2015 Tokyo Grand Slam Day 3 - 6 December Back
December 6, 2015
Tokyo Grand Slam 2015 - Japan
JUDO CONCLUDES IN STYLE IN TOKYO
The third day of competition on the occasion of the 2015 Tokyo Grand Slam concluded a busy sports season. Four more Japanese athletes stepped on top of the podium, while the American Kayla HARRISON confirmed that she is the World number one in her weight category. The 2016 World Judo Tour will restart at the end of January with the opening event to be held in Havana Cuba. Until then, the athletes from the five continents will have a bit of rest and then go back on the tatami to prepare what will be the most important year of their career as all eyes will be focused on Rio de Janeiro, where the next Olympic Games will be held next summer.
On the occasion of this last day of competition at the 2015 Tokyo Grand Slam, the IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer had a long talk with the representatives of the media. This gave him the opportunity to speak about today’s and future development of judo. Mr. Vizer, who met with Mr. Hiroshi Hase, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, two days ago said: "I have expressed my gratitude, honour and happiness to come back to the home of judo, and my hope to see the World Championships to be held in Japan in 2019, just before the 2020 Olympic Games. With the Minister we talked more generally about the development of judo and how our sport can contribute to the development of the international society."
From left to right: Mr. Marius Vizer, IJF President, Mr. Tsunekazu TAKEDA, President of the National Olympic Committee and Gabriela Szabau, Olympic and World Champion in Athletics during the final block of the last day of competition in Tokyo.
When being asked about the possibility to have the team event at the Olympic Games, the IJF President answered: "I am convinced that the team event at the Olympic Games can only increase the value of our sport and be beneficial for everyone. We are ready with the project and we will as soon as possible make the proposition to the IOC. I hope that this will become a reality. We have several options with separated teams, men and women, or mixed teams."
As this was one of the subjects of Discussion with Minister Hase, Mr. Vizer also added some comments about the possibility to have the World Championships coming back to Japan in 2019: "The next World Championships will be held in Budapest, Hungary, in 2017. For 2018 and 2019, the bidding process is still open and we have very good candidates with France, USA, Russia, Azerbaijan, Morocco and other places as well. Of course, Japan is also a candidate for the organisation in 2019, which would be very good because we could combine the World Championships and the test event for the 2020 Games. This is very important for the athletes, the coaches, the referees and the organisers. The decision will be taken at the Executive Committee meeting that will be held just prior to the Rio Games."
The the IJF President was asked about the judo rules. Concerning the sport and refereeing rules, his answer was: "After the Rio Games, we have already planned to draw the conclusions of the last four years of activity. Based on that experience, the technical and refereeing rules will be dissected and evaluated. The perfect system does not exist and we are going to correct what did not work correctly. What is sure is that we will do our best for the development and transparency of our sport and for the benefit of the athletes."
Talking about the development of judo throughout the globe, Mr. Vizer explained: "In the last Olympic cycle, judo has been developing a lot throughout the planet, in all five continents. New countries with very good judoka appeared on the international scene. Thanks to the IJF development strategy, we have been helping a lot of nations. But we have also developed strong programs such as JUDO FOR CHILDREN and JUDO FOR PEACE, which are very useful to promote our values. Our objective after Rio is to develop a worldwide JUDO FOR ALL program. We don’t want to only focus on the elite of our sport but we want to be present in the society as well. We have to deliver our best to transfer the judo values to the society, because at the end our values are more important than a title. Our mission is not only to generate champion, but rather champions for the society."
At the end of his meeting with the media, Mr. Vizer said: "I would like to thank all of the media. You are important partners. My special appreciation goes today to the Japanese media who are always very fair, and whose values are based on honour and dignity. Media are one of the most important mechanisms in our world and I consider them as being one of the real guide of the society. It is important to promote the truth because the courage to say the truth is one of the highest values to be taught to our children."
A Judo Legend Retires
Just before the final block and in the presence of Mr. Jean-Luc ROUGE, IJF General Secretary, and the whole Cuban delegation present in Tokyo, Mr. Marius Vizer presented the legendary Ronaldo Veitia Valdivie, with the IJF Plaquette, and the IJF gold card for his entire career and achievements. Ronaldo, head coach of the Cuban National team participated in his last international competition today as a coach. Born in Havana Cuba in 1948, 8th dan in judo, Ronaldo Veitia graduated in sports science and has been the head coach of the female national team since 1986. Under his leadership, Cuba obtained five gold, nine silver and 10 bronze Olympic medals and a total of 57 world medals in the senior category. Together with the cadet and junior categories, it is an impressive total of 308 international medals, which were won by Mr. Ronaldo Veitia Valdivia’s athletes of 30 years of activity.
