Sobirov: The Best Judoka of Today wins the Title
23th August 2011.
Japan dominated the opening day of the 29th World Judo Championships in Paris, winning two gold and two silver medals.But many of their fighters did not find it easy compared to the 2010 event, when they took a total of 23 medals, including 10 titles. With 136 countries taking part, there was unprecedented opposition today as the competition, which also celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the International Judo Federation, got under way at the Stade de Bercy.
All Japan Final under 48kgs Women’s Tournament
All Japan Final under 48kgs Women’s Tournament
The only all-Japan final came in the under 48 kgs women’s tournament, in which 50 competitors took part and, just as last year in Tokyo, Haruna Asami defeated her compatriot, Tomoko Fukumi. Asami, the younger of the pair by three years at 23 years-old, was the more aggressive as she repeatedly attacked Fukumi, who was warned for passivity. The crucial moment came when he scored a yuko with ouchigari (major inner reap) and this was enough for her to clinch the decision.
Much to the frustration of the French crowd, Frédérique Jossinet, 35, a home favourite during her long career, in which she has taken the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and a host of other podium finishes, was defeated with a morote-seoinage (double handed shoulder throw) by the 21 year-old Sarah Menezes of Brazil. The other bronze medal went to Eva Csernoviczki of Hungary, who added that third place to the silver she took at the European Championships in Turkey earlier this year. She twice countered Charlene Van Snick of Belgium in the crucial bout.
The best of the bests
Rishod Sobirov, of Uzbekistan, who on Sunday was voted the outstanding judoka of today by the International Judo Federation, was a consummate winner of the Under 60 kgs, rarely being troubled in a long day of fighting in which 76 people entered the lightest of the seven classes. In the final, he met Japan’s Hiroaki Hiraoka, third in Tokyo last year. Sobirov was the more positive of the pair with Hiraoka receiving a warning for passivity. The contest was decided when Sobirov broke inside the grip of the Japanese and grasped his opponent round the body, simultanously launching a kosotogake (minor outer hook), which tumbled him to the mat. As he left the mat, Sobirov put up two fingers to the applauding crowd to indicate his two victories in these annual championships.
The bronze medals went to Ilgar Mushkiyev of Azerbaijan and Georgii Zantaraia of the Ukraine, who produced a superb left uchimata (inner thigh throw) to defeat Gwang-Hyeon Choi of South Korea.
Gold for Ebinuma, Second Silver for Cunha
The under 66 kgs division had 81 entries. Masashi Ebinuma of Japan, who has progressed strongly in the last year since only reaching the last 16 of the 2010 World Championships, defeated Brazil’s Leando Cunha, 30, who was second in those championships in Tokyo. Ebinuma, only 21 and clearly now the favourite for the Olympics next year, had earlier shown a nice variety of techniques, including shoulder and ankle throws.
In the final against a more experienced fighter, the Japanese twice tried a left uchimata (inner thigh throw). Then a third attempt, he hooked in and grabbed his opponent’s belt, giving him more purchase on the action. He started hopping as Cunha desperately tried to avoid the move. The pair moved to the edge of the mat, and then outside the main contest area until Ebinuma finally succeeded in turning his opponent and tipping him onto his back for victory.
The bronze medals went to Jun-ho Cho of Korea, who produced a smooth seiotoshi (shoulder drop) on Rok Draksic of Slovenia and Musa Mogushkov of Russia, who scored ippon on Britain’s Colin Oates with a sacrifice throw to end the contest.
Surprises for Japan
Japan, still the dominant force in the sport they invented, suffered some surprise defeats when the first three categories of the 29th World Judo Championships began at the Stade de Bercy in Paris today. Last year, when Tokyo hosted the annual event, they collected 23 medals, including 10 titles, but today they found things more difficult, as competitors from 136 countries also tussled for qualification and selection places for the 2012 Olympics.
One example of Japan’s fragility was when Junpei Morishita, 21, the defending under 66 kgs champion and Asian title-holder, was beaten by Moldova’s Igor Soroca. Morishita had begun brightly by throwing the Lithuanian Vytautas Skilinskas with a superb left osotogari (major outer reaping throw) after 1 minute 2 seconds. However, against Soroca, he got caught in an armlock and although he escaped, he damaged his arm and his opponent then threw him for ippon.
This made the category wide open, even more so when in his next fight, Soroca was himself thrown cleanly by Britain’s Colin Oates, the 2011 European bronze medallist. Normality was resumed when Leanro Cunha, the experienced 30 year-old Brazilian, who was second in the 2010 world championships, next threw Oates with uchimata (inner thigh throw), to reach the semi-finals which will be contested later today.
Cunha will now meet Rok Draksic of Slovenija, who reached the semi-finals with a momentous victory over David Larose of France. Laropse came in with a strong osotogari (major outer reaping throw) but he failed to shift his opponent and came out of the movement off-balance. Draksic then produced an immaculate kosotogari (minor outer reaping throw) to hurl the Frenchman to the mat.
The officials signalled ippon to end the contest but Larose took some time to agree to leave the mat, clearly believing that although he had been thrown he had landed on his side and therefore a lesser score should have been awarded. What was without dispute, however, was the timing and precision of the counter.
The key bout in the other side of the under 66 kgs draw was when two medallists from this year’s European Championships met, Tarlan Karimov of Azerbaijan winning on a yuko knock-down over Miklos Ungvary of Hungary. The other Japanese, Masashi Ebinuma reached the semi-finals without being excessivly troubled.
Few Problems for Sobirov
In the under 60 kgs division, Rishod Sobirov of Uzbekistan, voted by the International Judo Federation on Sunday as the outstanding competitor of today, had few problems in his early bouts. He was expected to meet Japan’s Hirofumi Yamamoto in the semi-final, only for the Japanese to be thrown so powerfuly by Won Jin Kim with a kouchigari (minor inner throw) that he seemed temporarily stunned. He took some time to recover as he trudged off the mat. However, his Japanese compatriot, Hiroaki Hiraoka was rarely troubled and he came safely through to the semi-final, where he will meet South Korea’s Gwang-Hyeon Choi.
The only woman’s class to be contested today was the under 48 kgs, in which 50 judoka took part. Both Japanese fighters reached the last four. Tomoko Fukumi, who was second in the 2010 World Championships, overcame Frederique Jossinet, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist and a regular presence on the podium at major international events, much to the disappointment of the French crowd.
Her compatriot, Haruna Asami, the reigning world champion, is in the other side of the draw and came safely through to the semi-final so they may dispute the final once again. Asami will have to defeat the talented Brazilian Sarah Menezes to ensure that she gets a chance to retain her title.
IJF Media Team
IJF Media Team