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Kirakozashvili adjusts to top level taking Grand Prix gold
31 Mar 2018 19:30
Tamazi Kirakozashvili of Georgia made his full IJF World Judo Tour debut last year and home comforts were the difference today as he recorded his maiden win on the international circuit.
Former Junior World Championships silver medallist and Junior European Championships winner Tamazi Kirakozashvili joined a long line of illustrious male judoka who have topped an IJF medal podium for Georgia. After three of the most accomplished members of the Georgian team had already delivered the U60kg, U66kg and U73kg titles on day one and two, Kirakozashvili was the unexpected source of the U81kg gold medal. Kirakozashvili, 21, was pitted against Portugal’s Agadir Grand Prix bronze medallist Anri Egutidze, 22, as the promising -81kg duo were both motivated by the opportunity to win their inaugural IJF gold medal. The home judoka prevailed as Egutidze was caught off guard on the ground and reacted too late as Kirakozashvili applied a kami-shiho-gatame hold down for 20 seconds and a perfect finale to day two for the Georgian crowd.
In the first semi-final Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Nugzari Tatalashvili (GEO) lost out to teammate Kirakozashvili by ippon from a ko-uchi-gari. In the second semi-final world number 125 Sergii Krivchach (UKR) was penalised three times against Egutidze and was disqualified.
The first bronze medal was won by Krivchach who produced two waza-ari scores against Tunis Grand Prix winner Stanislav Semenov (RUS) to be among the medallists on the international circuit for the first time in his young career. Krivchach, 21, threw his opponent for a opening waza-ari and the sound of the landing reverberated around the venue as Semenov was caught by surprise. An ippon seoi-nage added a second and match-winning waza-ari as the Ukranian fought back the tears after being awarded the contest by the referee.
The second bronze medal went to Tatalashvili who beat his country’s young contender Koba mchedlishvili (GEO) with a thunderous osoto-gari for ippon after two minutes of action. Tatalashvili will still believe that he is Georgia’s best chance of an -81kg medal at the European Championships next month based on this performance but it will be interesting to see who earns a call-up to the continental championships.
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Mateo Semiz (CRO)