The famous coach declared: "I am happy for all the years that I have spent in the service of judo and of my country, even if today I’m a bit sad because this is the end of a fantastic adventure. I will now concentrate on my family and especially on my grandaughter. For me all those years were simply extraordinary. I gave everything to my team and to my country and my best souvenirs will for sure remain all the medals won by my athletes. Now I will take the time to relax, to enjoy life and of course I will continue to watch judo, but from the stands."
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Kayla HARRISON, former world champion and current Olympic champion was the top seeded athlete of the category. After a long rehabilitation due to a knee operation two years ago, the American has been back on the world judo tour tatami for several months and she is back on the top of the world ranking list. Nevertheless, her way back was not a peaceful one and she had to redouble her efforts to dominate the world again. In the final she was opposed to a two time winner of Grand Slams this season (Tyumen and Baku). For almost three minutes, the two athletes neutralised themselves, but the Dutch was penalised with a shido for stepping out of the tatami. Everything was still possible but STEENHUIS had to take some risks, which benefited HARRISON who scored a yuko on o-uchi-gari.
The London Olympic silver medallist, Gemma GIBBONS (GBR), again found the way of the final block of a major event as she was opposed to SATO Ruika (JPN) for a place on the podium. The Japanese scored the first yuko with a tai-otoshi, but GIBBONS reduced the score and finally took the lead with two counterattacks for yuko and then for waza-ari. With the victory, the British wins her fifth Grand Slam medal.
The second bronze medal fight was a remake of the final of the last world championships as world silver medallist, Anamari VELENSEK (SLO) and current world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) faced for the Grand Slam honours. After several penalties were distributed on both sides, VELENSEK was about to take the control of the fight, with a counterattack, which was first scored with a yuko, before it was downgraded to no score. But then UMEKI received a third shido, which definitely offered the victory to the Slovenian.
HARRISON, Kayla (USA) vs. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)
Bronze Medal fights
GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR) vs. SATO, Ruika (JPN)
VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO) vs. UMEKI, Mami (JPN)
1. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
2. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)
3. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)
3. VELENSEK, Anamari (SLO)
5. SATO, Ruika (JPN)
5. UMEKI, Mami (JPN)
7. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)
7. HAMADA, Shori (JPN)
Beyond the clear victory of INAMORI Nami (JPN), who defeated the current Olympic champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) by ippon with an immobilisation, the history books will remember that this final was the last one for Mr. Ronaldo Veitia as a coach of the Cuban team. Thus if Idalys ORTIZ couldn’t offer that last victory to the man who brought her to the top of the Olympics, she gave a long hug to her coach while stepping off the tatami.
TOMITA Wakaba (JPN) and Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR) faced off for a place on the podium. Until the last minute nothing was written on the scoreboard as both athletes seemed incable of finding the smallest opportunity to score but nothing could stop KINDZERSKA when she launched a powerful left-handed o-soto-gari for ippon.
The second bronze medal fight saw the victory of the winner of the 2015 Paris Grand Slam, Emilie ANDEOL (FRA) due to an injury of her teammate Marine ERB (FRA), earlier during the day.
ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB) vs. INAMORI, Nami (JPN)
Bronze Medal fights
TOMITA, Wakaba (JPN) vs. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)
ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA) vs. ERB, Marine (FRA)
1. INAMORI, Nami (JPN)
2. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)
3. ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA)
3. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)
5. ERB, Marine (FRA)
5. TOMITA, Wakaba (JPN)
7. ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)
7. YAMABE, Kanae (JPN)
Only ranked sixth in the world and seeded in the fifth position, BAKER Mashu (JPN) nevertheless qualified for the final of the category, were he was opposed to the 2013 world champion, the Cuban Asley GONZALEZ, who is coming back to his top form at the end of this season, giving him good hopes for the Rio Olympic Games. Escaping from the grip of his opponent, GONZALES was penalised with a first shido after less than two minutes. Just before the last minute, it was the turn of BAKER to be penalided for a false attack with a shido. But when the Cuban was penalised again, BAKER took a small advantage that he could maintain until the final gong. This medal represents the third gold medal at a Grand Slam this season after Baku and Tyumen and his fourth Grand Slam gold medal in total (Tokyo 2013).
