IJF Media Department and JudoInside
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation
Thinking about those athletes for whom the postponed of the Olympic Games was actually not so bad, Toma Nikiforov was the first to think about. After so many injuries, the Belgian was in trouble to qualify for the Games. With the current Grand Slam Judo Tour, Nikiforov was spoiled, still you have to do it and at the Grand Slam of Tashkent he just did it. Fighting for the Flanders Toma captured the gold under the guidance of Damiano Martinuzzi.
In the final against a Bulgarian opponent was first of all a surprise, but it seemed that the judo gods determined that this day was meant for the Belgian former vice world champion. His Bulgarian roots and fighting against Boris Georgiev, that must be a sign that might foresee a great comeback for the Belgian hope U100kg.
Muzaffarbek Turoboyev was close to join his teammate from the lower category, Bobonov, in one of the final of the Grand Slam, but unfortunately for him and for his public, he was eliminated by now experienced Toma Nikiforov (BEL) in the semifinal. Turoboyev was quickly leading with a waza-ari, when he was caught on the floor by the Belgium with an unstoppable shime-waza. Nikiforov being in the final, it is Boris Georgiev (BUL) who faced him for the gold medal.
After the regulatory observation period, Nikiforov was the first to get to the heart of the matter by scoring an opportunistic waza-ari on a counterattack, while he had anticipated Georgiev’s attack, by going behind his back. Moments later, Nikiforov doubled the lead by scoring on a shoulder movement, allowing him to win his first Grand Slam gold medal.
In the first bronze medal contest, Lkhagvasuren Otgonbaatar (MGL), bronze medal in Hohhot two years ago, faced Muzaffarbek Turoboyev (UZB), who usually competes in the lower category. Over concentrated, Turoboyev left no chance to his opponent and scored two waza-ari, allowing the public to let their joy explode, with this additional medal for the host country.
The second bronze medal contest opposed exactly the same countries as Batkhuyag Gonchigsuren (MGL) met Aklmurodbek Khudoyberdiev (UZB). The scenario was different for Khudoyberdiev who was perfectly thrown on the back by Batkhuyag on a magnificent o-soto-gari as we learn them in the great schools of judo.