2015 Tokyo Grand Slam Day 1 - 4 December Back
December 4, 2015
Tokyo Grand Slam 2015, Japan
N'IPPON DAY AT TOKYO GRAND SLAM
Coming back to Tokyo for the last event of the season is always something special for all the participants and organisers. Today was the first day of competition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and five categories were engaged: women’s -48kg, -52kg and -57kg and men’s -60kg and -66kg.
Just before the opening ceremony a minute of silence was respected in the memory of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks and in the memory of Mr. Adel Abuwarda (EGY), who suddenly passed away last week in Korea. Mr. Adel Abuwarda was the head of the Egyptian delegation at the Grand Prix of Jeju and board member of the Egyptian Judo Federation.
Mr. Shoji MUNEOKA, President of the all Japan Judo Federation, delivered his welcome speech: "Hello everyone. Dear distinguished guests from the IJF and the Judo family from across the globe, it is our pleasure to welcome you again to the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium for the 2015 Grand Slam Tokyo. This prestigious event celebrates its seventh anniversary with many of this year’s participants achieving great success at the 2015 Astana World Championships. This year, we expect to see heated matches between rivals as the qualification process for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics reaches its climax.
Before judo became recognised as an Olympic sport, Professor Kano Jigoro, judo’s founding father devoted himself to the principle of ‘human education‘ through one’s life long practice of judo, fostering those who honed judo’s fundamental values of confidence, etiquette and dignity. Judo’s global reach, popularity and its competition level are improving year after year. Nevertheless, I hereby would like to ask all the judokas and coaches to keep on working with Professor Jigoro Kano’s principle of ‘human education‘ through the practice of Judo.
I wish that all participants, who are representatives of judo from around the world will fully demonstrate the results of their daily efforts. Victory of defeat is a fruit which we obtain from our training to improve ‘Shin, Gi, Tai‘ (mind, technique and physical strength) and therefore, I expect you not to be arrogant after victory, nor to be discouraged by defeat, but to have respect for your opponent and therefore inspire fans from all over the world.
I sincerely hope that you nurture close friendships here in Tokyo, the host city of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and that your stay will be a memorable one. Last but not least, I would like to kindly express my cordial gratitude towards all who contributed to the success of this prestigious event."
Following Mr. Muneoka’s inspirational speech, the IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer took the floor: "Dear Mr. Muneoka, dear Mr. Kano, dear Mrs. Gabriela Szabo and Raymond Poulet family, dear athletes, referees, coaches, dear spectators, media representatives, sponsors, and judo friends. It is a great honour for the World Judo Family to always come home for the Grand Slam, the World Championships and in a few year for the Olympics 2020. Thank you to Japan for sharing the spirit of judo and all the high social values of our sport throughout the world. I wish the competitors all the best, the spectators to enjoy the judo today and during the next days and I declare the Grand Slam open."
Meeting with the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
While the first fights of the Tokyo Grand Slam 2015, Japan, were taking place at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, the IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer, was invited by Mr. Hiroshi Hase, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to talk about judo in Japan and about the cooperation between the IJF and Japan. Mr. Vizer was accompanied by Mr. Jean-Luc Rougé, IJF General Secretary, Mr. Rene Jaggi, IJF Marketing and Strategic Director, Mrs. Gabriela Szabo, Olympic and world champion in Athletics and Mrs. Larisa Kiss, Director of the IJF Presidential Office. Along with the IJF delegation, Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita, Vice-President of the All Japan Judo Federation, Mr. Haruki Uemura, Kodokan President, Mr. Yoshiro Mori, President of TOCOG (Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee) and Mr. Daichi Suzuki, Commissioner of Japan sports agency, were all present.
Following the successful visit to the Budokan arena (venue for the judo event of the 2020 Olympic Games), that was organised two days ago, several important subjects were discussed such as the organisation of the 2020 Olympic Games, the possibility of hosting the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo and generally speaking the development of judo in Japan. The very good collaboration between the IJF, AJJF, Kodokan and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as well as the very good relations and collaboration with the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, was underlined.
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For months her fans were waiting for the return of Olympic champion, Sarah MENEZES (BRA), who dropped to the 15th place on the world ranking list since her title in London in 2012. Often beaten in the preliminary rounds of tournaments she participated in, she seemed to have great difficulty in trying to return to her best level. Seeded No. 8 here in Tokyo, she looked back on form by making a perfect run to the semi-finals. Thus she eliminated the 2013 world champion and top seeded competitor, Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL), with a beautiful sweeping movement for ippon. In the semi-final she was opposed to the double world medallist ASAMI Haruna (JPN) who, in front of her public, interrupted the comeback of the Olympic champion. After both athletes scored a waza-ari, ASAMI, won the match by a decisive penalty. In the finals she found her compatriot, KONDO Ami, who eliminated the stubborn Sahin Ebru (TUR) in the semi-finals.
