The wishes of judo fans across Tajikistan and beyond were granted in the +100kg category at the Dushanbe Grand Slam 2024. The top two seeds were the host nation’s former world number one Temur Rakhimov (TJK), and the 11-time world champion and living legend Teddy Riner (FRA). Both athletes dominated their respective halves of the draw and won through to set up a hotly-anticipated rematch of the 2023 world championship semi-final, where Riner was the victor in just 26 seconds.
Final, Temur Rakhimov (TJK) vs Teddy Riner (FRA)

Rakhimov took his time in round 2 against Davit Kevlishvili (ESP). At the 3-minute mark, he turned over the 19-year-old Spaniard and held him with kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame to score ippon. In the quarter final against Ibrahim Tataroglu (TUR), Rakhimov used his trademark o-uchi-gari to direct the Turkish youngster onto his back after two minutes and take the win. The semi-final would see him take on Magomedomar Magomedomarov (UAE) who had previously defeated him in the final of the 2023 Asian Championships. The Tajik man wasn’t taking any chances this time and took a comfortable tactical victory over his opponent to book his place in the final.

Final, Temur Rakhimov (TJK) vs Teddy Riner (FRA)

For Riner, there was no need for tactical wins in the preliminary rounds; he swept aside his opposition and produced two highlight-reel throws in the process. In round 2 against Munir Ertug (TUR), the Frenchman capitalised on a failed attack from his adversary to pin him down with yoko-shiho-gatame in the second minute of the contest. He faced Losseni Kone (GER) at the quarter-final stage, someone who was not afraid to take the fight to his much taller opponent. Riner was unfazed, though, and launched the German with a powerful o-guruma and subsequently held him down with yoko-shiho-gatame to score a memorable waza-ari-awasete-ippon two minutes in.

Riner’s semi-final opponent was Denis Batchaev (AIN), 19 years old and ranked 129 in the world at the start of the day, but who picked up three excellent wins in the early rounds. A tactical win over Yelaman Yergaliyev (KAZ) in round 1 was followed by an o-soto-otoshi ippon against 2023 Hungary Masters 2023 winner Marti Puumalainen (FIN) in round 2. After an entertaining, back-and-forth quarter-final against sixth seed Erik Abramov (GER), he eventually emerged the victor, securing a hold down on the German with just one second left on the clock.

Gold medallist, Teddy Riner (FRA)

Batchaev was no match for Riner, though, as two-and-a-half minutes into their semi-final, the 35-year-old sent his opponent flying with a lightning-fast o-soto-otoshi to o-soto-gari combination. Riner was not messing around; he was here to make a statement.

The final lasted much longer than Riner and Rakhimov’s previous encounter but unfortunately for the home supporters, the result was the same. Rakhimov struggled to deal with Riner’s right hand grip behind his collar and quickly picked up two penalties. Riner came close to scoring with o-soto-gari and this near miss caused Rakhimov to open up and come forward, when Riner then threw him for ippon once more, this time with uchi-mata, to silence the Kasri Tennis Arena. This is Riner’s 11th grand slam gold medal and, along with Rakhimov, he moves into the top 3 in the Olympic Ranking List.

Bronze medal contest, Ibrahim Tataroglu (TUR) vs Denis Batchaev (AIN)

The two teenagers Batchaev and Tataroglu went to battle for the first of the bronze medals. Batchaev produced much stronger attacks throughout the contest. Towards the end of the second minute, he scored waza-ari using ko-soto-gake and transitioned straight into yoko-shiho-gatame to hold on for the win. Batchaev takes a deserved bronze in his first ever IJF World Tour event, while Tataroglu moves closer to his compatriot Ertug in the Olympic rankings.

Bronze medal contest, Losseni Kone (GER) vs Magomedomar Magomedomarov (UAE)

The second bronze medal match was between Kone and Magomedomarov. Kone had defeated compatriot Abramov in the repechage, and with a win, he could overtake his teammate in the Olympic rankings. Magomedomarov came very close to spoiling the party, as he threw Kone in the second minute of the contest with a low hip throw, scoring waza-ari. Kone, also down two penalties, replied with 20 seconds remaining, chasing the Emirati down and throwing with sumi-otoshi to level the scores. In the first minute of golden score Kone threw an exhausted Magomedomarov once more, this time with de-ashi-barai to earn his second grand slam bronze and 500 vital Olympic ranking points.

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Ismoil Mahmadzoir, President of the Tajikistan Judo Federation, and Mr Rustam Saidov, Director of the Holding Asia Group Tajikistan

Final (+100 kg)

See also