Heavyweight Tamerlan Bashaev has been selected to represent the Russian Judo Federation at the Olympic Games. Bashaev took silver at the recent World Championships in Budapest and he claimed two back-to-back Grand Slam victories. Team manager Ezio Gamba did not pick European Champion Inal Tasoev.
Chechen judoka Bashaev (25) of Edelweiss Grozny, being a somewhat smaller judoka in the field, has a real weapon with his seoi nage skills and groundwork. A difficult decision for the Russian Judo Federation. The two year younger Tasoev seemed to be the chosen one after victories at the Junior World Championships in the beginning of the qualification period and at his debut at the IJF World Tour. Tasoev developed rapidly and won his first Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi in 2018. In 2019 Bashaev got injured for eight months and Tasoev continued with a gold medal at the Grand Slam in Osaka and after the COVID-19 period, Tasoev had a real gap with Bashaev. When Bashaev was able to make his comeback he got defeated by Tasoev in the final of the Grand Slam in Budapest in 2020.
Bashaev though came back strongly with a victory at the European Championships in Prague, in the final against Tasoev. A luxury position for the Russian Federation and both were sent to the IJF World Masters in Doha where Tasoev took silver after a final against Teddy Riner and Bashaev finished fifth.
Since then Bashaev got the chances to get back and show himself. Bashaev took silver in Tel Aviv after a loss against Gela Zaalishvili (GEO) but then booked victories in Antalya and the maiden Grand Slam in Kazan. Bashaev took revenge on Zaalishvili at the World Championships but lost to Kageura in an exciting heavyweight final. Tasoev didn’t compete in Budapest.
On Tuesday morning the Russian Judo Federation announced to send Bashaev to the Olympic Games. The man is on form, but the track record against Olympic opponents is less impressive than Tasoev’s records who defeated Dutchman Henk Grol three times and Bashaev lost three times to Grol. Tasoev didn’t lose against Rafael Silva, Bashaev is 1-1 in records. Against Iakiv Khammo Bashaev has a slightly better record against Iakiv Khammo and against top favourite Hisayoshi Harasawa it is 1-1 where Tasoev lost twice. Bashaev seems to perform well against the tall men in the field.
In terms of results both athletes have an outstanding record. Both took gold and silver at Europeans, Tasoev took silver, Bashaev bronze at World Masters and at Grand Slams, Bashaev took one more silver medal. At Grand Prix level Bashaev took one more bronze medal.
Like in some situations the performances of both athletes were outstanding comparable to a situation with Klimkait and Deguchi and Abe and Maruyama. A Judo-off or a World Championships battle was not the case in the Russian decision, but Bashaev is clearly the man on form.
Bashaev follows up Renat Saidov (9th) who was selected in 2016, Alexander Mikhailin who took silver at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and Tamerlan Tmenov who competed at the Olympic Games of 2000 (bronze), 2004 (silver) and 2008 (7).
The announcement of the Russian Federation was attended by
- First Vice President of the Russian Olympic Committee Igor Levitin,
- President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov,
- Minister of Sports of Russia Oleg Matytsin
- President of the Russian Judo Federation Vasily Anisimov,
- First Vice-President of the Russian Judo Federation, President of the International Judo Foundation Arkady Rotenberg,
- General manager of the Russian national judo team Ezio Gamba (on a distance)
- Sports Director of the Russian Judo Federation Kirill Denisov,
- Head coach of the Russian men's national team Khasanbi Taov,
- Head coach of the Russian women's team Dmitry Morozov (on a distance)