Azerbaijan have a world class medal candidate in Balabay Aghayev
The category for men U60 started with a bang in Paris, with the defeat of the world number one and top seed of the competition, Yung Wei Yang (TPE) who bowed from the start to the Ecuadorian Bryan Garboa. Even if this surprising result was the consequence of a disqualification on penalties, there was nothing more to be done. In the following round Garboa could not repeat his feat and he lost to Khanbolot Yrysbekov (KGZ) who himself could not do anything against Cédric Revol (FRA).
After the opening victory of Blandine Pont (FRA), in the women's light weight division, Revol had a good chance to make the Marseillaise resonate in the Accor Arena but clearly the more dangerous judoka was Balaban Aghayev who was launching kata-guruma after kata-guruma. Maybe they didn’t offer enough to score but there was certainly enough for Revol to be penalised with a first shido. Aghayev's attacks became less precise and powerful and it was his turn to be penalised with a shido for a false attack. Once in golden score a few seconds were enough to determine the winner, as Aghayev executed a very clever counterattack with tani-otoshi for waza-ari, upsetting Revol. It was a third gold medal for Aghayev in a grand slam and also a beautiful performance from Revol.
It should be noted that neither of them were among the favourites this morning, but pushed by the public, they managed to transcend their expectations to advance in the competition. Beyond the performance, we can notice that for some time the French men's team has been chaining performances together, finding a little of the superb, which it had lost in recent years. It's a good sign for the French in view of the Paris 2024 Games. There is still a long way to go but the host team is not going to hide its pleasure.
Pool C favourite, Korean Harim Lee, got off to a perfect start in his competition by stringing together victories, before failing against Kamoliddin Bakhtiyorov (UZB), who stole the show to face Balaban Aghayev (AZE) in the semi-final, who then eventually qualified for the final.
Bouda was really hoping for a place on the podium, which would have concluded an almost perfect day, but in the bronze medal match he lost to Harim Lee (KOR) who pinned him down for ippon, while the second bronze medal went to Kamoliddin Bakhtiyorov.