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Nugzari Tatalashvili cashes each valuable point in the race to Rio
26 Mar 2016 19:30
Georgian new star Nugzari Tatalashvili cemented his status as Georgia’s leading man at U73kg and could not settle for anything less than top spot as his teammates claimed both bronze medals. Tatalashvili cherishes each points he can collect in the race for Rio.
Tatalashvili made a slow start in the final against Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Ganbaatar Odbayar of Mongolia as he was penalised for passivity in the first minute and again a minute later. The Georgian Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist gradually warmed up and looked more threatening which saw him throw the Mongolian with an osoto-makikomi for waza-ari and followed up with osaekomi to trap his rival with a ushiro-yoko-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds and gold in Tbilisi.
In the first semi-final Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili was usurped by Ganbaatar on shido penalties 1:2 after a frustrating contest for the home fighter who saw his teammate and challenger for a spot at Rio 2016, Tatalashvili, defeat Prague European Open winner Georgios Azoidis (GRE) at the same stage. Both judoka were penalised for passivity before Azoidis was held accountable for having an overly defensive posture and then going out of the area. The exhausted Greek judoka was forced to put in an attack with three shidos already to his name and he failed with a tired uchi-mata attack which Tatalashvili anticipated and held down his adversary for 20 seconds to move into the final.
The first bronze medal was won by Shavdatuashvili as he bested former Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Marcelo Contini (BRA). After both judoka were penalised for passivity the crowd burst into full voice with chants of ‘Lasha’ who instantly responded as he picked up his opponent with a huge ura-nage for ippon. The 24-year-old’s gold backpatch has made him a scalp every judoka wishes to take in this cycle and he looks more and more comfortable wearing it but still has a lot of work to do to book his ticket to Rio 2016. The second bronze medal was won by former Sofia European Open bronze medallist Phridon Gigani (GEO) who produced the first and only score of the contest in the final 12 seconds as he threw Azoidis with a huge hip technique before landing under his opponent and in osaekomi. However, Azoidis was running on empty and lost control of the hold after just one second as Georgia won their second -73kg bronze medal.
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