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Ilias Iliadis boosts Uzbek team with experience and motivation
29 Nov 2019 12:55
It was nine years ago since Uzbekistan captured multiple medals at the Grand Slam in Tokyo. A remarkable results, perhaps with a little magic of Ilias Ilias, Uzbekistan’s new head coach. On the last day of the Grand Slam in Osaka, Davlat Bobonov and Alisher Yusupov captured a medal for their country.
The country of former judo rock stars Rishod Sobirov, Abdullo Tangriev and Armen Bagdasarov always delivers new top athletes. Sharafuddin Lutfillaev, Diyorbek Urozboev, Yakhyo Imamov and current IJF referee Ramziddin Sayidov are some of those familiar names. Sobirov is a double World Champion and he captured Olympic bronze in 2012 and 2016 as well. With the Grand Prix of Tashkent the nation has its own pride with an international World Tour event.
With Ilias Iliadis as new surprising coach, Uzbekistan is drawing its ambitions in the international podium. With their two medals in Osaka, the short term effect is already achieved. Iliadis was not coaching Bobonov in the final on Sunday though. Uzbek President Armen Bagdasarov won Olympic silver at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Iliadis who is a triple World Champion and the 2004 Olympic Champion, always kept the contact with judo. He trains like hell, is always in for a demo or even a small entertaining comeback, but foremost he is a judo treasure with experience, training motivation and one of the biggest judo icons in the world.
This year Sharafuddin Lutfillaev led in the World final U60kg in Tokyo but gave it away to an excellent Lukhumi Chkhvimiani (GEO). It could have been the fourth World title for his country after Sobirov (2), Tangriev (2011). Still it is a good motivation to move forward and the number of medals in the IJF World Tour are increasing. Five titles in 2019 compared to the two gold medals in 2018 and three in 2017. The total number of medals improves those of 2017, 22 against 18 with even more finals.
Of the 209 medals ever won by Uzbek athletes in the IJF World Tour since 2009 only 15 were achieved by women, only two outside Uzbekistan. In terms of gender equity there's some work to do and this will take perhaps 8-12 years.
You will understand that most medals in the World Tour are won in the category U60kg, however most gold medals in U73kg by Boboev, Turaev and Farmonov. For sure the U90kg, and in fact everyone will get a boost from the experience and energy of the new head coach Ilias Iliadis.
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Abdullah Ozcan (TUR)