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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Russian heavyweights gain momentum despite uncertainty

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Once again, Bashaev proved to be more dangerous, while Rakhimov showed a good sense of balance until he was totally exhausted and couldn’t resist the last o-soto-gari. It was another vu ctory for Tamerlan Bashaev, but with not quite the same physiognomy of the final in Dushanbe.Galymzhan Krikbay (KAZ) gave hope to the Kazakh public by qualifying for a bronze medal contest against the second Georgian judoka in the category, Saba Inaneishvili. Today was not a good day for the Georgian judoka in the men’s heavyweight division. After Tushishvili’s defeat, Inaneishvili was thrown with a massive ura-nage for ippon.Bashaev was the first to action, with a kata-guruma, that made Rakhimov shake to his foundations but the Tajik colossus resisted. Halfway to the end, Bashaev had one penalty to his name, while Rakhimov also had one. If the strongest attacks came from Bashaev, the Tajik champion had a few very good opportunities, showing his capacity to anticipate his opponent’s actions. It was soon time for golden score.There was an air of deja vu among the men’s heavyweights, since the Grand Slam final in Astana strangely resembled the one we experienced two weeks ago in Dushanbe, between world number one, Tajik Temur Rakhimmov, and Tamerlan Bashaev (AIN), the victory on that occasion going to Bashaev. So there was potential revenge in the air between the two men.Well established at the top of the world rankings, Rakhimov won his first contest against French judoka Joseph Terhec. For that, he brought him to the ground with a small de-ashi-barai for no score, before concluded with a shime-waza that Terhec could not resist. Facing Valeriy Endovitskiy (AIN), Rakhimov scored with a first counter-attack, then with a second to head in the direction of the semi-finals. Opposed by Saba Inaneishvili (GEO), he won again, to try to recover the gold from Bashaev’s hands.The latter had a more complex first round in reality than on paper, against Giannis Antoniou (CYP). He nevertheless scored a first waza-ari from a rolling seoi-nage, before concluding just a handful of seconds before the gong, with a kata-guruma. Two shoulder movements later against Jonas Schreiber (GER), Bashaev opened the doors to the semi-final, against former world champion Guram Tushishvili (GEO), whom he defeated.Valeriy Endovitskiy (AIN) and Guram Tushishvili (GEO) fought for a place on the podium. A little casual and visibly tired, Guram Tushishvili was scored on in the first half of the contest with a counter-attack. A few seconds from the end, he managed to pick up the score with an uchi-mata that came out of nowhere but during the golden score period it was finally Valeriy Endovitskiy who regained the upper hand with a superb counter for ippon.

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