IJF News - 7 February, 2016

Paris Grand Slam 2016 - France


The stars align in Paris for Judo’s powerhouses on road to Rio 2016  


Women: -70kg  -78kg  +78kg 

Men: -81kg | -90kg | -100kg | +100kg 


The Paris Grand Slam 2016 concluded on Sunday with the heavyweight elite powering to glory at the AccorHotels Arena to record crucial victories on the road to Rio 2016.


Japan topped the medal table once again in Paris as they won five gold medals, two silver and two bronze ahead of South Korea who shone with three gold and four bronze medals while hosts France won two gold medals, one silver and six bronze.  


The Paris tournament, which is now in its 45th year and has been a flagship IJF Grand Slam since 2009, is one of the finest tournaments in the sport and in an Olympic year is seen as a key marker with the results in Paris often reflected at the following summer’s Olympiad.


A Grand Slam offers 500 world ranking points for a gold medal which is only second to an invite-only World Masters and World Championships on the IJF World Judo Tour. Every nation and every judoka reserves a special affection for Paris and the ‘Bercy’ setting.  


The women’s -70kg, -78kg and +78g categories and men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories were all settled as 281 judoka (198 men, 83 men) graced the famed Paris tatami on Sunday.


A Judoka in Space


Today the public of the Accorhotels Arena had the pleasure to discover Thomas PESQUET, from the European Space Agency. Born in Rouen, Normandie, the 37-year-old Frenchman is an engineer in Aeronautics and he will fly into space in November 2016, where he will spend at least six months on board the International Space Station. But beyond being an accomplished pilot, parachutist and diver as well, Thomas PESQUET is a black-belt judoka, who was the special guest of the French Judo Federation and of the IJF today on the occasion of the second and final day of competition of the Paris Grand Slam 2016. Mr. PESQUET said: “It’s a fantastic adventure to have the opportunity to go to space and it’s also a fantastic adventure to be a judoka. I am particularly attached to the values that judo brings to everyone. This is more than simply a sport. It is perfectly adapted to everyone and I will do my upmost to promote those judo values throughout the preparation for my flight as well as during my stay in the space station.“ Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, said: “It is an honour for us to have Thomas PESQUET present here in Paris for this edition of the Grand Slam. It’s not every day that we can say that a judoka will go to space. We will follow Thomas’ adventure and we are all behind him to help him to promote our values.“



The French Judo Federation honoured its Champions


Today, the French Judo Federation honoured three of its champions as Pierre Robin (World and European medalist), Morgane Ribout (World Champion) and Hugo Legrand (World and Olympic medallist) all delivered a final bow to their international career. The three champions emotionally explained to the public that it was a special moment for them to step once again on the tatami in that particular context. The judo legend, David Douillet (four times world champion and two times Olympic Champion) then took the floor to offer them a present in the name of the FFJ and he said: “Thanks to all of the judo lovers who came again in numbers on the occasion of this Grand Slam. This is important to support all of our athletes who will participate in the upcoming days but I wanted to say is that it’s not an easy situation that our three champions are taking today. In artistic disciplines for instance, you can practice your art at a very high level for many years. But this is not the case in high level sport. At one point, your body says stop. I went through this moment and it’s not easy. But I am confident that they will find the resources to move on and I wish them all the best for their future.“



Elected as the best female judoka of the year, along with Teddy Riner as the best male judoka by a jury composed of experts, journalists and the public, the Slovenian world champion Tina Trstenjak, received her prize from the hands of Marius Vizer,  and IJF Hall of Famers Yamashita Yasuhiro  and Jean-Luc Rougé today in Paris.


L’Esprit du Judo recognises the best in judo 


Mr. Marius Vizer said: “First of all I want to congratulate you for this initiative, which has been running through the years as it is already the eighth edition of the trophy presented by the magazine L’Esprit du Judo. I would like the IJF to be associated with this initiative in the upcoming years, in the framework of a reinforced partnership in order to support, together, the promotion of athletes. It is our responsibility to promote them, to communicate on their performance and on what judo is all about. We must promote the stars of our sport as it is done in other sports.“



Mr. Yamashita Yasuhiro declared: “This a sign of respect for all those champions who train a lot, the kind of things that you remember at the end of a career. During my time, that did not exist… nevertheless, being designated as the best judoka by specialist of journalism, experts and public, I would have loved that! It is well deserved, because I understand that it does not only concern the medals and the titles, which were won by Teddy (Riner) and Tina (Trstenjak), but their engagement and attitude as well. The presentation took place here in Paris, in France, where those values are very important.“


Mr. Jean-Luc Rouge, French Judo Federation President, said: “It is an honour to award these two champions here in France on the occasion of the Paris Grand Slam and we congratulate them both. Of course we are especially happy that Teddy has been designated with this award for a second year. We wish both judoka well in on their road to Rio 2016.


