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Lasha Bekauri made his impact in 2019

23 Dec 2019 14:05

 Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

Georgia’s sensation Lasha Bekauri made a low-key IJF World Judo Tour debut when he exited the Baku Grand Slam in May at the expense of former world champion Nemanja Majdov (SRB). Nobody would have predicted that before the year was up that the 19-year-old would end up winning the second biggest event of the season. You can see as one of the best newcomers of 2019.

The Georgian athlete who really stole the show, having won gold at the Junior world championships just two months prior he sneaked into the 36th spot on the guest list for China. Spirit, tenacity and the ability to find solutions in real time carried him into the final for a dramatic, golden score win against world number 1 Sherazadishvili (ESP). This teenager is making a play for an early Olympic debut and has leap-frogged over his countryman Gviniashvili on the ranking list.

However, Georgia, are always capable of fast-tracking young prospects onto the IJF medal podium with almost alarming regularity and ease.

Bekauri won his second Junior World Championships in October, which pushed him up to number 36 in the world, and therefore he grabbed the final position in the Masters entry in the U90kg category.

The koshi-guruma specialist beat a who’s who list of stars in Qingdao as he conquered world champion Noel van T End (NED) in round three which meant that the junior champion had beat the senior champion.

Bekauri then saw off Japan’s Murao and former world silver medallist Ozerler of Turkey ahead of defeating world number one and 2018 world champion Sherazadishvili from Spain. The youngster is now up to 11th in the world and will be one to watch in 2020.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (ESP), Lasha Bekauri (GEO) - IJF World Masters Qingdao (2019, CHN) - © IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio, International Judo Federation
  • Lasha Bekauri (GEO) - World Championships Juniors Marrakech (2019, MAR) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Lasha Bekauri (GEO) - World Championships Juniors Marrakech (2019, MAR) - © JudoHeroes

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