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Tajikistan’s top seed Ustopiriyon earns Grand Prix hat-trick
8 Apr 2018 17:50
Number one seed Komronshokh Ustopiriyon of Tajikistan won his third Grand Prix gold medal after a tense battle with world champion Nemanja Majdov of Serbia. In the final of the Antalya Grand Prix Ustopiriyon booked a tactical victory.
Majdov had finished fifth on his return in March at the Agadir Grand Prix. The 21-year-old Serbian judoka wore his red backpatch for only the second time and failed to win what would have been his first Grand Prix title after being penalised for his third shido for pushing his opponent out of the area. Ustopiriyon usually makes a strong start but tends to fade late on and as both were nervy it was the Serbian who made the costly mistake.
In the first semi-final Ustopiriyon defeated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Mammadali Mehdiyev (AZE) who was disqualified after he was penalised with his third shido. In the second semi-final Majdov bested Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Tural Safguliyev (AZE) by ippon from a uchi-mata-sukashi with 71 seconds left in their contest.
The first bronze medal was won by Safguliyev who earned his fourth Grand Prix medal by edging out 22-year-old Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Li Kochman (ISR) by a waza-ari score as Azerbaijan claimed the first medal in the final block. A ko-uchi-gari was the best executed technique during the contest and that piece of ashi-waza sent the Azeri onto the medal podium.
The second bronze medal went to Mehdiyev as Azerbaijan made it a clean sweep of -90kg bronze medals. Mehdiyev won his fifth Grand Prix honour by catching Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Rafael Macedo (BRA) with an ouchi-gari and changed direction to set his opponent off balance and over for ippon.
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Mattia Galina (ITA)
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