SHAMILOV STAKES CLAIM FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PLACE WITH HOHHOT GOLD

Grand Prix Hohhot 2017

Having won gold in Qingdao in 2014 it would appear that China is a happy hunting ground for Yakub SHAMILOV (RUS). The 26-year old Russian used the opening day of the Hohhot Grand prix to claim his second ever IJF Grand Prix gold medal. However, as impressive as his win was, the -66kg category is one in which Russia has depth in abundance and today’s exploits may not be enough to secure his selection for the forthcoming world championships in Budapest in August.

Seeded number two, Shamilov wasted no time in his opening contest when he threw LEE Yuk Ting (HKG) after only 22 seconds for ippon. In his quarter final Shamilov faced the talented HASIGUCHI Yuuki (JPN) whom he threw after 1:10 seconds for ippon. Shamilov now has a 3-1 record against Japanese fighters. In his semi final Shamilov was taken the distance by newcomer YONDONPERENLEI Baskhuu (MGL) whose attacking style impressed the local crowd. Shamilov scored twice to take him into the final where he met former world champion at -60kg Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR). It was Shamilov who, in an exciting and finely balanced contest, scored a single waza ari that proved sufficient to take the gold medal.

Shamilov was the class act of the category, racking up five scores (two ippons and three waza ari) in his four contests whilst keeping a clean sheet. When asked about the final Shamilov said, “I did not have any special plan for facing Zantaraia. I have practiced with him on many occasions and, despite having lost to him in our two previous meetings, I enjoy this style of fighting. I know that Zantaraia is a fighter who likes to have close contact; but so do I. So I was quite prepared to mix it with him in this regard.” Commenting on what pleased him most about his performance Shamilov said, “I am really happy to have won gold, of course but, if I am honest, I was just as pleased today by having defeated Hashiguchi.”

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