The IJF World Judo Tour now heads for Germany for the second Grand Prix of the season in less than two weeks as the best judoka in the world prepare to compete at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix from Friday 19 – Sunday 21 February. Olympic and world champion MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN) will be among the stars in action as the provisional entry list features 679 judoka from 91 countries.  


Full Paris Grand Slam results: http://www.ippon.org/gs_fra2016.php



-70kg: KIM makes Grand Slam breakthrough for South Korea     

In the absence of world number one, Kim POLLING (NED), and world number two, Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) from the final block, the two athletes qualified for the final were KIM Seongyeon (KOR) and defending Paris champion TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN). The four minutes of the regular time did not offer any significant opportunity for either athlete to score, but active throughout the combat, they were not penalised either. So they entered the golden score with a clean scoreboard. Two minutes later, the situation was still exactly the same, but finally TACHIMOTO was penalised for passivity as she suffered her first defeat since 2014 and presented the third victory to the Korean delegation here in Paris.



In the first semi-final former world number one Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) fell to KIM in a nervy contest as the former was penalised on two occasions while gold medal-hunting KIM was only penalised once. In the second semi-final TACHIMOTO profited from a costly mistake by world bronze medallist Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA) who was disqualified for trying a dangerous and banned waki-gatame with 48 seconds remaining.


The first bronze medal was won by Jeju Grand Prix winner Sally CONWAY (GBR) as her would-be opponent POSVITE had been disqualified in the previous round and therefore lost her place in the competition and the opportunity to fight for a medal. The second bronze medal contest featured current world champion and world number five, Gevrise EMANE (FRA), who was qualified against the athlete who immediately follows her on the World Ranking List, the Canadian Kelita ZUPANCIC. EMANE was penalised with a first shido within the first half of the fight. Again the French seemed in danger as she couldn’t really escape from ZUPANCIC’s pressure but as the Canadian was pushing EMANE outside the fighting area, the French dropped on her knees for one of her homemade drop seoi-nage for waza-ari. Then EMANE just had to control her opponent to add one more medal to her hugely impressive prize list.


KIM, Seongyeon (KOR) vs TACHIMOTO, Haruka (JPN)                                                                                                                                                                                             

Bronze Medal Fights

POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA) vs CONWAY, Sally (GBR)         
ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN) vs EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)            



Final Results

1. KIM, Seongyeon (KOR)                         
2. TACHIMOTO, Haruka (JPN)                                                    
3. CONWAY, Sally (GBR)                                     
3. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)                                                                                     
5. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)                               
5. ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN)        
7. POLLING, Kim (NED)                             
7. BERNABEU, Maria (ESP)                            

-78kg:AGUIAR Dominates HARRISON       

It was the final that everyone was expecting here in Paris as World Number One Kayla HARRISON (USA) was opposed to the fighter who is dreaming of the Olympic title in her home country this summer, Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) and who, even if she is not World Number Two, could be the favourite to become the Olympic champion in Rio. But AGUIAR did not give a chance to her main rival HARRISON, who was thrown with a masterpiece uchi-mata for ippon as the Brazilian secured a massive physical and physiological boost to move in front in their head-to-head series 8-7.



In the first semi-final Havana Grand Prix silver medallist Luise MALZAHN (GER) was beaten by Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) by a waza-ari while in the second semi-final Olympic silver medallist Gemma GIBBONS (GBR) succumb to Olympic bronze medallist and former world champion Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) on shido penalties 3:1.


The first bronze medal was claimed by World Judo Masters bronze medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) – her first on a Grand Slam stage - as she beat teammate GIBBONS in a result which could determine the British representative at -78kg this summer. After a harai-goshi effort from POWELL her opponent was penalised for passivity and again moments later. Both judoka were penalised for false attacks as Welsh judoka POWELL, who won their only previous meeting in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games final, stretched her head-to-head lead to 2-0.


