The final highlight from the European point of view on the 3rd competition day of the Grand Slam tournament in TASHKENT (UZB) was the final fight in the – 100 kg category between favorite Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) and outsider Aaron FARA (AUT). The latter, ranked 55th in the IJF ranking, put up a brave fight, but in the end, as expected, the veteran from Georgia, Olympic silver medalist, six-time World Championship medalist and 3-time former European champion, kept the upper hand. He took advantage of a short inattention of the Austrian and won with Ippon, thus also securing 1,000 world ranking points.
European judo was able to celebrate a total of five gold medals in Tashkent – before Liparteliani, Andreja STOJADINOV SRB/-48), Mascha BALLHAUS (GER/-52), Michaela POLLERES (AUT/-70) and Attila UNGVARI (HUN/-81) had already entered the winners’ lists. In the medal table, the EJU member countries Austria (1-2-0), Georgia (1-1-1), Hungary (1-0-3) and Germany (1-0-1) followed right behind judo great Japan (4-3-2) and host Uzbekistan (3-1-4) on ranks 3 to 6. Serbia followed on rank eight.
Stojadinov, Ballhaus and Polleres were jubilant about their respective first success at Grand Slam level, all three had previously only reached rank 3, had never been in a final for first place. For Ungvari it was already the second title after Kazan 2021, for Liparteliani success number six. By comparison, when the 34-year-old Georgian won his first World Tour gold medal in Rio 2012, Andreja Stojadinov and Mascha Ballhaus were just 12 years old.
In just under three weeks, the fourth of nine Grand Slam tournaments in 2023 will take place in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Then five victories on home soil would probably not be enough for the Europeans.
Author: EJU Media