The first bronze medal contest opposed the 2015 Asian Championship silver medallist, NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) and the world number three Noel VAN T END (NED), second at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam a few weeks ago. NISHIYAMA was penalised with a first shido for false attack to which he responded with a o-uchi-gari for waza-ari. 40 seconds before the end of the fight, the Japanese concluded with an immobilisation for waza-ari-awasete-ippon, winning his seventh medal on the occasion of a Grand Slam.
Kirill VOPROSOV (RUS) and the current world champion GWAK Dong Han (KOR) were opposed in the second bronze medal contest of the men’s -90kg. Both athletes were penalised with a first shido for blocking each other and then GWAK launched the now famous trademark Korean drop seoi-nage for a clear ippon.
BAKER, Mashu (JPN) vs. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)
Bronze Medal fights
NISHIYAMA, Daiki (JPN) vs. VAN T END, Noel (NED)
VOPROSOV, Kirill (RUS) vs. GWAK, Dong Han (KOR)
1. BAKER, Mashu (JPN)
2. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)
3. GWAK, Dong Han (KOR)
3. NISHIYAMA, Daiki (JPN)
5. VAN T END, Noel (NED)
5. VOPROSOV, Kirill (RUS)
7. DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)
7. YOSHIDA, Yuya (JPN)
The final of the men’s -100kg the current world champion HAGA Ryunosuke (JPN) and CHO Guham (KOR), the defending Tokyo Grand Slam gold medalist from last year. At the end of the five minutes, nothing else than penalties were written on the scoreboard, three for CHO and only two for HAGA, giving the first grand slam gold medal to HAGA, who confirms his supremacy of the category since the world championships.
The first bronze medal fight was a match of strong men as Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) faced Cyrille MARET (FRA). After half of the fight, MARET was already penalized two times, looking incapable of changing rhythm, when he finally scored a first yuko with his favorite o-soto-gari turned into a arai-makikomi. Coming from the -90kg weight category, GVINIASHVILI had a tough day fighting in the upper category and the Georgian looked really tired at the end, and finally MARET applied an arm-lock for ippon.
The second bronze medal fight concluded in the favor of Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) against Maxim RAKOV (KAZ), the only one shido difference being enough to attribute the bronze medal.
HAGA, Ryunosuke (JPN) vs. CHO, Guham (KOR)
Bronze Medal fights
GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO) vs. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)
RAKOV, Maxim (KAZ) vs. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
1. HAGA, Ryunosuke (JPN)
2. CHO, Guham (KOR)
3. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
3. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)
5. GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO)
5. RAKOV, Maxim (KAZ)
7. ARMENTEROS, Jose (CUB)
7. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)
The last final of the day, of the Grand Slam, and of the last event of 2015 opposed the top seeded judoka and world silver edallist, SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) and HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN), winner of the last Paris Grand Slam in October. After 35 seconds, both athletes were penalised for passivity. At the end of the five minutes, both SHICHINOHE and HARASAWA, who are dreaming to maybe one day dethrone the king Teddy Riner, were penalised with three shido each. That meant golden score was required. After a sequence of several combined attacks from HARASAWA, SHICHINOHE was finally penalised a last time offering the victory to HARASAWA.
The first bronze medal fight of the last category of the day opposed Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) and the last man who defeated Teddy Riner, KAMIKAWA Daiki (JPN) but that was back in 2010. Since then, KAMIKAWA never seemed in the position to repeat his performance and the French giant has been invincible as was the case in China and in Korea, during the last two IJF events. After five minutes where KAMIKAWA proved to be more active than his opponent, he finally won the medal with a single shido difference.
The second bronze medal contest saw Soslan BOSTANOV (RUS) and Stanislav BONDARENKO (UKR) fighting to join SHICHINOHE and HARASAWA on the podium. Only 33 seconds were necessary for BONDARENKO to send BOSTANOV to the tatami of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium with a huge ko-soto-gari for ippon.
SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN) vs. HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)
Bronze Medal fights
MATIASHVILI, Levani (GEO) vs. KAMIKAWA, Daiki (JPN)
BOSTANOV, Soslan (RUS) vs. BONDARENKO, Stanislav (UKR)
1. HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)
2. SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN)
3. BONDARENKO, Stanislav (UKR)
3. KAMIKAWA, Daiki (JPN)
5. BOSTANOV, Soslan (RUS)
5. MATIASHVILI, Levani (GEO)
7. MOURA, David (BRA)
7. OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN)
IJF Media & Communications Department
Nicolas Messner, IJF Media Director
Mark Pickering, IJF Media Manager
Photos © IJF Media by G. Sabau