In the first three quarters of the final, neither athlete was able to make their mark and only a few penalties were distributed, when KONDO Ami launched her right foot to catch ASAMI’s leg for a o-soto-gari for waza-ari that she concluded with a traditional hon-keza-gatame immobilisation for ippon. KONDO while stepping off the mat with a third victory in a Grand Slam, was hesitating between crying and smiling, both because of joy, but the smile definitely won the fight.
The first bronze medal fight of the day opposed, Nataliya KONDRATYEVA (RUS) and Ebru SAHIN (TUR), who had to stop the fight, due to an injury, giving the victory and a fourth medal on the occasion of a grand slam to Nataliya KONDRATYEVA.
In the second bronze medal fight, the winner of the Tyumen Grand Slam, Julia FIGUEROA (ESP) faced Sarah MENEZES (BRA), who scored a first waza-ari, with a ko-soto-gari. The Spanish then put a lot of pressure on MENEZES, who was penalised three times for passivity or for stepping out of fighting area. But it is maybe when the Brazilian is under pressure that she delivers her best judo as with a superb combination ippon-ko-uchi-gari, she stopped FIGUEROA’s hopes to step on the podium. With this bronze medal, MENEZES wins her 11th Grand Slam medal, which puts her as the third best Grand Slam performer in history.
ASAMI, Haruna (JPN) vs. KONDO, Ami (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
KONDRATYEVA, Nataliya (RUS) vs. SAHIN, Ebru (TUR)
FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP) vs. MENEZES, Sarah (BRA)
1. KONDO, Ami (JPN)
2. ASAMI, Haruna (JPN)
3. KONDRATYEVA, Nataliya (RUS)
3. MENEZES, Sarah (BRA)
5. FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP)
5. SAHIN, Ebru (TUR)
7. BRIGIDA, Nathalia (BRA)
7. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)
The current World Champion, NAKAMURA Misato (JPN), was only seeded number two at this Grand Slam. But that did not bother her to find her way to the final, after the top seeded athlete, Annabelle EURANIE (FRA), was eliminated by a waza-ari by another Japanese SHISHIME Ai, bronze medallist in Paris in October, in the quarter-final. Never really in danger, NAKAMURA controlled the whole final against SHISHIME who was penalised three times, offering a sixth crown to the world champion in a Grand Slam.
After a tense fight between the two contenders to the French Olympic qualification, Annabelle EURANIE and bronze medallist of the London Games, Priscilla Gneto, it was the veteran EURANIE who qualified for the right to fight for the bronze medal. For a place on the podium, she met the 2010 World champion, NISHIDA Yuka, but that did not scare the French fighter, who took advantage of her height to take the lead with a left handed uchi-mata for waza-ari. She then just had to control the fight, which she did pretty well, as NISHIDA only scored a yuko, not enough the change the final result. With this medal, EURANIE puts a serious option on the Olympic qualification.
In top form in the -52kg category, Japan's team placed its fourth athlete in position to win a medal since the silver medallist of the last World Masters in Rabat, Hashimoto Yuki, faced the German Mareen KRAEH. Kraeh should have known to be careful on the floor. The Japanese squad and especially the women are well known for that powerful skills particularly with immobilisations and without any surprise, HASHIMOTO added one more medal to the already long Japanese prize list, with an immobilisation for ippon on KRAEH.
SHISHIME, Ai (JPN) vs. NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
EURANIE, Annabelle (FRA) vs. NISHIDA, Yuka (JPN)
KRAEH, Mareen (GER) vs. HASHIMOTO, Yuki (JPN)
1. NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN)
2. SHISHIME, Ai (JPN)
3. EURANIE, Annabelle (FRA)
3. HASHIMOTO, Yuki (JPN)
5. KRAEH, Mareen (GER)
5. NISHIDA, Yuka (JPN)
7. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)
7. GNETO, Priscilla (FRA)
Once again a Japanese athlete had the possibility to win gold in Tokyo as YOSHIDA Tsukasa (JPN), already winner of a Grand Slam this year, in Tyumen, Russia, entered the final to face Hélène RECEVAUX (FRA). It is interesting to note that none of the top seeded athletes qualified for the final. The biggest surprise came from the defeat of current Olympic and world champion and national hero, MATSUMOTO Kaori, who was arm-locked by the 2013 world champion, Rafaela SILVA (BRA).
RECEVAUX had extra pressure on her shoulders, as she was the only non-Japanese in the position to win the title today in Tokyo, but YOSHIDA did not give her a single chance and engaged what was one the most beautiful uchi-mata of the day for a clear ippon.
The first bronze medal fight saw Miryam ROPER (GER), winner of the Moscow Grand Slam in 2014, facing another European representative, KARAKAS Hedvig (HUN). A few seconds were enough for KARAKAS to block ROPER’s first attack and to counter it with a kubi-nage technique for waza-ari, instantly followed with an immobilisation for ippon.
In the second bronze medal fight, world number one, DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) faced Rafaela SILVA (BRA). More dynamic than her opponent, always on the move, DORJSUREN took the lead with a yuko score with a combination, right-handed-sode-left-drop-seoi-nage. The Mongolian kept her advantage to secure a place on the podium.
