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Khasan Khalmurzaev surprises judo king Tchrikishvili with golden sweep

22 Apr 2016 20:05

   David Finch / Judophotos.com
20160422_Kazan_ECH_DF_day2_Khasan Khalmurzaev

Perhaps the most competitive weight category at the European Championships in Kazan was the men’s U81kg division. And when President Putin comes to see you, special powers come up. Khasan Khalmurzaev needed all the powers to defeated king Avtandili Tchrikishvili. The triple European champion is uncrowned.

Everyone is saying that Russia have Ivan Nifontov for the Games, but so far Khasan Khalmurzaev couldn’t do better in this Olympic cycle, where he the 22-year old Russian made the transition from a successful junior to a world class athlete U81kg.

“Today’s victory is the most important in my life and it is a real big step towards my future career. My victory in Slovenia was great but winning today, well, it is a completely different emotion,” Khalmurzaev was referring to the Cadet Europeans in Slovenia in 2009 where he also won the gold medal. He could also have added Belgium where he won the Junior European title. These fights are the most important for me because and I feel that I am maturing. I don’t really know what to say about the complete day and, in a way, I am shocked that I was able win against arguably the strongest athlete in the category.”

From Kid to Olympic challenger

2009 European Cadet champion U73kg

2009 World Cadet champion U73kg

2010 Youth Olympic Games Singapore silver U81kg

2011 European Cadet champion U81kg

2013 European U23 silver medallist U81kg

2014 European U23 bronze medallist U81kg

2015 Grand Slam Baku winner U81kg, his 4th World Tour victory

2015 World Universiade winner U81kg

2016 European senior champion U81kg

Ranked #5 in the IJF World Ranking as best Russian. His twin brother won the Grand Prix in this month U90kg.

Khasan surprised Avtandili Tchrikishvili in the second minute when Tchrikishvili looked somewhat sloppy in his movements, suddenly Khalmurzaev countered the Georgian for wazari and despite two penalties he kept the champion at a distance and gave his business card to all 8,000 spectators and thanks Dimitri Morozov for that little extra that he needed today. 

Khalmurzaev: “My weight category is quite popular in Russia as there are quite a few of us already within the qualification zone. Final selection will depend on the decision of our team manager, Ezio Gamba. All I can do is to deliver my best each and every time. If I am the one to represent Russia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games then I will be delighted to do so.” Khalmurzaev said to the EJU reporters.

This Olympic cycle European Champions

2015      Khasan Khalmurzaev (RUS)

2015      Avtandili Tchrikishvili (GEO)

2014      Avtandili Tchrikishvili (GEO)

2013      Avtandili Tchrikishvili (GEO)

2012      Sirazhudin Magomedov (RUS)

Today’s dark horse was Robin Pacek (25) who only lost to Tchrikishvili, but won his other four matches included a surprise victory against young stallion Frank de Wit who got caught by wazari and proceeded in ne-waza to a successful sankaku and became the fifth Swedish man to win a European medal and the first one U81kg. Pacek was absolutely on fire and inspired his brother Martin for more success.

Bulgarian Ivaylo Ivanov (21) got awarded with bronze for his almost perfect day where he reached the semi final against Khalmurzaev and defeated Valeriu Duminica for bronze by two extra Yukos in the last minute. For teh first time since 2007 a Bulgarian men wins a medal. For Bulgaria it was the second medal as Ivelina Ilieva won silver on Thursday.

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