2015 Tashkent Grand Prix, Uzbekistan Back
September 30, 2015
Tashkent Grand Prix 2015, Uzbekistan
The IJF World Judo Tour has arrived in Asia for the second time in 2015 as the stars of judo return to action in Uzbekistan at the Tashkent Grand Prix 2015 following August’s World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Uzbekistan’s premier judo competition, the seventh IJF Grand Prix of the season, takes place from Thursday 1 - Saturday 3 October at the Uzbekistan Sport Majmuasi in a week where the judo world is mourning the tragic death of Czech national team member Alexandr Jurecka, 24, who passed away on Friday.
A tragic accident happened while the judoka was diving in the lake La Garda in Italy, the Czech Judo Federation announced on Saturday. Jurecka, a two-time IJF Grand Slam bronze medallist, fought at the World Championships in Astana last month and had registered to compete in Tashkent.
A minute’s silence was immaculately observed at the start of the draw by all of the delegations and officials at the Wyndham Tashkent.
The judo family paid their respects to the late Alexandr Jurecka at the official draw
Mr. Daniel LASCAU, IJF Sports Director, revealed that the IJF World Judo Tour would resume in Asia with 355 judoka competing from 52 nations (200 men, 155 women). World champions YU Song (CHN) and GWAK Dong Han (KOR), who both ruled the world in Astana just four weeks ago, will lead a star-laden field which includes a 42-strong home team.
Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA, IJF Education and Coaching Director, made the opening address on behalf of the International Judo Federation.
"Dear Deputy Minister, dear President, dear judo friends, on behalf of the IJF, I welcome you all to Tashkent for the Grand Prix,” said Mr. MERIDJA (below - centre).
The IJF delegation at the draw
"On behalf of IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER, I would like to express my gratitude to the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan for hosting this event. I wish you all good luck and thank you for your continued support.”
Mr. Murodjon ALIEV, Deputy Minister Sports Affairs of Uzbekistan (below - centre), said: "Dear ladies and gentleman, I welcome you all to Tashkent. The Judo Federation of Uzbekistan, the National Olympic Committee and Ministry of Sport have all been working hard to deliver this event. This Grand Prix offers points for Olympic qualification, I hope you all enjoy and wish you well. On behalf of all of the organising committee, I would like to say good luck to everyone.”
The host delegation at the draw
Mr. Armen BAGDASAROV (above - far right), Judo Federation of Uzbekistan President and Atlanta 1996 Olympic silver medallist, said: "Good afternoon everyone, I welcome all of the judo family to Uzbekistan. I would like to thank the IJF President Marius VIZER for supporting us and I also thank the Government, Ministry of Sport and Olympic Committee who have provided a lot of assistance to us. I wish you good results, I hope you enjoy your stay here and look forward to seeing you at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Home star Rishod SOBIROV (UZB) discussed the Tashkent Grand Prix at the press conference
Double Olympic bronze medallist and two-time world champion Rishod SOBIROV (UZB), who won world bronze last month in Astana in the -66kg category, will not be in action but attended the draw and press conference on Wednesday to preview the event.
SOBIROV said: "The whole team are ready to receive the world's top judoka in Tashkent. My goal is to win the Olympic title next year in Rio, this is my target. I feel good at this weight, I have improved in this category to win bronze in Astana and now I am ready for more challenges."
Click here to view the ongoing Olympic qualification list
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Official event hash tag: #JudoTashkent2015
Former world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) leads the women’s lightweight field into action on day one in Tashkent. The Mongolian star will be joined by European Games bronze medallist Irina DOLGOVA (RUS) who will also be among those in the sights of the returning Amelie ROSSENEU (ISR).
Amelie ROSSENEU (ISR) said: "I had to recover from knee surgery which forced me to do a long rehab. Since two months I have been back to full judo training and I am ready to be back competing and excited to be out there.”
Tyumen Grand Slam runner-up MA Yingnan (CHN) is the number one seed in the -52kg category which also houses European Games bronze medallist Mareen KRAEH (GER) and Kalpana Devi THOUDAM (IND) who won a career-best bronze medal at the first Tashkent Grand Prix in 2013.
Kalpana Devi THOUDAM (IND) said: "Training has gone very well in the Sports Authority of India, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, under my coach Mr. Virender Singh. Bronze at the Tashkent Grand Prix 2013, was one of my best achievements and now I am more confident this time as my priority is to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) leads the field in terms of experience and world status as the number eight in the world will be the judoka to beat in the -57kg category. The 35-year-old will face opposition from judoka such as French duo Helene RECEVEAUX and Laetitia BLOT along with Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Irina ZABLUDINA (RUS).
Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) said: "After the Worlds in Astana I flew directly to Thimphu to work as part of my ongoing development project ‘Judo in Bhutan’. During my special judo workshop and holidays I`ve tried to keep in shape at such a rough altitude with biking in the Himalayas and I’m ready for the Grand Prix.”
Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT), Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Edwige GWEND (ITA), Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Alice SCHLESINGER (GBR) and Prague European Open bronze medallist YANG Junxia (CHN) are the top four -63kg seeds.
Szandra SZOGEDI (GHA), who is being supported to compete in Tashkent by the IJF, said: "Everything is possible as we have seen at the highest level on many occasions. The battle for Rio 2016 is very tight, especially within my continent so every step I am making is crucial now.”
Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Szaundra DIEDRICH (GER) can secure a place in the world’s top eight on the ranking list with a strong showing in Tashkent. With three Grand Slams still to come in 2015 (Paris, Abu Dhabi and Tokyo), DIEDRICH will be determined to hit a run of form while former world bronze medallist Katarzyna KLYS (POL) and KIM Seongyeon (KOR) will also be eyeing a place on the podium.
Katarzyna KLYS (POL) said: "For the last two weeks I have been training hard and everything looks good. I have made some tactical preparations for the tournament but on the tatami you have to give everything, regardless of who is on the other side of the mat.”
World Judo Masters silver medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) took bronze at this event a year ago and will expect to achieve at least the same colour medal in 2015. Top seed POWELL will feature alongside judoka such as former world champion SOL Kyong (PRK) and 20-year-old Junior world silver medallist Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA).
Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA) said: "My preparation has been good, I arrived early with our lightweights. Now I must be confident and put all my concentration into Saturday. I am in a country where it’s not earn a selection and especially a year before the Olympics.”
World champion and world number one YU Song (CHN) will command all the attention in the women’s heavyweight category on Saturday. The 29-year-old, a two-time World Judo Masters winner, has teammate MA Sisi (CHN) for company as Asia looks set to dominate the seventh and final women’s category.
Click here to watch the preview video.
Home judoka Sharafuddin LUTFILLAEV (UZB) will be out to earn his country’s first honours on Thursday when he starts the event as the favourite in the men’s lightweight category. DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL), who won gold here a year ago, will be out to prove a point having being left out of his country’s team at the World Championships.
DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) said: "Now my focus is on going to the Olympic Games. Training has being going good and I am ready to represent Mongolia in Tashkent.”
World Judo Masters silver medallist Dzmitry SHERSHAN (BLR) is the judoka to beat in the -66kg category. The number one seed can expect to be challenged by judoka such as former world bronze medallist Elio VERDE (ITA), Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) and teen prodigy ABE Hifumi (JPN).
Elio VERDE (ITA) said: "My training has been good for the Tashkent Grand Prix. Now I hope to achieve a good competition on Thursday.”
Former world silver medallist HONG Kuk Hyon (PRK) will be targeting the second Grand Prix win of his career when he sees action on Friday. The 25-year-old, who lost the bronze medal contest at the World Championships in August, previously won the Qingdao Grand Prix last November. Former Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Florent URANI (FRA) and Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Igor WANDTKE (GER) will also expect to mount a medal bid.
Florent URANI (FRA) said: "I got married last weekend so I'm a little tired but I am very motivated. The race for the Rio 2016 Olympics Games are well underway and I intend to win this tournament to score vital qualification points.”
World number nine Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS) will be looking to make the most of not only his selection but also his top seed status when he fights on Friday. The two-time Grand Prix winner has seventh-place finishes to his name at the European Games and World Judo Masters this year after winning the Tbilisi Grand Prix in March. Qingdao Grand Prix silver medallist Antonio CIANO (ITA) will also hope to be among the front-runners in Tashkent.
Antonio CIANO (ITA) said: "Last week I was active in a team competition in Italy and my preparation has been ok. I must feel confident every time I compete, this is my goal.”
World champion GWAK Dong Han (KOR) is the leading man in this category and will expect to show the world his quality when he steps onto the tatami on Saturday wearing the red backpatch for the first time. Former Astana Grand Prix winner Komronshokh USTOPIRIYON (TJK) – who was cruelly denied the chance to fight for bronze in Astana after picking up an injury in his semi-final – returns to action in Uzbekistan with financial assistance from the IJF.
Komronshokh USTOPIRIYON (TJK) said: "I feel good now, I have been training in Moscow and I am ready for the Grand Prix. I am very happy that the IJF supports me for this event and with this help I believe I can be a champion.”
The host nation will have a major role in the outcome of the -100kg category with Ramziddin SAYIDOV (UZB) and Soyib KURBONOV (UZB) both among the top seeds. Teenager WOLF Aaron (JPN) has a 100% record on the Grand Prix stage having won gold in Ulaanbaatar this year and possesses all the potential to match that result in Uzbekistan.
Tokai University member WOLF Aaron (JPN) said: "I have been training hard and I am looking forward to it. I will do my best and I hope for the best.”
Andre BREITBARTH (GER) has fond memories of Tashkent having opened his Grand Prix gold medal account here at the inaugural edition in 2013. The 25-year-old, who finished fifth in Astana last month, is still searching for his second Grand Prix victory and, as the top seed, has a perfect start to his title tilt on Saturday. World number 20 Vladut SIMIONESCU (ROU) is overdue a place on the podium having endured a fruitless run since his silver medal at May’s Zagreb Grand Prix.
Vladut SIMIONESCU (ROU) said: "My training has gone well for this competition. I hope I will be on the podium, I have worked very hard for this competition and I really want a medal here.”
11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
16:15 Opening ceremony
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg
Men: -60kg, -66kg
11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg
11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Location: Uzbekistan Sport Majmuasi
IJF Media & Communications Department
Mark Pickering, IJF Media Manager
Nicolas Messner, IJF Media Director
Photos © IJF Media by G. Sabau