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Korean Gwak Dong Han grabs the world title U90kg

28 Aug 2015 15:05

Dong-Han Gwak

What a crazy fifth day at the Judo World Championships in Astana. Three new champions were born as many of the favourites had an off-day. The preliminaries were awesome to see and the final block was as unpredictable as the prelims. Korea’s Gwak Dong Han surprised the European favourites today by taking the gold medal U90kg. If you’re coached by the current Olympic champion, you cannot complain about expertise, but the conversion to the first World Champion of Korea U90kg since 2009 is unexpected. In Rotterdam Kyu-Won Lee became world champion in 2009 and in 2003 Hee-Tae Hwang.

Today Gwak had a good draw and defeated Robert Florentino, Vadym Synyavsky and David Ruiz. In the quarter final Varlam Liparteliani was his first World class opponent and he defeated the triple world medallist by yuko. Later Liparteliani continued his medal serie.

In the semi final Komronshoh Ustopiriyon of Tajikistan did everything in his power to prevent a yuko score by Gwak but couldn’t turn the match. The final could be a tactical match as Russian Kirill Denisov is an expert. Denisov finished in the top five of the world championships over the last six editions, an amazing performance where only Teddy Riner has a better record.

The Russian vice world champion of 2009 wanted to take the gold this time, but Gwak launched a left seoi nage after two minutes in the match and threw Denisov for ippon. Gwak could have a penalty as long as the Russian didn’t score and he didn’t, he only scored his second silver world medal, also not so a shame. Denisov is still among the best athletes of the world despite all his troubles he has had with his fingers. Gwak thanked his coach, and still the Olympic Champion in this weight category Dae-Nam Song. What an expertise and vibe in this team. Korea now have two gold medals and three bronze.

In the preliminaries four former World Champions couldn’t qualify for the final block.

2005 Guillaume Elmont (NED)

2007 Tiago Camilo (BRA)

2013 Asley Gonzalez (CUB)

2010, 2011, 2014 Ilias Iliadis (GRE)

Bronze fights

The bronze medal was also Asian, for Japan Mashu Baker medalled. He is one of the youngest medallists of this championship and he managed to realise the medal where other youngsters such as World Number 1 Krisztian Toth and world #4 Beka Gviniashvili lost their matches in the final block. Varlam Liparteliani defeated his countryman by ippon in an always lively match without a coach. Both fighters collected three penalties, but it was never boring. Liparteliani was thrown by a perfect maki komi.

Korea equals Ilias Iliadis

Thanks to Dong Han Gwak Korea now have won three world titles in the category for men U90kg. Hwang (2003) and Lee (2009) won the title before him. Six different nations have won the title. Korea now equals Greece… or triple world champion Ilias Iliadis.

Year       Judoka                             NOC        #

1999      Hidehiko Yoshida                JPN          1

2001      Frédéric Demontfaucon       FRA          2

2003      Hee-Tae Hwang                  KOR         3

2005      Hiroshi Izumi                       JPN         

2007      Irakli Tsirekidze                   GEO         4

2009      Kyu-Won Lee                       KOR        

2010      Ilias Iliadis                          GRE         5

2011      Ilias Iliadis                          GRE        

2013      Asley Gonzalez                   CUB         6

2014      Ilias Iliadis                          GRE        

2015      Dong Han Gwak                  KOR         

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