The second bronze medal contest featured the World Number 27, Laia TALARN (ESP) and the bronze medallist of the 2015 World Championships, Luise MALZAHN (GER). With a right handed o-soto-gari, MALZAHN was the first one to put her opponent off balance but for no score. With the sumi-gaeshi that followed moments later, the German thought she had scored a yuko this time, but the video refereeing confirmed that there was no score again. Nevertheless MALZAHN took a small advantage as TALARN was penalised for passivity. Finally the first score came from the Spanish side as TALARN counterattacked the ouchi-gari. MALZAHN, who has more experience and who visibly was not capable of throwing, was clearly pushing her opponent to be penalised with the hope of a fourth shido. But eventually MALZAHN threw her last forces into a beautiful ko-soto-gake for ippon and a clear victory. 


AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA) vs HARRISON, Kayla (USA)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Bronze Medal Fights

GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR) vs POWELL, Natalie (GBR)                            
MALZAHN, Luise (GER) vs TALARN, Laia (ESP)                          



Final Results

1. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)                                                       
2. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)                                                       
3. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)                              
3. MALZAHN, Luise (GER)  
5. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)                             
5. TALARN, Laia (ESP)                         
7. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)                               
7. PUREVJARGAL, Lkhamdegd (MGL)                                                                                                                                     


+78kg: TACHIMOTO Megumi establishes new Grand Slam record     

Several athletes were awaited in the final of the last female category of the tournament such as the current World Champion, YU Song, or current Olympic Champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB), but it was TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN) and MA Sisi (CHN) who finally qualified for the last fight. After two minutes, the only element written on the scoreboard was a yellow card indicating a shido for MA for passivity. The Chinese was again penalised before the end of the fight and therefore the victory went to TACHIMOTO Megumi. With this 14th Grand Slam medal, the Japanese established a new record of Grand Slam medals.



In the first semi-final Pan American Championships silver medallist Rochele NUNES (BRA) was second best against TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN) who won by a yuko score while in the second semi-final Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Marine ERB (FRA) was swiftly beaten by MA after 73 seconds.


The first bronze medal was claimed by 21-year-old ERB who rose to the occasion as she was able to step onto a Grand Slam podium for the first time at the expense of the more favoured Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist KIM Minjeong (KOR). Both judoka were penalised with a shido for negative gripping before KIM received a second shido and the scoreless contest was settled as ERB gave a courageous performance which was celebrated by the French crowd.                             


The second bronze medal contest was won by Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Tessie SAVELKOULS (NED) as NUNES could not compete due to an injury.                         



TACHIMOTO, Megumi (JPN) vs MA, Sisi (CHN)                                                                                                                 

Bronze Medal Fights
ERB, Marine (FRA) vs KIM, Minjeong (KOR)                            
NUNES, Rochele (BRA) vs SAVELKOULS, Tessie (NED)                                                                                                                                                                    


Final Results

1. TACHIMOTO, Megumi (JPN)                               
2. MA, Sisi (CHN)                              
3. ERB, Marine (FRA)   
3. SAVELKOULS, Tessie (NED)                           
5. KIM, Minjeong (KOR)                                                        
5. NUNES, Rochele (BRA)                                               
7. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN)                                 
7. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)                                                                                                                      



-81kg: TCHRIKISHVILI confirms world status in France     

The final opposed the two strongest men of the day in the -81kg category. The first athlete was far from an unknown as World Number One and top seed, Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) qualified against a less known athlete, Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL), even if the Bulgarian showed all of his talent last year by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, and finishing with a bronze medal in Qingdao. From the first hajime on, the 2014 world champion showed more power and control and was able to score a first waza-ari with a kata-guruma. But IVANOV was not afraid to attack as well and was suddenly able to go below the centre of gravity of the Georgian to propel him high in the sky of the Accorhotels Arena but for a landing only scored as a yuko. The end of the fight was not an easy one for TCHRIKISHVILI who had all manner of difficulties to maintain his advantage. But with all his experience, he could finally win a new Grand Slam title, confirming his world number one position. 



In the first semi-final former Baku Grand Slam winner Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS) lost out to TCHRIKISHVILI in a scoreless contest as the former was penalised twice. TCHRIKISHVILI was busier than his Russian opponent as KHUBETSOV was penalised for passivity twice and that settled the contest after five minutes. 


In the second semi-final Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist WANG Ki-Chun (KOR) was surprisingly beaten by IVANOV who continued his amazing upward trajectory towards the summit of the category. Both judoka registered in the yuko column but WANG was denied a place in the gold medal contest as he was penalised twice while Bulgarian fighter IVANOV was only penalised on one occasion.


The first bronze medal was clinched by WANG who closed in on an Olympic berth for South Korea by beating Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist CSOKNYAI Laszlo (HUN). WANG won the sixth Grand Slam medal of his career by a waza-ari score after setting the Hungarian off balance with a cutting piece of ashi-waza before driving CSOKNYAI over with his upper body strength. CSOKNYAI was penalised for passivity with 91 seconds left while WANG infringed by stepping out but those indiscretions did not change the outcome.The second bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 medal hopeful Victor PENALBER (BRA) who saw off KHUBETSOV. The first three minutes of the fight looked really balanced as neither PENALBER nor KHUBETSOV where able to score. But the Brazilian opportunistically took advantage of a small mistake of his opponent to apply a powerful shime-waza technique for ippon, offering one more medal to the Brazilian delegation, which is very positive in the framework of the Olympic Games.


TCHRIKISHVILI, Avtandili (GEO) vs IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)                                                                                                                                                     

Bronze Medal Fights

CSOKNYAI, Laszlo (HUN) vs WANG, Ki-Chun (KOR)                            
KHUBETSOV, Alan (RUS) vs PENALBER, Victor (BRA)                                                                                                                                        




Final Results

1. TCHRIKISHVILI, Avtandili (GEO)                                
2. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)                                                 
3. WANG, Ki-Chun (KOR)                              
3. PENALBER, Victor (BRA)                   
5. CSOKNYAI, Laszlo (HUN)                                  
5. KHUBETSOV, Alan (RUS)  
7. KERMARREC, Julian (FRA)  
7. MOUSTOPOULOS, Roman (GRE)                                                                            

-90kg: NISHIYAMA Wins Gold as the favourites fall

The first attack of the final came from Alexandre IDDIR (FRA), who engaged a strong standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, that was blocked by 2011 world silver medallist, NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN). But then the Japanese scored a yuko with a spectacular koshi-waza technique. Still the French looked more dangerous on all of his attempts to throw NISHIYAMA. It is after what looked like a tame attack that the Japanese immediately followed on the floor to catch IDDIR with a shime-waza, from which the French did not have another option than rolling on the other side, giving the opportunity to NISHIYAMA to catch him with a prefect immobilisation for ippon.



In the first semi-final NISHIYAMA bested former Madrid World Cup winner Ludovic GOBERT (FRA) on shido penalties while in the second semi-final Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Ciril GROSSKLAUS (SUI) was undone by Alexandre IDDIR (FRA) who won by a yuko score having seen off LIPARTERLIANI (GEO) in the quarter-finals with one of the ippons of the tournament from an incredible ippon seoi-nage.


The first bronze medal was won by world champion GWAK Dong Han (KOR) salvaged an important place on the podium as he scored with a drop seoi-nage for waza-ari against the ever-improving GROSSKLAUS. GWAK just had too much for the Swiss fighter who is becoming a consistent medal contender on the IJF World Judo Tour and both judoka could be in contention at Rio 2016.                      


Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) did not come for the bronze in Paris but after his last second defeat against Alexandre IDDIR, he had to face a second French fighter, Ludovic GOBERT, for a medal. Dominated by the strong grip of GOBERT, LIPARTELIANI, was the first one to put his opponent in danger though and the Georgian eventually scored a first waza-ari, which was followed by an impressive ground work session, which ended with a matte of the referee. Looking exhausted, LIPARTELIANI had more and more difficulties to stop GOBERT’s attempts to come back, and he was penalised several times. But at the end, it was written that the World Number Two would step on the podium for a seventh time on the occasion of a Grand Slam.                           


NISHIYAMA, Daiki (JPN) vs IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)                                                                               

Bronze Medal Fights

GROSSKLAUS, Ciril (SUI) vs GWAK, Dong Han (KOR)                   
GOBERT, Ludovic (FRA) vs LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)                                                                                                                                                                                              



Final Results

1. NISHIYAMA, Daiki (JPN)                                                    
2. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)                               
3. GWAK, Dong Han (KOR)                                       
3. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)                                                        
5. GROSSKLAUS, Ciril (SUI)  
5. GOBERT, Ludovic (FRA)                                                
7. BETTONI, Eduardo (BRA)           
7. BUFFET, Romain (FRA)                                                                                                          


-100kg: Three of a kind for MARET             

The awaited final of the day by the French public was the one which featured Cyril MARET, already winner of the Grand Slam in Paris in 2014 and 2015. In the final he was opposed to the young Canadian, Kyle REYES. With a first superb yoko-tomoe-nage, MARET scored the first yuko. There is no doubt that MARET is one of the strongest and toughest athletes of the category and supported as he was by the public, nothing could stop him. During the next phase of ground work, MARET literally tied up REYES, to take his leg out and immobilise the Canadian for ippon and for the delight of the public.



In the first semi-final MARET defeated Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) by ippon at the halfway point while in the second semi-final Pan American Championships bronze medallist Kyle REYES (CAN) shaded Tashkent Grand Prix winner WOLF Aaron (JPN) by a yuko. 



The first bronze medal was won by Tokai University member WOLF as he denied Sofia European Open bronze medallist Michael KORREL (NED) a second consecutive Paris Grand Slam bronze medal. WOLF got stronger as the contest went on and the patient Japanese judoka produced a stunning sasae-tsurikomi-ashi for a waza-ari score before pinning the Dutchman with a mune-gatame for 15 seconds and his first Grand Slam honours.                 


World silver medallist Karl-Richard FREY (GER) was again present in the final block of a major IJF event, taking a significant advantage over his teammate and Olympic bronze medallist, Dimitri PETERS, on their way to Rio, as only one of them can go to the Olympics. For a place on the podium FREY faced the world number one, Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) and both judoka cancelled each other out in the early stages. Exactly at half way point, FREY launched the very first strong attack for no score as GASIMOV did not land at least on the side. That scenario continued until the final gong, so both athletes had to enter the golden score. With a first ample counterattack, FREY put GASIMOV in danger but the Azeri landed on his stomach this time. The second attack was decisive for the German who executed a perfect drop-seoi-nage which wrapped GASIMOV into an unquestionable ippon.                        



REYES, Kyle (CAN) vs MARET, Cyrille (FRA)                                                                                                      

Bronze Medal Fights

WOLF, Aaron (JPN) vs KORREL, Michael (NED)                   
GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE) vs FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)                                                                                                                                                                                     




Final Result

1. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)                                                        
2. REYES, Kyle (CAN)                       
3. WOLF, Aaron (JPN)     
3. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)                             
5. KORREL, Michael (NED)                     
5. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)   
7. FONSECA, Jorge (POR)           
7. MAMMADOV, Elkhan (AZE)                                                                                                                                                        

+100kg: Unbeatable HARASAWA on the road to Rio          

The last final of the day opposed the winner of three Grand Slams last year (Tyumen, Paris and Tokyo), HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN) and the winner of the semi-final against the other Japanese of the category SHICHINOHE Ryu, Or SASSON (ISR). After less than two minutes, HARASAWA was penalised with a first shido for passivity, when later on it was the turn of SASSON to receive a shido for breaking the grip. With two more penalties given to the Israeli, the Japanese was getting closer to a new Grand Slam gold, but SASSON was close to creating the surprise as he put HARASAWA out of balance with a ko-uchi-gari but luckily for the Japanese it was for no score. With this new victory, HARASAWA takes a strong advantage over his teammate SHICHINOHE for the Japanese Olympic qualification and a seemingly inevitable meeting with Olympic and eight-time world champion Teddy RINER (FRA) who could not compete due to a shoulder injury.



In the first semi-final European Games silver medallist Or SASSON (ISR) came from behind to beat double world silver medallist SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) by ippon while in the second semi-final 2015 Paris winner HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN) could only beat Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) on shido penalties 0:3.


The first bronze medal was won by 2015 Paris Grand Slam silver medallist David MOURA (BRA) as Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) gave a below-par performance as he was penalised four times to receive hansoku-make and gift a place on the podium to the Brazilian. The second and last bronze medal fight of the tournament opposed Roy MEYER, from the Netherlands and the World Number Two SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) who was surprisingly eliminated in the semi-finals by Or SASSON (ISR). MEYER scored the first yuko with a ouchi-gari technique before being penalised with a shido. Always on the move and always attacking before the Japanese, MEYER showed great ambition against the Japanese giant and he could finally add a fourth Grand Slam medal to his prize list.           


SASSON, Or (ISR) vs HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)             


Bronze Medal Fights

MATIASHVILI, Levani (GEO) vs MOURA, David (BRA)                  
SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN) vs MEYER, Roy (NED)                                                                                                                                                                                                         



Final Result

1. HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)                                               
2. SASSON, Or (ISR)                            
3. MOURA, David (BRA)                                      
3. MEYER, Roy (NED)                                                        
5. MATIASHVILI, Levani (GEO)   
5. SHICHINOHE, Ryu (JPN)                                              
7. OUCHANI, Hamza (FRA)            
7. KOKAURI, Ushangi (AZE)                                                                                    

IJF Media & Communications Department
Mark Pickering, IJF Media Manager  

Nicolas Messner, IJF Media Director  

Photos © IJF Media by Gabriela Sabau & Marina Mayorova 



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