The Tashkent Grand Prix 2017, the last but one IJF Grand Prix of the season, closed out on Sunday with the heavyweights as Israel produced a sprint finish to top the medal table.
Sunday saw the men's -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories and the women's -78kg and +78kg all decided as Uzbekistan, who topped the medal table last year, had to settle for second place this time around.
IJF Refereeing Team for the Tashkent Grand Prix 2017
Israel finished top with three gold medals, one silver and one bronze which was just the tonic the country needed in a week where Israel's first and only world judo champion Yarden GERBI (ISR) -- who won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics -- announced her retirement at the age of 28.
An undisputed champion and Israeli hero such as GERBI will leave an undoubted void in the sport but left with her team in good health as they proved in Tashkent.
The mantle has now been passed to fellow Olympic bronze medallist and world medallist Or SASSON (ISR) who won the last contest of the Tashkent Grand Prix 2017 in the +100kg final.
#WorldJudoDay celebrates Courage on 28 October
The sixth edition of #WorldJudoDay which takes place on the same date every year, October 28th, the birthday of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, has the theme of Courage this year.
#WorldJudoDay is the IJF's showcase of judo's values and spirit as being more than just a sport. Judo is an educational tool that can help people to live together and to respect one another. The objective is to increase the number of judo players around the world and to help change people's lives with the power of judo.
#WorldJudoDay is an opportunity for judo lovers to share experiences and promote the sport in their community through activities such as demonstrations, inter-club training sessions, and 'taster' sessions.
Click here to access promotional material and #WorldJudoDay diplomas
Send information about your #WorldJudoDay activities to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tokyo 2020 generations heads to Zagreb for Junior Worlds
The finest young judoka will be heading to Zagreb this month for the Junior World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, from Wednesday 18 -- Friday 22 October.
Over 600 judoka and 86 nations are registered for the event which concludes on the Sunday with a mixed team competition which was this year added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme and has already featured in the IJF's Cadet World Championships and senior World Championships.
European champion Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE) will be one of the leading names in action while Japan will field a 20-strong team. Their roster includes KOGA Genki (JPN), the son of the legendary 1992 Olympic champion and two-time world champion KOGA Toshihiko, and 17-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist and Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner ABE Uta who is the younger sister of world champion ABE Hifumi.
Watch #JudoZagreb2017 live and free at live.ijf.org
Before the IJF returns the Croatia, having been there only a week ago for the Zagreb Grand Prix, the sport's world governing body will be supporting a one-day IBSA Judo World Cup event that emanates from Tashkent on Monday.
The Visually Impaired judo event has attracted the leading names from Paralympic judo and will take place in the Tashkent Sport Arena.
Follow the live results at www.ippon.org
Watch the IBSA Judo World Cup live and free at www.ippon.tv
-78kg: Ukrainian youngster TURCHYN doubles her Grand Prix gold medal haul
Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Anastasiya TURCHYN (UKR) tasted Grand Prix gold for the second time with a win over Minsk European Open silver medallist Beata PACUT (POL) in the -78kg final on Sunday. Grand Prix rookie PACUT, 21, slipped to 0-4 in their head-to-head series as the 22-year-old Ukrainian, who struck Grand Prix gold for the first time in February, threw with an osoto-makikomi for a waza-ari score which was the only time that the scoreboard was called into action.
In the first semi-final PACUT thwarted Hohhot Grand Prix winner Bernadette GRAF (AUT) in golden score with a waza-ari after three minutes of added time. In the second semi-final TURCHYN saw off Antalya Grand Prix silver medallist Yarden MAYERSOHN (ISR) by two waza-ari scores which both went unanswered.
The first bronze medal contest was won by MAYERSOHN who threw Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Zarina RAIFOVA (KAZ) for a waza-ari and then held down her Kazkah rival for ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by Antalya Grand Prix winner Anastasiya DMITRIEVA (RUS) who beat GRAF by producing the only score of the four minute contest. With seven seconds left on the clock a ura-nage attempt from GRAF was countered with a ko-uchi-gari from the Russian to settle the final place available on podium.
TURCHYN, Anastasiya (UKR) vs PACUT, Beata (POL)
Bronze Medal Fights
MAYERSOHN, Yarden (ISR) vs RAIFOVA, Zarina (KAZ)
DMITRIEVA, Anastasiya (RUS) vs GRAF, Bernadette (AUT)
1. TURCHYN, Anastasiya (UKR)
2. PACUT, Beata (POL)
3. MAYERSOHN, Yarden (ISR)
3. GRAF, Bernadette (AUT)
5. RAIFOVA, Zarina (KAZ)
5. DMITRIEVA, Anastasiya (RUS)
7. AMANGELDIYEVA, Albina (KAZ)
7. ROSETTA, Melora (ITA)
+78kg: VELENSEK beats defending Tashkent Grand Prix champion for first heavyweight win
Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Anamari VELENSEK (SLO) defeated 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix winner Gulzhan ISSANOVA (KAZ) to capture her first gold medal in the heavyweight category. Slovenian VELENSEK moved up to the heaviest weight in women's judo after the Olympics and took bronze at the Cancun Grand Prix this year which gave an indication of her immediate candidacy as a potential force at her new weight. ISSANOVA fell short in the final and in her bid to win the event for the year second year in a row after an insipid display which ended with her receiving a third shido for passivity.
