KHALMURZAEV COMES OF AGE

European Judo Championships 2016 Kazan

The visit of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on the second day of the 2016 European Judo Championships in Kazan coincided with Russia’s best performance of the championships to date. Namely, a gold medal for Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) in the -81kg category.

The four weight categories being contested today saw four gold medals shared between Slovenia, France, Azerbaijan and Russia. With regard to the -63kg category, number one seed, Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) delivered what was expected of her and secured her first European title. In the -70kg category number four seed, Gevrise EMANE (FRA) defeated top seed Kim POLLING (NED) before going on to defeat Esther STAM (GEO) and, in the process, take her fifth European title. Meanwhile in the -73kg category Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) finished on an emotional high as he triumphed in the -73kg category, his first-ever European medal.

It was Khalmurzaev, who won Russia’s first gold medal of the championships, however, who put on the finest show. To reach the semi-final stage, Khalmurzaev threw all of his opponents for Ippon. First to fall was Asaf CHEN (ISR), followed by Jakub KUBIENIEC (POL) and then Joachim BOTTIEAU (BEL). The 22 year old was certainly satisfied with winning the gold medal. However, when asked whether he was pleased with his overall performance, he responded, “Today’s victory is the most important in my life and it is a real big step towards my future career. My victory in Slovenia was great but winning today, well, it is a completely different emotion,” Khalmurzaev was referring to the Cadet Europeans in Slovenia in 2009 where he also won the gold medal. He could also have added Belgium where he won the Junior European title.

The semi-final brought about a match up with number three seed, Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL), where a yuko difference helped Khalmurzaev to reach the final stage. And then came the biggest match-up of the day against triple European Champion, and number one seed, world ranking leader, Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO). The Georgian judoka entered with a less than effective attempt to throw on the right-side that was counter-attacked by Khalmurzaev for a waza ari score. The Russian judoka expressed his feelings after the final, “These fights are the most important for me because and I feel that I am maturing. I don’t really know what to say about the complete day and, in a way, I am shocked that I was able win against arguably the strongest athlete in the category.”

With regard to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, he added: “It is a really good question. My weight category is quite popular in Russia as there are quite a few of us already within the qualification zone. Final selection will depend on the decision of our team manager, Ezio Gamba. All I can do is to deliver my best each and every time. If I am the one to represent Russia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games then I will be delighted to do so.”

Five remaining categories left (-78kg, +78kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg) for the third and final day of the individual championship. The tournament will begin at 13.00 (local time) tomorrow. WATCH LIVE via eju.net


-73 kg

1. ORUJOV, Rustam (AZE)

2. SHAVDATUASHVILI, Lasha (GEO)

3. DRAKSIC, Rok (SLO)

3. TATALASHVILI, Nugzari (GEO)

-81 kg

1. KHALMURZAEV, Khasan (RUS)

2. TCHRIKISHVILI, Avtandili (GEO)

3. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)

3. PACEK, Robin (SWE)

-63 kg

1. TRSTENJAK, Tina (SLO)

2. UNTERWURZACHER, Kathrin (AUT)

3. VALKOVA, Ekaterina (RUS)

3. VAN EMDEN, Anicka (NED)

-70 kg

1. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)

2. STAM, Esther (GEO)

3. GERCSAK, Szabina (HUN)

3. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)

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