Azeri judoka win Grand Prix Baku

Azerbaijan has done a great job winning its own Grand Prix in Baku. The host nations collected six gold medals, followed by Japan winning four titles. The points awarded for the rankings count for the World Ranking list, and will allow the IJF at the end of year to invite the top 16 athletes per weight category to participate in the World Judo Masters, which concludes every World Judo Tour season. It was a very intense final fight U81kg that was proposed to the public, which was cheering its favorite, SAFGULIYEV, Tural (AZE), like never before. Attack after attack, supported by an unbelievable atmosphere, SAFGULIYEV took the lead and never let it go. In the final U90kg, Iurii PANASENKOV was more active than his opponent Ramin GURBANOV (AZE) and regularly put his opponent out of balance. That was enough for him to win this year's edition of the Judo Grand Prix in Baku Beka BERDZENISHVILI from Georgia, scored a first yuko after the 40 first seconds of the final U100kg. But the 110th position at the World Ranking list of Elkhan MAMMADOV is definitely not representative of the talent of that judoka and the tremendous o-goshi that he launched a bit later in the final, did not leave any chance to BERDZENISHVILI to counter attack. The public could relax and enjoy a new victory for Azerbaijan. Until the last seconds, Russian, Soslan BOSTANOV, was leading with a yuko in the final +100kg. 35 Seconds before the end of the fight, Masaru MOMOSE attacked, probably for the last time, and scored a ippon, ruining the hopes of BOSTANOV. The bronze medal was won by Andrey FATIYEV (AZE) in front of his teammate Rafael SHAHVERDIYEV (AZE). U63kg Bronze medallist at the World Championships, Tokyo 2010, YUSUBOVA was widely supported by her home public in the final of the women's -63kg, but today Haruka YASUMATSU, from Japan, was the strongest. During more than 4 minutes and a half, the two competitors could not take the advantage, and the whole public was expecting the golden score, when, 10 seconds before the final gong, the Japanese engaged her left foot behind Yusubova's left leg, for a left-handed o-soto-gari and a liberating ippon and a clear win. Number 5 in the World Ranking List U70kg, Rasa SRAKA (SLO) gave no chance and no hope to Kristina MARIJANOVIC (CRO) to win the gold medal. She scored a first waza-ari after only a few seconds in the final. She finally immobilized MARIJANOVIC and won an 11th title on the occasion of a world judo tour event. The public really expected the young Gunay ALMAMMADLI (AZE) to be able to win against the strong Rasa SRAKA (SLO), but after a few seconds only, The Slovenian fighter went through her opponent defense with a precise right-handed o-soto-gari for ippon. The second semi final was not longer as it took only 40 seconds to the Croatian, MARIJANOVIC, to score a first waza-ari with an almost perfect movement, just before finishing the job by immobilizing MATNIYAZOVA (UZB), who couldn't escape from MARIJANOVIC's grip. The final of the women's +78kg category was won by the Georgian, Irine LEONIDZE, with a yuko corresponding to the two shido received by her opponent for passivity. This victory brought the first gold medal of the week-end to Georgia, which had already collected several other medals. The bronze medal was won by Gulnara ASADOVA (AZE). Text: IJF Media Team