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#1YearToGo: Kuramagomedov re-enters fray as contender

Date: August 30, 2019

Category: Judo

By Sam Harris | For IBSA
Russia’s Abdula Kuramagomedov will be one of the front-runners for gold on his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020 in one years time, having claimed the scalp of Georgia’s Zviad Gogotchuri at the recent International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo European Championships in Genova, Italy.
Gogotchuri was unbeaten both in the men’s up to 90kg and in the up to 100kg, where he faced Kuramagomedov, since 2015. His trophy cabinet includes Paralympic and world titles and multiple Grand Prix golds.
In the final in Genova the Russian held his nerve despite Gogotchuri going for a quick finish. The Georgian made a mistake, kneeling into a throw in an attempt to topple his opponent,
that led to Kuramagomedov turning him over for what was originally given as a wazari but was then changed to an ippon on review.
“It was a sense of accomplishment,” Kuramagomedov said of his victory. “Georgian athletes are worthy rivals!”
The 31-year-old could make his Paralympic debut next year in Japan, the birthplace of judo.
But he is no stranger to top of the podium. In 2014 Kuramagomedov became the world champion. He followed that up a year later with a European title. In recent years he has picked up other medals at the world and regional levels, culminating with his gold in Genova.
He could now get the chance to compete on the biggest stage of them all.
“It feels great!” he said of his Paralympic debut. “I have been working hard to get this opportunity.”
The Russian is unsurprisingly feeling confident ahead of Tokyo 2020 saying: “Expectations are always the same – to win the Paralympics.”
Kuramagomedov is currently ranked sixth in the world in the up to 100kg category with the qualification window still open.
His main rivals for a medal next year will be his compatriot Anatoly Shevchenko and Gogotchuri.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will open on 25 August, with judo being contested over three days from 28-20 August at the Nippon Budokan.
Kuramagomedov and his rivals will see out 2019 with the last Grand Prix of the year in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from 23-26 September.

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