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Monday, October 2, 2023

Nils Stump writes history for Switzerland with first world title

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The first bronze medal was contested between Hashimoto and Heydarov. The Japanese judoka showed his incredible depth, throwing Heydarov twice with tai-otoshi for two solid waza-ari scores, first on his weaker left side, then second on his stronger right side. Hashimoto adds a 5th world medal to his ever-growing collection.Tsend-Ochir’s exit left pool D wide open for number 6 seed Manuel Lombardo (ITA) to pass through to the semi-finals. The former world silver medallist and junior world champion at -66kg is the epitome of confidence and composure and has risen rapidly through the ranks in his new weight category. He threw Shamshayev (KAZ), Gjakova (KOS) and then Dris with his kata-guruma to comfortably book his semi-final spot. There he met the 3-time world bronze medallist Hidayat Heydarov (AZE), whom he had recently beaten in the semi-final of Antalya. Today was no different, as Heydarov was disqualified for escaping Lombardo’s kata-guruma by bridging on his head. So far, so simple for Lombardo, and just like that he qualified for his second senior world final.However, disaster struck when he entered for a ippon-seoi-nage, which looked like it could have scored waza-ari, the video replay showed that Lombardo had tried to somersault during the throw, and landed head first. Direct hansoku-make for Lombardo handed the title to Stump, who was clearly thrilled, but also visibly disappointed that the fight had to end in such a fashion. Nevertheless, Stump becomes the first ever Swiss world judo champion, a quite magnificent achievement for him and his team.The top half of the draw produced many more thrilling contests, including a round 2 clash of the titans between former world champion Soichi Hashimoto (JPN) and former world and Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili, in which the Japanese man won out with an unusual drop-knee ashi-guruma, and looked to be on dazzling form.The final for men U73kg proved to be a fascinating match-up. This was the first meeting between Stump and Manuel Lombardo in international competition and it showed, as each player looked to figure out the other, trying to calculate and recalculate a way to throw after each ‘hajime’ call. Almost every exchange featured different technique attempts, with Lombardo opting not to attempt his kata-guruma. Stump’s attacks came the closest to scoring, and in the second minute of golden score, Lombardo picked up a second penalty and this motivated him to get himself back into the contest.Hashimoto was drawn to face Nils Stump (SUI) in the quarter-final. The world number 9 and recent Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv Grand Slam winner was already looking dangerous, having thrown Qing (CHN) with o-soto-guruma and then Pelivan (MDA) with both uchi-mata and ura-nage. He quickly put a stop to the Japanese man, throwing him for ippon with a rarely-seen harai-tsurikomi-ashi at close quarters, stunning the crowd in the ABHA Arena.Switzerland is a rather small judo country. On the ninth of May the Swiss stamped their biggest ever success with a gold medal for Nils Stump. Eric Born and Sergei Aschwanden once made it to the world championships final, but it was Stump who became the first world champion for his country. He was sharp as a Swiss knife from the start and surprised the odds, judo fans, but not himself.Stump went proudly to the semi-final to face Murodjon Yuldoshev (UZB), who had proven to be unthrowable in his earlier rounds over Tsoutlasvili (GRE), Makhmadbekov (AIN) and teammate Nomanov. Stump however showed that beating Hashimoto was no fluke, throwing the Uzbek with nidan-ko-soto-gari for waza-ari and quickly transitioning to the ground to hold him in kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame for the win. While still only 26 years old, Stump has been a regular on the IJF World Judo Tour for 5 years and this is his 5th world championship appearance. Understandably, he couldn’t contain his delight at guaranteeing a first world medal.The second bronze medal contest saw Yuldoshev take on Margelidon (CAN), both aiming for a first world championship medal. Margelidon had been the victor in each of their last three encounters but Yuldoshev was clearly on a mission to reverse his fortunes. He attacked more strongly and more consistently and, despite not scoring, won the fight after the Canadian picked up a third and final shido. Tears of joy flowed down the faces of both Yuldoshev and his coach, showing just how much the result meant to them. Yuldoshev takes the clear lead in the Uzbek race for the -73kg Olympic place, with teammate Nomanov finishing in 7th place.Like fellow defending champion Rafaela Silva in the U57kg category, Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir’s world title defence came to an end prematurely. He had good form, making the final of the Antalya Grand Slam, the last major event before these championships but also like Silva, he couldn’t carry this form through to Doha. In round 3 he faced Dris of Algeria, who was clearly buoyed by the large, local, Arabic support network cheering and encouraging him throughout the contest. An enthralling match ensued, with the Algerian going up a waza-ari early on, Tsend-Ochir then levelling the score midway through, but a third penalty for the Mongolian left his hopes of a second world title shattered; a reminder that no-one is safe in this extremely competitive category.

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