In the first semi-final ISSANOVA held down Rakhima YULDOSHOVA (UZB) for 20 seconds and ippon with a powerful display to move her one step away from retaining his 2016 title. In the second semi-final VELENSEK submitted Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Sarah ADLINGTON (GBR) with a clinical piece of shime-waza on the ground.
The first bronze medal was awarded to 31-year-old double Grand Prix bronze medallist ADLINGTON who marginally outworked 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Daria KARPOVA (RUS) in a contest which was spared from golden score when the Russian received her marching orders after a third penalty for passivity with seven seconds left. The second bronze medal was won by German European Cup bronze medallist Anzhela GASPARIAN (RUS) who now has a 100% medal-winning record at Grand Prix events after medalling at her first one in Tashkent. GASPARIAN launched YULDOSHOVA of Uzbekistan with an uchi-mata for ippon and a memorable debut.
VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO) vs ISSANOVA, Gulzhan (KAZ)
Bronze Medal Fights
ADLINGTON, Sarah (GBR) vs KARPOVA, Daria (RUS)
GASPARIAN, Anzhela (RUS) vs YULDOSHOVA, Rakhima (UZB)
1. VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)
2. ISSANOVA, Gulzhan (KAZ)
3. ADLINGTON, Sarah (GBR)
3. GASPARIAN, Anzhela (RUS)
5. KARPOVA, Daria (RUS)
5. YULDOSHOVA, Rakhima (UZB)
7. JUMANIYAZOVA, Nodira (UZB)
7. IBRAGIMOVA, Nazokat (UZB)
-90kg: Spirited USTOPIRIYON emerges triumphant in record-breaking marathon match
Asian Championships winner Komronshokh USTOPIRIYON (TJK) won an immense physical duel against former world bronze medallist Dilshod CHORIEV (UZB) to take gold for Tajikistan. Former Astana Grand Prix winner USTOPIRIYON, who has been financially supported to compete in many of his events by the IJF, was locked in an intense gripping battle against the 32-year-old Uzbek CHORIEV. The regulation time passed in a blink of an eye as both men were consumed by the aim of not losing the final rather than winning it.
The knowledgeable crowd reacted every time the Uzbek took a strong grip and were right behind their fighter from the opening second until the record-breaking 11th minute, an IJF World Judo Tour record. After 10 minutes and 27 seconds of golden score CHORIEV received a shido to hand the gold medal to USTOPIRIYON. After the longest contest in IJF World Judo Tour history, both judoka were physically spent and had to sit down on the floor after leaving the field of play having spent 18 minutes on the mat including the stoppages.
In the first semi-final USTOPIRIYON profited from a lack of concentration from former Paris Grand Slam winner Yakhyo IMAMOV (UZB) who walked out of the area to receive a third shido for hansoku-make. IMAMOV has struggled for form recently and this performance epitomised his regression on the IJF World Judo Tour while USTOPIRIYON advanced to the second Grand Prix final of his career.
In the second semi-final CHORIEV dismissed 20-year-old Minsk European Open winner Yahor VARAPAYEU (BLR) after a mammoth tussle. Both men cancelled each other out for the regulatory four minutes and for the next nine minutes in golden score until CHORIEV threw VARAPAYEU with a drop seoi-nage for a crowd-pleasing waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal was won by VARAPAYEU who scored four times to defeat 22-year-old former Junior Asian Cup winner and Grand Prix newcomer Doston MEYLIEV (UZB). VARAPAYEU won the first contest of the final block by scoring a waza-ari with a yoko-otoshi, then a second with a uchi-mata and a third with the same technique. The 20-year-old Belarus judoka followed up with groundwork and pinned the Uzbek judoka for 20 seconds to seal his first Grand Prix medal and to double his country's medal count in Uzbekistan.
The second bronze medal was won by IMAMOV after Asian Championships silver medallist Islam BOZBAYEV (KAZ) ducked his head under the last attack from the home judoka to receive his third and final shido with six seconds left on the clock.
CHORIEV, Dilshod (UZB) vs USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK)
Bronze Medal Fights
VARAPAYEU, Yahor (BLR) vs MEYLIEV, Doston (UZB)
IMAMOV, Yakhyo (UZB) vs BOZBAYEV, Islam (KAZ)
1. USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK)
2. CHORIEV, Dilshod (UZB)
3. VARAPAYEU, Yahor (BLR)
3. IMAMOV, Yakhyo (UZB)
5. MEYLIEV, Doston (UZB)
5. BOZBAYEV, Islam (KAZ)
7. VANIEV, Shota (RUS)
7. SHUKUROV, Jasurbek (UZB)
-100kg: DARWISH savours happy hunting ground with gold for Egypt
Former world bronze medallist Ramadan DARWISH (EGY) won the Tashkent Grand Prix for a second time as the top seed was the top performer in the -100kg category. DARWISH took the contest to Ekaterinburg Grand Slam silver medallist Niyaz ILYASOV (RUS) and scored a waza-ari from a buzzer-beating uchi-mata with just a second left on the clock. DARWISH moved onto 11 Grand Prix medals which includes four gold and two from Uzbekistan while 22-year-old ILYASOV earned his best finish at Grand Prix.