YOSHIDA, Tsukasa (JPN) vs. RECEVEAUX, Helene (FRA)
Bronze Medal Fights
ROPER, Miryam (GER) vs. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)
SILVA, Rafaela (BRA) vs. DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL)
1. YOSHIDA, Tsukasa (JPN)
2. RECEVEAUX, Helene (FRA)
3. DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL)
3. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)
5. ROPER, Miryam (GER)
5. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)
7. KIM, Minju (KOR)
7. OJEDA, Aliuska (CUB)
Winner of the 2015 World Judo Masters in Rabat, Morocco, TAKATO Naohisa, was the strongest hope for the host country, to once again step on top of the podium. And TAKATO did not disappoint his public as he qualified for the final after having defeated the top seeded competitor KIM Won Jin (KOR) in the semi-final. In the final he met with the 2014 world silver medallist Beslan MUDRANOV (RUS).
World Champion in 2013, TAKATO, did not wait long before launching his first attack. Starting with a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi on one hand only, he changed direction in the middle of the movement, to throw his opponent for waza-ari in a pure Japanese style. The Japanese fighter again demonstrated his impressive technical skills later on during the fight, when he engaged his leg to propel MUDRANOV, with a o-uchi-gari for waza-ari-awasete-ippon. This victory offers a sixth Grand Slam title to Takato.
The first bronze medal fight opposed the London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, Felipe KITADAI (BRA) and SHISHIME Toru (JPN). In judo every second counts, especially the closing seconds. SHISHIME applied this principle until the very last second of the match as he scored an outstanding uchi-mata, for ippon to win his fourth medal in a Grand Slam.
For the second bronze medal fight, AOKI Dai (JPN) qualified against KIM Won Jin (KOR) for a place on the podium. The first strong attack came from AOKI, who engaged a uchi-mata, but the Japanese was counterattacked by KIM for waza-ari. A few seconds later, after a session of ground work, where KIM was obviously looking for a shime-waza, the Korean concluded with a ippon and a fourth medal on the occasion of a grand slam.
TAKATO, Naohisa (JPN) vs. MUDRANOV, Beslan (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights
KITADAI, Felipe (BRA) vs. SHISHIME, Toru (JPN)
AOKI, Dai (JPN) vs. KIM, Won Jin (KOR)
1. TAKATO, Naohisa (JPN)
2. MUDRANOV, Beslan (RUS)
3. KIM, Won Jin (KOR)
3. SHISHIME, Toru (JPN)
5. AOKI, Dai (JPN)
5. KITADAI, Felipe (BRA)
7. CHAMMARTIN, Ludovic (SUI)
7. DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)
Several favourite athletes had a difficult competition day, like Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR), who was surprisingly eliminated by Sergiu OLEINIC (POR), or the current world champion, AN Baul (KOR) was defeated by the 22 year old Japanese, TATEYAMA Sho (JPN), even if earlier during the preliminary rounds, AN sent back home the current Olympic champion, Arsen GALSTYAN (RUS). This all unfolded to the benefit of three-time world champion, EBINUMA Masashi (JPN), who faced his teammate, TAKAJO Tomofumi, in the final.
After 15 seconds, TAKAJO, who won the Asian Championships this year, had already one yuko, after a spectacular first attack with a kata-guruma. It took a little less than two more minutes for TAKAJO to launch again his special movement, but this time for waza-ari. But for sure, that is not something to discourage the three-time world champion, who scored a yuko as well with a left handed koshi-waza technique. But this was not enough, especially since TAKAJO scored a last yuko with a reverse drop-seoi-nage.
The first bronze medal fight opposed TAKAICHI Kengo (JPN) and TATEYAMA Sho (JPN) to guarantee one more medal for the Japanese delegation and one shido was enough for TAKAICHI Kengo to win the bronze after a fight where both athletes totally neutralised each other.
In the second bronze medal fight, the winner of the last edition of the Paris Grand Slam and world number three, DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg, was opposed to Sergiu OLEINIC (POR). With two yuko scored with a tai-otoshi and a ashi-waza technique, the victory belonged to DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg.
TAKAJO, Tomofumi (JPN) vs. EBINUMA, Masashi (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
TAKAICHI, Kengo (JPN) vs. TATEYAMA, Sho (JPN)
DAVAADORJ, Tumurkhuleg (MGL) vs. OLEINIC, Sergiu (POR)
1. TAKAJO, Tomofumi (JPN)
2. EBINUMA, Masashi (JPN)
3. DAVAADORJ, Tumurkhuleg (MGL)
3. TAKAICHI, Kengo (JPN)
5. OLEINIC, Sergiu (POR)
5. TATEYAMA, Sho (JPN)
7. KATZ, Nathan (AUS)
7. OATES, Colin (GBR)
DAY 2 - Saturday December 5
9:30 preliminaries on 4 tatami
16:00 final block on 1 tatami
Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg
DAY3 - Sunday December 6
9:30 preliminaries on 4 tatami
16:00 final block on 1 tatami
Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Location: Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium 1-17-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo