In a legendary city, the son of a judo legend faced the son of a judo powerhouse on the first day of the Tashkent Grand Prix.
In the men’s -60 kg, two judokas were looking to make their mark. In blue, 20-year-old Koga Genki. The Japanese contestant is the son of Koga Toshihiko, one of the greatest ever judoka. His son is already a cadet and junior world champion, so he is walking in his father’s footsteps.
In white judogi_,_ 21-year-old Yago Abuladze, the young prodigee from the legendary ever-performing Russian school.
Both were having a great day.
In the final, each man showed his enormous potential. It was tight, it was great and it ended up after almost 8 minutes in Golden Score with a Russian win by ippon. It is clear that these two are destined to meet each other again.
Mr Rustam Shaabdurakhmanov, President of the Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan, presented Ab- uladze his medal.
“I’m not used to fighting in the Golden Score," Abuladze said in an interview after the match. "It was a difficult fight for me, especially fighting 12 minutes into Golden Score. But my coach told me that I have to die, win or stay on the tatami. So I had to win this fight.”
Woman of the Day
It was crystal clear that Russia Team did not come to Uzbekistan for tourism.
Our woman of the day is Sabina Giliazova. In the -48kg category Giliazova came, saw and conquered. In the final, her opponent was Azerbaijan Leyla Aliyev and 45 seconds after the start she had already lost.
Mr Mohammed Meridja, education and coaching director of the IJF, presented Giliazova with her medal.
“The Russian team was very strong today," Giliazova said after the final. "We got three gold medals. The Russian team is strong and they proved it today.”
It was definitely the day of Russia and Japan. In the men’s -66kg category, Aida Yuji faced Yakub Shamilov in a spectacular and unpredictable contest won by the 28-year-old Russian veteran.
Eastern European Showdown
Other teams also did well.
Korean Olympic silver medalist Bokyeong Jeong won her second Grand Prix gold medal by defeating Mongolia's Khorloodoi Bishelt with a Kata-Guruma.
As for the last final of the day, it was an Eastern European showdown between Bulgaria’s Ivelina Ilieva and Hungary’s Hedvig Karakas. Karakas won her second Grand Prix gold medal in with a sumi-gaeshi.
All in all, it was an exciting and unpredictable day in Tashkent.