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Bekir Ozlu inspires homecrowd in Antalya but Kyrgyzbayev takes gold

7 Apr 2017 21:30

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
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There is nothing better for an organiser than starting a tournament with one of your national athletes guaranteeing a medal. For the second consecutive year, this mission was devolved to Bekir Ozlu or Turkey, who obviously is very strong in his country. The Grand Prix of Antalya had it's first final with a Turkish medal, and even two as Kaba won bronze.

Already victorious last year in Samsun, after epic matches, Ozlu, reiterated his feat by reaching the final after three first victorious bouts. A real achievement in a very competitive category.

In the final he was opposed to Gusman Kyrgyzbayev (KAZ) whose way to the final was also exemplary. After a first waza-ari victory against Batyr Gurbanyazov (TKM), Kyrgyzbayev eliminated his next two opponents on the score of ippon, but each time he was pushed to the golden score, giving the impression that the pressure of the necessary result had a positive influence on the Kazakh.

In the sound level was already high for the second bronze medal contest of the category (read below), the public went a step higher as Bekir Ozlu (TUR) entered the stadium followed by Gusman Kyrgyzbayev. The first really strong uchi-mata from Ozlu generated a wave of ‘TURKIYE, TURKIYE’ chanted by the whole arena. At any moment, it seemed that any of the two competitors could make the decisive action, Ozlu with his uchi-mata, Kyrgyzbayev with his little leg techniques that were putting the Turkish out of balance. But the final gong echoed, the scoreboard was still neutral. Totally exhausted, Ozlu seemed to have hard time to follow Kyrgyzbayev’s rhythm and that was confirmed a few seconds later when with an opportunist action-reaction movement, scored a delivering waza-ari to win the bout.

The first bronze medal of the category was disputed between the two Mongol athletes as Amartuvshin Bayaraa (MGL) and Amarbold Jagvaraldorj (MGL) stepped on the mat for only one place on the podium. After a bit more than a minute, Bayaraa had already two shidos for passivity, as Jagvaraldorj was the most active by far and at the end of the four minute, Amartuvshin Bayaraa could enjoy a first Grand Prix medal, after having scored two waza-ari, one with a counterattack and one with a drop-seoi-nage.

In the second bronze medal contest the host country had a second chance for a medal as Ahmet Sahin Kaba (TUR) was opposed to Yang Yung Wei (TPE). Suddenly the sound level increased in the stadium when Kaba entered the competition area. Supported by thousands of young judoka from the seven clubs of the city, the Turkish athlete could count on a supplement of power. Halfway to the end, nothing was scored yet, but Yang had a penalty for passivity, which became a second penalty for him and a first for Kaba a few seconds later as both athletes were avoiding gripping. On the edge of the tatami, Kaba could score a first waza-ari after he counterattacked Yang’s uchi-mata. The last seconds were one by one announced by the crowd, which could enjoy the first medal for the host country on the occasion of this 2017 edition of the Grand Prix in Turkey.

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