28 August 2009

Georgian judo legend Chochisvili (59) passed away

Judo lost one its famous characters when Shota Chochisvili died at the age of 59 overnight.

The Georgian legend was suffering from cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy from 2004 until 2008. In 2003 he had a heart surgery and after that he was diagnosed with cancer.

Chochisvili is survived by his wife and two sons. His son Ramaz (33) does judo on a high level as well and captured three bronze medals at the European Championships.

Shota Chochisvili was born in the Georgian city of Gori in the former Soviet Union on 10 July 1950.

In 1972, he lost the final of the European under 93kgs title to Angelo Parisi of Britain (later to represent France).

In the Munich Olympics, he was beaten by another British light-heavyweight Dave Starbrook in the preliminaries but under the rules then in place, he was able to come back in the repechage and took the title, beating Starbrook in the final.

He won a bronze medal four years later in Montreal (Open).

He also finished third at the 1975 World Championships in Vienna (Open), when he could have done event better but in throwing the Japanese Haruki Uemura, the eventual winner, in the semi-final with uranage, he knocked himself semi-conscious and the Japanese was able to hold him down.

His uranage was celebrated in his contests and much feared. His last major international contest was when he lost the 1977 European Open final, being thrown by Parisi with left osotogari after leading for much of the bout.

In Georgia, Chochisvili introduced revolutionary new training techniques which are still commonly used in judo.

After his career Chochisvili became vice-president of the Georgian IOC and the Georgian judo federation. In the Georgian capital Tbilisi the Chochisvili hall, where the European Championships were held this year, is named after him.