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Varlam Liparteliani among oldest Grand Slam winners ever

Varlam Liparteliani among oldest Grand Slam winners ever

5 Mar 2023 16:55
IJF Media team by Nicolas Messner and JudoInside
JudoHeroes & IJF Media / Copyright:

At 34, Liparteliani proved with his gold medal at the Grand Slam in Tashkent that he still has the motivation and the ability to compete at the highest level. In the semi-final, against the Japanese Kotaro Ueoka, although led by a waza-ari that was scored after a only few seconds, the world and Olympic medallist managed to pick up the score and hold Ueoka in an acrobatic position on the floor.

The final promised to be explosive, Aaron Fara (AUT) having showed incredible throwing capabilities since the early morning, while Liparteliani could hold anyone down. Fara quickly showed that he had the physical advantage, but it's not enough to be stronger when you compete against someone of the caliber of the Georgian champion.

It’s also often when Liparteliani seems to be most under pressure that he drops under an opponent as he did in Tashkent, with a brilliant drive, the head under the armpit, in a form of kata-guruma. He threw Fara for waza-ari and pinned him down for ippon. Liparteliani is stil here and well here.

The first match for a bronze medal saw Daniel Eich (SUI) and Kotaro Ueoka (JPN) face off for a place on the podium. At the beginning of the match, both athletes had their warning, since each of them showed throwing capacity that for the moment was not successful, even if they were dangerous. Ueoka showed some discomfort as Eich was getting closer but within the blink of an eye, he executed a perfect right-handed seoi-nage for ippon, with the correct kuzushi and a precise tsurite (lifting hand) before concluding in style. It was bronze for Kotaro Ueoka.

Nurlykhan Sharkhan (KAZ) and Dzhafar Kostoev (UAE) completed the athletes qualified for the final block. Kostoev was immediately to action, scoring a waza-ari with a beautiful and fast makikomi. He double the score a little later with exactly the same technique for a clear victory. The second bronze medal was for Dzhafar Kostoev.

If the Uzbek fans came to see their hero Bobonov at -90kg, up close, they also came to admire another of their recent world champions, Muzaffarbek Turoboyev. Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived, as Turoboyev looked utterly helpless in the first round against Bekarys Saduakas (KAZ), who gave him no chance to impose his height and crossed kumi-kata, to develop his judo. Turoboyev's hopes were already over and the table therefore opened up for a few surprises.

On this boulevard, liberated by the elimination of the world champion, it was the Austrian Aaron Fara who made the strongest impression, winning against Dzhafar Kostoev (UAE) in the semi-finals.

The victory for Liparteliani was among the oldest ever victories in a Grand Slam. However, in the same category Ariel Zeevi (2011), Elkhan Mammadov (2016) and Henk Grol (2020) were even older but all were 34 years. The oldest woman to win a Grand Slam is Telma Monteiro (35 in 2021 in Abu Dhabi

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