In the first semi-final DARWISH bested former Asian Championships bronze medallist Saidzhalol SAIDOV (TJK) by a waza-ari score to take his place in the -100kg final and guarantee a medal for Egypt as his country's lone representative in Tashkent. In the second semi-final ILYASOV downed former Junior European Championships bronze medallist Mikita SVIRYD (BLR) by a waza-ari from an uchi-mata.
The first bronze medal was won by 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Davronbek SATTOROV (UZB) who threw SVIRYD for ippon with 49 seconds left on the clock to boost his country's medal haul on the last day in Uzbekistan. SATTOROV slapped his chest and screamed in celebration to a raucous response from the crowd.
The second bronze medal went to Asian Championships bronze medallist Sherali JURAEV (UZB) who conquered SAIDOV. Even the smallest of movements from the Uzbek was met with roars of approval from the home fans but it was mistakes from SAIDOV which settled the contest as a third shido -- for breaking the grip off illegally - against the Tajikistan judoka meant hansoku-make and bronze for Uzbekistan.
ILYASOV, Niyaz (RUS) vs DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)
Bronze Medal Fights
SVIRYD, Mikita (BLR) vs SATTOROV, Davronbek (UZB)
JURAEV, Sherali (UZB) vs SAIDOV, Saidzhalol (TJK)
1. DARWISH, Ramadan (EGY)
2. ILYASOV, Niyaz (RUS)
3. SATTOROV, Davronbek (UZB)
3. JURAEV, Sherali (UZB)
5. SVIRYD, Mikita (BLR)
5. SAIDOV, Saidzhalol (TJK)
7. KOLBAY, Temirlan (KAZ)
7. DONIYOROV, Erkin (UZB)
+100kg: Olympic bronze medallist SASSON sees Israel home with Openweight Worlds looming
Rio 2016 Olympics bronze medallist Or SASSON (ISR) won Israel's third gold medal of the competition to see them home as the best team in Tashkent. SASSON was competing for the first time on the IJF World Judo Tour since the Olympics having sustained a knee-injury and improved with every contest on Sunday. The 27-year-old who weighed in at 124 kilos, threw Asian Championships bronze medallist Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi for a waza-ari with 13 seconds left and that was the pivotal moment of the final.
SASSON said: "I feel great now, I had to overcome an injury after the Olympics and I really missed competing.
"There's a fantastic atmosphere at this competition and I had to work very hard to win gold today. I have many things to improve on. I want to develop my power and my technique to help me to win major championships.
"The result is important for my country and now I will go back and work hard in training before competing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, the World Openweight Championships and hopefully then the World Judo Masters in December."
In the first semi-final Iurii KRAKOVETSKII defeated world number 78 Mukhsin KHISOMIDDINOV (UZB) with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata on the edge of the area after 38 seconds of golden score. In the second semi-final 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Boltoboy BALTAEV (UZB) received a third shido for crushing the grip against SASSON and was disqualified.
The first bronze medal was won by BALTAEV who held down Grand Prix debutant Ikhtiyor KHALMURATOV (UZB) with a kami-shiho-gatame to win the first of the two all-Uzbekistan clashes for third place. KHALMURATOV, 26, launched his IJF World Judo Tour career at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam last summer, but had to settle for fifth-place at home as BALTAEV matched his 2016 result.
The second bronze medal went to former Junior Asian Championships silver medallist Bekmurod OLTIBOEV (UZB) who threw KHISOMIDDINOV with a classical seoi-nage for the maximum score. OLTIBOEV, 21, was the youngest and lightest judoka in the category at 109 kilos but was unperturbed and after 90 seconds dismissed his teammate with aplomb.
SASSON, Or (ISR) vs KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ)
Bronze Medal Fights
BALTAEV, Boltoboy (UZB) vs KHALMURATOV, Ikhtiyor (UZB)
OLTIBOEV, Bekmurod (UZB) vs KHISOMIDDINOV, Mukhsin (UZB)
1. SASSON, Or (ISR)
2. KRAKOVETSKII, Iurii (KGZ)
3. BALTAEV, Boltoboy (UZB)
3. OLTIBOEV, Bekmurod (UZB)
5. KHALMURATOV, Ikhtiyor (UZB)
5. KHISOMIDDINOV, Mukhsin (UZB)
7. TSIARPITSKI, Uladzislau (BLR)
7. BATTULGA, Temuulen (MGL)