Belarussian Dzmitry Minkou defeated Asian Championships bronze medallist Ganbold Kherlen of Mongolia to win U66kg gold at the Grand Prix in Tashkent. Minkou, 21 who was also Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist defeated 25 year old Ganbold who moved up the U66kg last year, by two waza-ari scores.
Ganbold launched a reaching ouchi-gari but was off balance and Minkou used his upper body to drive him over for a waza-ari score. A defensive Minkou then feared the uchi-mata from the Mongolian but then added a second waza-ari score having only seconds earlier slipped off a utsuri-goshi attempt from Ganbold. The Belarus judoka, who started the day ranked 15th in the world, will now be pushing for a place in the top 10 and has all but assured himself of a spot in December’s invite-only World Judo Masters.
In the first semi-final Ganbold defeated Minsk European Open silver medallist Artur Te (KGZ) with little resistance. The Mongolian scored a waza-ari from an uchi-mata and then moved into the osaekomi as he held down Te for 20 seconds, ending in a kami-shiho-gatame position. In the second semi-final Sardor Nurillaev (UZB) was thrown for ippon which silenced the home crowd. Minkou needed 76 seconds to cleverly catch his Uzbek opponent with a ko-soto-gari for ippon to guarantee his first Grand Prix medal.
The first bronze medal was won by Nurillaev after world number seven Baruch Shmailov (ISR) was penalised with a shido in golden score after 10 seconds for a leg grab. It represented a first IJF medal for 22-year-old Nurillaev who will now jump up the rankings from the his lowly number 43 position in the -66kg category.
The second bronze medal went to Dovdon by a single score against Artur Te (KGZ). Mongolian Dovdon countered a weak seoi-nage attempt to lift his opponent with a ura-nage for a waza-ari score and he protected his advantage to win his ninth career Grand Prix medal.