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Georgian men retain European team title in thriller against Russia
23 Apr 2017 17:45
Georgia is once again crowned as European team champion. In a super thriller the Georgian showed their depth in the team but also struck at the right moment with the right line-up against the Russians that surprisingly kept in line with the scores and came back each time.
In the first contest Georgian Vazha Margevelashvili was opposed to Ardaur Ardanov of Russia. Margevelashvili struck with a ko-soto 16 seconds in the golden score and took the lead for Georgia. Uali Kurzhev took over Lasha Shavdatuashvili U73kg and surprised him a with a straight ippon making the equalizer.
Sixteen seconds in the golden score it was Stanislav Semenov who busted Zebeda Rekhviashvili giving Russia the lead by 2-1 in a thriller match. Beka Gviniashvili had to make the equalizer against Magomed Magomedov to keep Georgia in the rally for another gold medal. After two minutes Magomedov started an action taken over by Gviniashvili with a good uchimata resulting in oseikomi for the Georgian who finished the job. The last match was the decision maker between Renat Saidov of Russia and European Champion Guram Tushishvili. Saidov is a head taller but Tushishvili dived under Saidov after two minutes in the match and thought he had won. The wazari was changed into ippon and he could continue to celebrate a huge victory in a final that was so exciting. The depth of Georgian judo is unmatched in this moment, certainly not in team matches.
Georgia won the European team title six out of seven times since 2012, six times Russia was the opponent and six times Georgia won. The only edition when France won the title in 2015 at the European Games, Georgia was still in the final.
The bronze medal went to the team of Ukraine. Although Azerbaijan was ahead by 3-0 the last two weight categories of Azerbaijan didn’t want to fight which led to a disqualification and the Ukrainians won the bronze, a remarkable decision whatever were the thoughts there. The second bronze was for Hungary that booked a sensational win over France. Hungary won its first European team medal since the championship was held in 2009 in Hungary.
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Andrin Strickler (SUI)