European Judo Open Minsk 2018

On the second day at the European Open Minsk 2018, we were treated to a tremendous show of powerful and spectacular judo. 

There were some incredible performances including that of Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (GEO), stepping up to take the gold, and Elmar GASIMOV (AZE), proving his Olympian status here in Belarus. 

Yesterday the crowd were able to celebrate a home nation gold from Kseniya DANILOVICH in the -52kg category, today they were given a double serving.

The crowd truly came alive today in support of their Belarusian athletes, their support carrying Viktar KLIAVUSAU (-90kg) and Uladzislau TSIARPITSKI (+100kg) in to the nerve-racking finals. The colossal counter attacks and reflexes of KLIAVUSAU had the spectators on the edge of their seats and the sheer strength from the heavy weight category gold medallist, caused the crowd to roar with celebration, chanting for their countrymen.

The gateway to gold was not an easy feat for these athletes as the calibre of entry was so tenacious. However, KLIAVUSAU took on the challenge and bested his previous competitive results. The last time he fought fellow finalist, Oleksandr KRUK (UKR) was in the 2016 Continental Cup in Gydnia, defeating the Ukrainian in the fight for bronze in golden score. A repeat performance today saw the golden score reach almost ten minutes before the Belarusian finally clinched the contest.

KLIAVUSAU was very pleased with his performance, to achieve gold in a positive manner. He knew the final would be very difficult but his determination prevailed. When asked what he felt his key to success was today, he claimed,

“Preparation. I have prepared specifically for this tournament, with a lot of training, practices, fights and general conditioning”

“I am proud to achieve this title at home, I am not yet sure what the future holds, there are no true plans for me yet but this will be discussed with my coaches.”

The -90kg  champion concluded, “I am just so happy, I planned, I trained and I succeeded. It is all functional.”

At only 21 years of age, this is KLIAVUSAU’s first senior international medal, winning all six of his contests by ippon was icing on the cake.

The Flying Dutch-Woman

Natasha AUSMA (NED) in the -70kg category, had an outstanding performance today in the Chizhovka Arena. Winning each of her contests by ippon, she was a convincing gold medallist and true champion. 

Asking about her final celebration, the Junior World Championships bronze medallist stated,

“Things have not gone well for me recently so it was a big relief to finally have my hard work pay off.”

AUSMA's final contest against Laura VARGAS KOCH, saw her countering the World silver and Olympic bronze medallist’s ura nage with a devastating osoto gari. Previously losing to VARGAS KOCH in other tournaments, this was definitely an achievement in itself.

The Dutch judoka seemed to be fighting differently than in recent tournaments,

“Today was much different, I was much more relaxed and enjoyed each one of my contests, just having fun. I didn’t feel the pressure as much as I had a good group with me, being with my friends helped me to relax and be positive.”

Though there aren’t any concrete plans for AUSMA’s future, she will carry on her preparation and training, as she will hopefully make an appearance in her home nation, attending the Hague Grand Prix. 

Notably, this European Judo Open has drawn in players from around the globe. In particular, day one saw Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) in the -48kg category top the podium along with Uzbekistan duo Sharafuddin LUTFILLAEV (-60kg) and Khikmatillokh TURAEV (-73kg). International talent did not run dry on day two as we found Etienne BRIAND (CAN) also taking a silver in the -81kg category.

By Thea Cowen

  • -48kg Medallists

    1. GALBADRAKH, Otgontsetseg (KAZ)
    2. AIAKINA, Tatiana (RUS)
    3. GURBANLI, Aisha (AZE)
    3. TANZER, Katharina (AUT)Photographer: Anna Zelonija
  • -60 kg Medallists

    1. LUTFILLAEV, Sharafuddin( UZB)
    2. MKHEIDZE, Luka ((FRA)
    3. VERSTRAETEN, Jorre (BEL)
    3. GADZHIEV, Sakhavat (RUS)Photographer: Anna Zelonija
  • -81 kg Medallists

    1. REKHVIASHVILI, Zebeda (GEO)
    2. BRIAND, Etienne (CAN)
    3. GABAIDZE, David (RUS)
    3. ZAKARIAN, Gagik (RUS)Photographer: Anna Zelonija
  • -73 kg Medallists

    1. TURAEV, Khikmatillokh (UZB)
    2. MIKHALIN, Vladislav (RUS)
    3. EDIEV, Lechi (RUS)
    3. LOMIDZE, Lasha (RUS)Photographer: Anna Zelonija




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