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Teddy Riner undefeated to gold in Zagreb

1 Oct 2017 19:30

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

As expected, French Teddy Riner won the gold of the men’s heavyweight category at the Grand Prix in Zagreb. Even if it was not his best day, in terms of physical condition and technique, he went through the preliminary rounds without any trouble and won two of his fights with penalties and the third with a superb ippon.

The surprise came from the second half of the draw as Kamikawa Daiki, who is the last athlete who defeated Riner (2010 Open World Championships in Tokyo), was expected to meet again the French in the final. But the very young Austrian Stephan Hegyi, only 19 years old since July, produced an amazing effort to defeat the Japanese, which he did in the golden score after Kamikawa was penalised a third time. Hegyi had already defeated another Japanese, the Olympic Silver medalist, Harasawa Hisayoshi, on the occasion of the last World Championships in Budapest.

Teddy was the first to be penalised with a shido as Stephan Hegyi was not afraid by the difference in size and was attacking fearlessly. But it was written that it was not today that the French giant would be defeated and he won his 138th fight in a row and added a fifth Grand Prix title to his resume after having scored the last ippon on the tournament with a outstanding arai-goshi. Teddy Riner’s statistics are simply impressive: 2 Olympic titles (+ one bronze medal), 9 world titles, 3 world masters titles, 5 grand slam, 4 continental titles, 5 grand prix and 2 world cups.

The first bronze medal contest opposed Benjamin Harmegnies (BEL) who was eliminated by Riner in the morning and Kamikawa Daiki (JPN). After one minute and fifteen seconds a first shido was given to both competitors for passivity. One more shido on both sides was given one minute later. The only strong attack came from the Japanese side and was the perfect attack. Kamikawa blocked his opponent in the corner before applying a superb sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi in a pure Japanese style for ippon.

The second bronze medal match opposed Vladut Simionescu (ROU) and Zarko Culum (SRB). After one minute, one shido was given to both athletes for passivity. They entered the last minute with one more shido each as neither Simionescu nor Culum were attacking, but with 11 seconds remaining, SIMIONESCU could finally score a waza-ari with a counterattack to win his fourth Grand Prix medal.

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  • Teddy Riner (FRA) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2017, CRO) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Teddy Riner (FRA), Stephan Hegyi (AUT), Daiki Kamikawa (JPN), Vladut Simionescu (ROU) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2017, CRO) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Vladut Simionescu (ROU) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2017, CRO) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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