The third and final day of competition of the Budapest Grand Slam saw the Russian team claim top spot on the medal tally as they finished with an impressive five gold, four silver and one bronze. Perhaps most impressive of all was that of Mikhail IGOLNIKOV (RUS) whose win sees him climb the IJF WRL to a comfortable position of 13. Igolnikov managed four ippons from his five outings and did not give up a single score. Igolnikov was taken the distance only once and that was by home favourite and number four seed TOTH Krisztian (HUN) whom he threw after three minutes for waza ari with ko soto gari.
After a first round bye Igolnikov defeated former world champion at -81kg Avtandil TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO). In the quarter-final Igolnikov continued his dominance over Mammadali MEHDIYEV (AZE) and leads the head-to-head 4-0. The semi-final saw Igolnikov come up against 2018 world champion Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) against whom he has a 4-2 record. The Spaniard was perhaps a little too cautious (or maybe not depending on your point of view) and ended up getting caught in an awkward defensive position from which Igolnikov was able to take advantage, executing a ko soto gari that brought Sherazadishvili down for a waza ari that proved the winning score.
In the final GANTULGA Altanbagana (MGL) had little chance to show the form that had earlier been so impressive as with the first attack from Igolnikov the Mongolian found himself catapulted by a left uchi mata for ippon within the first 20 seconds.
In the -100kg category final Niyaz ILYASOV (RUS) defeated Arman ADAMIAN (RUS) the latter having en-route disposed of the current world champion Jorge FONSECA (POR), whilst in the +100kg category number one seed Inal TASOEV (RUS) advanced his claim for the super-heavyweight top spot for Russia when he defeated team mate Tamerlan BASHAEV (RUS). The Russian team will be particularly pleased at just how well they appear to have found an excellent balance between their well honed tachi waza prowess and their improving expertise in ne waza.
Author: Sheldon Franco-Rooks
Author: Thea Cowen