekistan’s Jaloliddin Avazoz and Nazarenko took the bronzes.
Romania’s Alex Bologa added to his recent European title with an impressive performance in the men’s up to 60kg.
Bologa beat Paralympic gold medallist Sherzod Namazov in the final with a juji gatame.
Kazakhstan’s world champion Olzhas Orazalyuly was also pushed down the podium into third alongside compatriot Anuar Sariyev.
Russia’s Shakhban Kurbanov delivered a shock in the men’s up to 73kg, winning his first final since 2009.
After beating world German world No.1 Nikolai Kornhass, Kurbanov was victorious over teammate Vasilii Kutuev. Azerbaijan’s Ramil Gasimov and Kornhass secured third place.
France’s Sandrine Martinet, the Paralympic champion from the women’s up to 52kg, continued to medal in her new weight category – the up to 48kg.
Martinet showed her class in Tashkent, picking up her third gold medal of 2019 after winning the European title in July. Anticipating the attack of Chinese Taipei’s Kai Lin Lee, the ne waza specialist cleverly turned Lee into a hold-down for ippon. Azerbaijan’s Shahana Hajiyeva and China’s Paralympic champion Li Liqing were third.
Italy’s Carolina Costa, fresh from winning a European title at home in Genova just two months ago, was in great form in the women’s over 70kg. Winning all of her matches by ippon, in the final Costa showed a strong combination of uchi mata maki komi and osae-komi waza against Kazakhstan’s Zarina Baibatina.
In the men’s up to 100kg Azerbaijan’s Kanan Abdullakhanli beat Great Britain’s Chris Skelley to the top of the podium. Uzbekistan’s Sulaymon Alaev and the USA’s Benjamin Goodrich sealed the bronze.
World and Paralympic champions held their form in other events. Ukraine’s Inna Cherniak and Brazil’s Alana Martins took gold in the women’s up to 52kg and up to 57kg, respectively.
The 2019 IBSA Judo Grand Prix in Tashkent was the final competition of the year. Full results are available at ippon.org.
The competition is also available to view on demand on YouTube.