Europe has won the challenge against Asia. In the occasion of the ECCO Judo Team Challenge in Tyumen, the team of Europe defeated Asia by 10-4. The first successful shot was by Alesya Kuznetsova who defeated World Champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg. A good start for the European team. However it was World Champion Naohisa Takato who made the equalizer against Olympic Champion Arsen Galstyan. Nakato remained undefeated but is not ready yet to attend the Grand Slam of Paris.
It was Roumania’s Andrea Chitu who realized another surprise win for Europe against Yuki Hashimoto. Leading 2-1, Georgii Zantaraia extended the lead by 3-1. A comfortable lead Europe may not have expected in the early stage of this battle among the two best continents.
Telma Monteiro scored 4-1 with a great ippon against Sumiya Dorjsuren and the gap started to increase dramatically for Asia. Dex Elmont added another victory when he overcame Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar in the category U73kg. They hadn’t fought eachother for 7 years but this time it was Elmont showing he was fit enough to beat the 2009 World Champion.
Kana Abe got her revenge against Anicka van Emden who beat the Japanese at the World bronze medal bout and scored 5-2 for Asia. With Avtandili Tchrikishvili Europe could secure a big lead but it was the surprising Yakhyo Imamov who caught the World Ranking leader another time. Last year in Paris he did the same and took the victory at the Grand Slam in Paris.
Laura Vargas-Koch needed all efforts to overcome the strong Korean Kim U70kg. Kim who caught Vargas-Koch with a bear hug which didn’t bring the ippon to Asia but a penalty to Kim. It secured Europe’s sixth victory in this challenge.
The world’s silver medallist in Rio Varlam Liparteliani dominated in his match U90kg against Kyu-Won Lee and gave Europe the 7th win, what more could happen to the team.
Gyeong-Mi Jeong defeated Abigel Joo with a small difference so that Henk Grol could make the final score. Although he hadn’t fought in a competition since September, he could overcome Soyib Kurbonov U100kg and took the 8th and decisive victory for Europe. The team already celebrated the victory while Lucija Polavder had to fight against Korean Lee Jung-Eun. The Slovenia won her match and Alexander Mikhaylin (34) could resist youngster Yuri Krakovetskii in the final fight. Although gave a good effort it was the Russian who benefit of his height and claimed the final score to 10-4 for Europe.
It was a unique event attended by many VIPs and broadcasted live in many countries.
The team managers Ezio Gamba (Europe) and Armen Bagdasarov (Asia) saw the two teams on the tatami celebrating a unique team spirit together where World and Olympic Champions and leaders of the world ranking battled in the Judo Arena in Tyumen.