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Tato Grigalashvili pushes his candidacy for an Olympic medal
Tato Grigalashvili pushes his candidacy for an Olympic medal
12 Jan 2021 23:05
IJF Media Department and JudoInside
IJF Marina Mayorova / International Judo Federation

Tato Grigalashvili is the revelation of men’s judo. He dominates the category U81kg with attractive judo and at the IJF Judo Masters in Doha the Georgian superstar was again convincing and grabbed the gold in the final against the gutsy Dutchman Frank de Wit. Everything was possible with a field of play rich in world medalists.

In the small game of eliminations, it was Tato Grigalashvili and De Wit who won through every round to give themselves a chance to climb on the top of the podium.

If the final it seemed rather balanced during a large part of regular time, but following a very slight injury De Wit, on his return on the tatami, seemed slightly distracted, which Grigalashvili was able to take advantage of to throw him before applying an unstoppable arm lock.

While some of the big favourites like Saeid Mollaei eliminated in the third round, or Antoine Valois-Fortier eliminated as soon as he entered the scene, it was Alan Khubetsov (RUS) and Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) who qualified for the first bronze medal match. Being thrown for waza-ari after a positioning mistake, with a seoi-nage, Ivanov had to run after the score to push Khubetsov to be penalised three times. This is also a way to win in judo and it's totally valid, especially since Ivanov really tried to score. His tactical awareness was at a very high level today.

2019 world champion Sagi Muki, absent from the circuit for many months, returned to competition for the Masters. Still a little short of form, he nevertheless qualified to compete for the bronze medal against Lee Sungho (KOR). The least that we can say is that it was a tough match; the world champion who was forced into golden score. When Sagi Muki launches an attack this is for real and that's what he did when he initiated a massive hip movement. Already falling down, Lee used all he had to change the momentum to throw Muki for ippon, or so it seemed at first sight. However, the first action was clearly Muki's, so after video refereeing, the ippon was canceled and a waza-ari given to the Israeli.

At the end of the third day of competition, the best male and female athletes were recognised based on the number of ippon scores and the total time spent on the tatami, based on the fact that a hansoku-make doesn't count as ippon in this context.  Best male athlete in Doha wasTato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) - 4 ippon - 16 minutes and 33 seconds. Each winner will be awarded by the IJF with a special prize.