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Reliable Alan Khubetsov wins fifth World Tour event
24 Sep 2016 21:30
Former Baku Grand Slam winner Alan Khubetsov won Russia’s first gold medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix 2016 by beating Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Csoknyai Laszlo of Hungary in the U81kg final.
Csoknyai was overwhelmed in the final as he lost to the 23-year-old by a waza-ari from a yoko-otoshi having already been behind to a yuko. Khubetsov was not at his best today as he failed to win any of his contests by ippon but despite his inability to conjure up some of the explosive ippon judo we know he is capable of, the Russian was ahead of the -81kg field and is on course to become Russia’s number two at this weight behind Olympic champion Khasan Khalmurzaev.
In the first semi-final Khubetsov defeated teammate Aslan Lappinagov by a yuko in a contest which will have ramifications for future international selections for both men. Khubetsov shut out his colleague to advance into the final as both men were left to their own devices with no Russian coaches matside as is customary when two judoka from the same country are squaring off. In the second semi-final Csoknyai, who lost out to world champion Nagase Takanori in his only contest at Rio 2016, bested Samsun Grand Prix winner Damian Szwarnowiecki by osaekomi as the broad Hungarian used all of his bulky 81kg frame to press down onto the Polish judoka for all 20 seconds.
The first bronze medal was won by Tallinn European Open bronze medallist Szwarnowiecki who conquered teammate and former Warsaw European Open bronze medallist Jakub Kubieniec. A waza-ari in favour of Szwarnowiecki was the only score of the contest as Poland continued to star in Zagreb. The winner picked up a knock in the last exchanges and was carried off the mat by his defeated colleague Kubieniec in a moment that was richly-applauded by the sizable crowd. The second bronze medal was also won by Tyumen Grand Slam winner Lappinagov who submitted Sarajevo European Cup winner Bojan Dosen (SRB) with a koshi-jime strangle. Dosen, who was fifth at the Budapest Grand Prix this year, was surprised on the ground by Grand Prix debutant Lappinagov who kept rotating until the strangle was fully on and the Serbian had to tap out.
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Elliot Stewart (GBR)
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