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Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag celebrates victory with Mongolian home crowd

Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag celebrates victory with Mongolian home crowd

26 Jun 2023 10:20
IJF Media team by Nicolas Messner and JudoInside
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) remains a phenomenon. Many athletes and fans thought he had stopped, at the Grand Slam in Ulaanbaatar he got injured and athletes thought he would stop, but Liparteliani doesn’t. He was in the final of a Grand Slam once again. At 34, the world and Olympic medallist still wants it and his fighting spirit is in tact. 10th in the ranking list for the moment, he remains a judoka that no-one in the category really wants to meet, in the hope of an easy bout.

If today his standing movements are perhaps slightly less impactful than a few years ago, he has developed a formidable weapon on the ground, which, even today, allowed him to win several rounds to reach the final. It's even more exceptional when you know that Liparteliani was visibly uncomfortable with a minor injured in the knee. Limping, this did not prevent him from giving everything against the reigning Olympic champion, Aaron Wolf (JPN), for a waza-ari and then an immobilisation.

The first known name of the finalist being that of Liparteliani, the second remained to be known. Reigning world champion Arman Adamian (AIN) was the big favourite but that was without counting on the power of competing at home. Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag (MGL) took full advantage against Adamian, throwing the world champion for a flawless ippon.

On this third day of competition, we had the rights to everything: spectacular techniques, a keen sense of tactics, power and strength. Varlam Liparteliani's career has been exemplary in this regard. Although slightly diminished physically, he knew how to play on all fronts to reach the final and it may not have been the expected final, but the Liparteliani vs Batkhuyag match was shaping up to be exciting. The first uchi-mata came from Batkhuyag. No score but already a massive hoorah from the stands. Both were then launching strong attacks but the strongest once again came from Batkhuyag with an uchi-mata that sent Liparteliani on to his stomach for no score.

In golden score, Liparteliani launched an insufficiently prepared seoi-nage attack. Batkhuyag just moved to the side to literally hug his opponent and counter-attack. The score was announced while the public exploded with joy; a gold medal for Gonchigsuren Batkhuyag and for the host country.

Zelym Kotsoiev (AZE) and Arman Adamian (AIN) had an extra chance to complete the podium. It took more than 1:30 in the golden score period for the first penalty to be awarded to each athlete as they showed some will to score so far, even if it was unsuccessful. Really exhausted, more penalties were given so that in the end, Adamian won the bronze medal.

Piotr Kuczera (POL) and Aaron Wolf (JPN) met in the second match for a bronze medal and it went to Wolf who performed in a massive action-reaction movement for ippon. It wasn’t the colour the Olympic champion expected here, but still a very good competition for him.

For the first time since Temuulen Battulga in 2013 Ulaanbaatar had a Mongolian winner at its own event.

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