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First Grand Slam gold for Doston Ruziev

First Grand Slam gold for Doston Ruziev

1 Mar 2024 16:05
IJF Media team by Vimal Sankar Thiruthiyil Neduvenchery and JudoInside
Tamara Kulumbegashvili - IJF

Doston Ruziev (UZB) was not fazed by the sight of Giorgi Sardalashvili (GEO). The local hero was not among the top names to take the gold medal but such is the nature of judo at his own Grand Slam in Tashkent. A few seconds can change the fate of a match and Ruziev’s smile at the end of the final conveyed that more than anything.

Sardalashvili, up against Ruziev in the final ,was expected to win by most of those present in the Humo Arena but making up for the loss of compatriot Baratov, a fantastic osae-komi earned him an ippon victory, to the delight of the home crowd. His control of the upper part of the body while executing the technique was sensational, leaving Sardalashvili with no answer.

Jorre Verstraeten (BEL) may have secured qualification for Paris 2024 already but he would have wished for more points when he arrived in Uzbekistan. After a waza-ari against Gamzat Zairbekov (AIN) in the round of 16, Picard was too hot to handle for the Belgian. Nonetheless, a medal was well within his reach against Yildiz, following the repechage, while Bliev and Picard would battle it out for the other bronze.

It was a balanced approach from Verstraeten and Yildiz in the first bronze medal match but the latter got the advantage when the Belgian was penalised. It didn’t last long as the tense situation meant Yildiz also received a shido. With 50 seconds left, Verstraeten was warned once again, with frustration beginning to kick in. It was Yildiz’s day in the end, as the Belgian bowed by hansoku-make, cumulatively.

Despite being big throwers, Bliev and Picard were cautious and fought with a sense of calm. With both judoka not in a hurry, it was all about who would commit that costly mistake. Golden score was the way to go and that changed the dynamics. With only 11 seconds gone, a tai-otoshi helped Picard to bronze.

Giorgi Sardalashvili (GEO) did not waste any time against Kamoliddin Bakhtiyorov (UZB) in the first round of the men’s -60 kg category, overpowering him with an o-soto-otoshi to secure a waza-ari. He backed that up by getting rid of Haqdod Gulov (TJK) but had to wait until golden score to secure the win.

In the quarter-final, Yeldos Smetov (KAZ) was not his usual self, bowing out after three penalties resulted in a hansoku-make. In the semi-final too, another waza-ari was enough to ease past Romain Valadier Picard (FRA).

For second seed Dilshodbek Baratov (UZB), the quest for another gold in 2024, after winning at the grand prix in Odivelas, did not go according to plan. Younes Saddiki (MAR) exited the tournament after three shidos against the local hero. Baratov then secured a golden score waza-ari against Jose Ramos (GUA) before Salih Yildiz (TUR) stunned him with an ippon throw in the quarter-final. He could not recover from that and a chance to compete for bronze against Ayub Bliev (AIN) did not come to fruition.

Mongolian Ariunbold Enkhtaivan executed a superb sumi-otoshi to despatch Chong-You Lin (TPE) to complete a waza-ari-awasete-ippon win in round one of pool D. Ruziev, however, used his body well against third seed Enkhtaivan to secure the ippon in the round of 16. Ruziev continued his winning form against Bliev with a golden score waza-ari and starred with an osae-komi win in the semi-final against Yildiz.

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