IJF Media Department
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation
For three days, Uzbekistan has been chasing after its gold medal. On the second day, it was very close, but unfortunately Sharofiddin Boltaboev failed in the -81kg final against Italian Christian Parlati. The last chance therefore rested on the shoulders of Davlat Bobonov, winner of the Grand Slam in Düsseldorf in 2020 and having so far achieved a faultless day through the preliminary rounds. In the final he was opposed to Nagasawa Kenta (JPN), already winner of two Grand Slams in his career.
In the opening seconds of the final, encouraged by the shouts of the public, Bobonov tried to impose his power on Nagasawa and even made him take off the heels on an attempted hip movement. A first shido therefore was announced against the Japanese. Halfway through the match, once again the public ignited on a precise left-handed shoulder movement, but this attempt was lacking the extra strength to score. After a final of rare intensity, the two competitors, who were encouraged by their coaches, both Olympic and world champions, Ilias Iliadis for Uzbekistan and Kosei Inoue for Japan, entered the golden score, with a now somewhat dull Bobonov who was also penalized a first and a second time. On the brink of rupture, he launched his last strength into desperate attacks. Nagasawa got an additional penalty. There was no longer any room for error and it was finally Nagasawa who scored a liberating waza-ari on a sutemi-wasa technique that this time Bobonov could not avoid. Both athletes respectfully bowed as well as their well-known coaches. This was a final as we like them.
Uzbekistan had a second chance for a medal in the category in the person of Shermukhammad Andreev, who faced Azeri Mammadali Mehdiyev for the bronze medal. With just a handful of seconds remaining, Mehdiyev scored a waza-ari with a left-handed tai-otoshi, to win his 8th medal on a Grand Slam.
Uzbekistan did not have its gold medal, but with six medals, including two silver and with 13 athletes present in the final block over the entire competition, the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan can be satisfied with this grand slam. The victories were often balanced on small details that all the delegations will be keen to settle in the coming weeks.
The second bronze medal match was contested between two European countries, as Klen Kristofer Kaljulaid (EST) and Toth Krisztian (HUN) met for the medal. It was not until the last ten seconds that Toth got out of the clutches of Kaljulaid, whose very high kumikata in the back of his opponent and his lateral position blocked any inclination of the Hungarian to gain the upper hand. A last attack a little less strong by Kaljulaid, allowed Toth to skilfully dodge and finally score ippon and win a precious medal with the points that accompany it.