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January peakers come back when needed

27 Jan 2016 14:47

   IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20110827_Paris_MIKHAYLIN, Alexander (RUS) (2)

Since a few years the Continental Open of Sofia is one of the first Qualification events of the year. This year The African Open in Tunis and Grand Prix of Havana were already held before Havana, even still in January. Also last year Tunis had the premier of the season. Which athletes are the topscorers in January?

In 2013 there wasn’t any Qualification event in January, nor in 2006, 2001 over the last 20 years. This year Marie Eve Gahie top the last with most medals after two events. She won bronze last week in Havana and took the gold Tunis. Belgian Ilse Heylen won silver in Havana, she is always among the early birds. The 2004 Olynmpic medallist won her 51st international medal this week, a great milestone, three victories were achieved in January. In 2004 she won The Super A-tournament in Moscow and the A-tournament in Sofia and in 2005 she also won Sofia, all held in the first month.

Other early birds were Russian Elena Ivaschenko, RIP. She won three gold medals in Moscow and twice in Sofia. Georgian Zaza Kedelashvili was the traditional triple winner in Tbilisi in January, now held as Grand Prix in March. Same counts for Zurab Zviaduari of Georgia. His golden Olympic colleague Irakli Tsirekidze took three silver medals in Tbilisi, but we must admit he compensated that with grace.

Among the topscorers was Alexander Mikhailin. In his long career he won Moscow three times in January and once in Tbilisi. In the women’s division Petra Nareks was always in shape in January. Four victories; Two in Sofia, Moscow and Tunis last year. Her compatriot Lucija Polavder won three times in Sofia, but she also took three silver medals in Sofia and Moscow.

The absolute January topscorer is Russian Islam Matsiev who won 5 ‘World Tour’ events over the last 20 years starting in 1996. He won the International tournament of Moscow, in fact now the current Grand Slam of Tyumen 5 times!

Follow JudoInside this weekend with the Euro Open in Sofia... still in January.

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  • Ilse Heylen (BEL) - Grand Prix Havana (2016, CUB) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Zurab Zviadauri (GEO) - Grand Slam Paris (2012, FRA) - © Christian Fidler
  • Urska Zolnir (SLO), Petra Nareks (SLO) - European Games Baku teams (2015, AZE) - © European Judo Union / EJU, Copyright: www.eju.net

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