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Judo: Ismayilov and Alvear shine on day two of Baku Grand Slam


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Judo: Ismayilov and Alvear shine on day two of Baku Grand Slam

Rufat Ismayilov thrilled his home support on day two of the Baku Grand Slam thanks to a standout performance that saw him strike gold in the men’s -81kg division.

He got off the mark with a first round defeat of Uzbek Sunnatulla Azimov.

In the third he downed top seeded Bulgarian Ivaylo Ivanov before moving on to a semi-final clash with Japan’s Kenya Kohara.

The last four fight was a brief affair as Ismayilov needed just 32 seconds to dispatch his opponent with an ippon.

In the final though the 20-year-old was pushed all the way to the four minutes by Irans Saeid Mollaei.

But after scoring an early waza-ari Ismayilov managed to keep his advantage to the end and win a precious home gold medal.

After an impressive and bruising day at the office Ismayilov said: “It was inspiring that all the local people supported me and I felt so honored and so motivated. That helped me to win the medal.”

It also turned out to be a great trip for triple world champion Yuri Alvear.

The Colombian judoka was in fine fettle on the tatamis of the Azerbaijan capital.

The double Olympic medallist opened up her account by dashing the hopes of the host nation with victory over Aida Bakhishova.

Her semi-final against Aleksandra Samardzic had the same outcome although it took the 30-year old a little longer – two minutes and 18 seconds to be precise.

Alvear was firing out the ippons on the day and the final was no different.

Paris Grand Slam medallist Elvismar Rodriguez proved no match for the impressive Alvear, who needed just 23 seconds to celebrate gold.

It was her fifth win over Rodriguez from the pair’s five previous contests.

An ecstatic Alvear can now add something new to her collection of medals.

She said: “I feel very happy, I’ve won a lot of medals, I was three times world champion, won a couple of medals at the Olympics, but I had never won a gold medal in a Grand Slam.”

Elsewhere on day two, Britain’s Alice Schlesinger marked her first outing of 2017 with gold in the -63kg class.

The 28-year old, who won gold at the same venue in May of last year, was in a class of her own in Baku and beat Slovenian Andreja Leski in the final.

Schlesinger secured an arm lock just under three minutes into the fight forcing Leski to tap out.

Mongolia’s Odbayar Ganbaatar emerged victorious from the men’s -73kg category.

His victory against Japan’s Riki Nakaya in the final made sure that the first nine gold medals over the opening two days of competition have gone to nine different countries.

Ganbaatar defeated the double world champion and Olympic silver medallist with two waza-ari scores to claim his first career Grand Slam gold.

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