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Korean An Ba-Ul surprises elite taking the world title

25 Aug 2015 15:25

   IJF Media Team / IJF
20150825_Astana_final_AN, Baul (KOR) - PULYAEV, Mikhail (RUS)10

Korean An Ba-Ul has captured the world title for Korea. The Junior World Champion of 2013 now also won the senior world title. Coached by Min-Ho Choi, the Olympic Champion of 2008 and World Champion of 2007 AN surprised the judo elite by personally taking down Carlos Tondique, Dzmitry Shershan, Kamal Khan-Magomedov, Rishod Sobirov, Golan Pollack and in the final Russian vice world champion Mikhail Pulyaev.

In the final both athletes were penalised three times, first An, then Pulyaev got his third. With this equal basis both fighters went into golden score. After one minute and three seoi nage attempts by An, Pulyaev was empty and got his fourth penalty. An took the world title, a huge surprise given the fact that Pulyaev had beaten him in Tokyo last year, but An has grown and learned of each loss.

What a day for Korean judo after a great start at day 1, now 21-year old An was the ace of the day. An survived the pool of death with besides the ones above Masashi Ebinuma who got spanked by Rishod Sobirov with a huge takeover. Kham Magodeov had taken out Khashbaatar of Mongolia while Golan Pollack was the winner of the first pool. Pollack surprised Georgii Zantaraia in his first match after the Israelian had beaten Spanish David Ramirez. Zantarai was the highest seed and not the Ukrainian but Pollack had to take it up with Loic Korval, Europe’s vice champion. Pollack won and beat Italian Elio Verde who had taken out Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan.

On the other side of the table the semi finalist became Mikhail Pulyaev, who was the only high seed who didn’t disappoint in this string field. Pulyaev defeated Hyon (PRK), David Larose of France, Jesus Gavidia (PER) and Germany’s Sebastian Seidl as last in the quarter final. Pulyaev is always stable and managed to perform that way on the tatami.

Yeldos Zhumakanov of Kazakhstan was not expected among the best judoka today. But the crowd that was spoiled on Monday got some candy to chew on again. Zhumakanov is the number 32 of the World Rank and won bronze at the Asian Games. In March he was in the final of the Warsaw European Open won by a young kid An Ba-Ul. Zhumakanov started to shine after defeating 8. Seed Colin Oates, Khalfaoui and Krassas. However against the strong Tumurkhuleg Daavadorj not many gave him a chance, but the opposite occurred and Zhumakanov reached the semi final.

An finished Pollack quickly while Pulyaev had a tough opponent but still took the lead by wazari and finished the match against Zhumakanov.

Pulyaev finished with silver just like last year. On the other hand it gives him more power to convince the technical staff who is considered the number one for Russia U66kg. Despite the choices they have with Kamal Khan-Magomedov, Shamilov, Lavrentiev and perhaps Galstyan and if needed Gadanov, Pulyaev made one thing clear, he is the man for Rio.

No doubt An Ba-Ul is the man for Korea in Rio, no one comes near U66kg for Korea.

An is the fourth youngster who cashes his World Junior title for a Senior title. Jae-Yup Kim in 1987 U60kg, Min-Sun Cho in 1993 U66kg for women and Jae-Bum Kim in 2010. An won the junior world title in 2013 U60kg.

Today he wrote history for Korea that continues its successful World Championships with three medals.

AN said: "I am so happy, I really can't believe it. I have to thank my coach and all of the team who have helped me to achieve this. I can't describe how I feel, the gold medal is what I always dreamed of and I am ecstatic."


The bronze medal went to Golan Pollack who snatched away the bronze medal for Davaadorj in the dying seconds of the match where Pollack had one more penalty. He surprised Davaadorj 10 seconds for the end with an o-uchi with his tall legs and got his necessary yuko.

Rishod Sobirov won the bronze medal by a combination at Zhumakanov with one waza-ari difference. One minute for the end he hit the scoreboard with the decisive point.

Three Asian nations won gold, Argentina took gold by Pareto. This is comparable to the first two days of the 2014 edition where Europe won gold by Kelmendi and Asia started well but Europe got back at day 4.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Mikhail Puliaev (RUS), Ba-Ul An (KOR) - World Championships Astana (2015, KAZ) - © IJF Media Team, IJF
  • Ba-Ul An (KOR), Mikhail Puliaev (RUS), Rishod Sobirov (UZB), Golan Pollack (ISR) - World Championships Astana (2015, KAZ) - © IJF Media Team, IJF
  • Golan Pollack (ISR), Georgii Zantaraia (UKR) - World Championships Astana (2015, KAZ) - © IJF Media Team, IJF

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