Toma Nikiforov celebrates fourth gold in Visé with home crowd
Who else than Toma Nikiforov became the winner again at the international Belgian Adidas Judo Open in Visé. Nikiforov, the bronze medallist at the World Open Championships defended his title successfully after defeating Karl-Richard Frey in the final U100kg on Sunday. It was a very welcome victory as Belgium didn’t win any other medal. Germany proved to have the strongest judoka.
Visé is not a ranking tournament but a key warming up event for the Grand Slam in Paris, or a useful week with the additional training camp in Herstal, closeby where the women’s event was held. Also it’s close to the Dutch and German boarder and not too far from France. Strong teams from those countries captured lots of medals and Germany was victorious in four out of the seven weight categories. The German claimed ten medals and France nine. Bakhtidze won a gold medal on behalf of his country Georgia, but he is training in Belgium at club Schaerbeek, the club of Nikiforov. This is why he competed at Walloon Championships for juniors last week, but also won cadet medals at French championships when he trained for one year in France. Anyway Bakhtidze became the youngest winner of the weekend winning gold in his category U66kg against Jacob Valois of Canada. Also the Canadians had a good team with Valois and Shady El Nahas who was successful U100kg with a bronze medal. The Canadian teen is perhaps the biggest talent in the team of Canada for the future.
U60kg a clean sweep for France, all four podium places for the French lightweights, all club judoka, as this event was most over clubs or regions who sent the judoka to Visé. Antoine Bidault defeated Makel Mohamedi in the final.
Robert Barwig won an all German final U73kg on Saturday and also U81kg Germany was strong with three men on the podium. Timo Cavelius (21) won the final against Frenchman Arman Khalatian, Tim Gramkow and Hannes Conrad won bronze in this category where Germany is so strong internationally and owns the world champion.
A great victory for Dario Kurbjeweit-Garcia, who this time claimed the gold in Visé. He bested Owen Livesey (GBR) in the final U90kg. It was a precious gold medal after so many silver medals in his career at European Cups and national championships. Falk Petersilka was the second German on the podium whilst Dutchman Mistral Janssen again medalled in Visé. He is familiar with the Germans as he trains in Cologne each week and is also double Belgian Champion as he studies in Belgium.
The heavyweight gold went to Germany on Saturday. Sven Heinle benefit of one moment where the remarkable finalist Jelle van den Berg wasn’t sharp. The Dutchman was a surprise as he had been serious ill last year, but seemed to have found his pace, and this silver medal is a good motivation for the training partner of Henk Grol. Heinle wasn’t the only German on the stage, Andre Breitbarth took bronze, Mustapha Abdellaoui of Morocco defeated Benjamin van Leeuwaarde (NED) for bronze.
The highlight of the weekend was the gold for Toma Nikiforov and he didn’t get it for free but finished the final off with a superb ippon combination against Frey. In his first round Toma had to defeat double Grand Slam finalist Alexandre Iddir of France, not the least in the world. Nikiforov overcame Paul DeVos (FRA), Daniel Herbst (GER) and Shady El Nahas (CAN) before he was opposed to Karl-Richard Frey, the 2015 World Championships finalist. Nikiforov won his fourth title in Visé (2012, 2013, 2017, 2018)