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Azerbaijan claim trio of judo medals

Date: August 28, 2021

Category: Judo

Azerbaijan’s judoka added three more golds to their judo medal haul on Saturday (28 August) evening at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Full results and coverage can be found the IBSA Judo website.

Pictures are available to download for editorial use here.

Women’s up to 57kg

Azerbaijan’s World Championships bronze medallist Sevda Valiyeva ground out a victory against Uzbekistan’s Parvina Samandarova.

2017 European champion Valiyeva kept her nerve and ran the clock down to win by waza-ari. It is her first Paralympic medal.

Having been knocked out of gold-medal contention in the morning, Turkey’s world champion Zeynep Celik look determined to grab one of the remaining places on the podium. There was however a problem. Japan’s Paralympic bronze medallist Junko Hirose was equally as focused on grabbing a medal at her home Paralympics, in the Nippon Budokan.

Both women threw everything they had at the fight and with a waza-ari each, they went to Golden Score. It was only a momentary gap in Hirose’s focus that cost her, with Celik taking the chance and her first Paralympic medal. Celik then embraced Hirose for a long time on the tatami after the winner was declared in a touching moment.

Brazil’s Lucia Araujo defeated RPC’s Natalia Ovchinnikova with a slick throw and hold for bronze. It follows on from Araujo’s silvers from Rio 2016 and London 2012.

“All my medals were hard to obtain but this one has a special value because I’m in the birthplace of judo. Being here and fighting here at Budokan with all the history involved, it’s such an honour,” Araujo said.

Women’s up to 63kg

Azeri European champion Khanim Huseynova won her first Paralympic medal with a waza-ari against 2016 silver medallist Iryna Husieva of Ukraine.

China’s Yue Wang repeated her performance from the 2018 World Championships by winning bronze against RPC’s Olga Pozdnysheva.

Uzbekistan’s Nafisa Sheripboeva was emotional when she took the second bronze, and began crying before she left the mat. She exited the arena draped in in her national flag.

Men’s up to 81kg

Mexico’s Paralympic champion Eduardo Avila returned to the mat to claim bronze against France’s Nathan Petit, having been denied the chance to retain his title.

There was a similar shock for South Korean world champion and 2016 silver medallist Jung Min Lee as he failed to make it into the gold medal match. But he made amends by taking the bronze, ahead of Ukraine’s Dmytro Solovey, with an impressive and decisive ippon throw.

It was Azerbaijan’s Huseyn Rahimli that overcame Lee for a place in the final, and Uzbekistan’s Davurkhon Karomatov who took Avila’s scalp, setting up a thrilling fight for gold.

The four minutes saw two shido apiece for Rahimli and Karomatov as they shook off the nerves, and headed into Golden Score. Rahimli saw his chance just a little way into the extra time, stunning Karomatov and ending the match emphatically.

Men’s up to 73kg

Uzbekistan’s Asian bronze medallist Feruz Sayidov’s ippon almost came as a surprise to his regional champion opponent Termizhan Daulet of Kazakhstan.

At one of the re-starts Sayidov saw a chink in Daulet’s armour and seized the opportunity, picking him up and throwing him to the floor almost with one arm. Daulet looked stunned as he sat on the mat after the move.

Ukraine’s Rufat Mahomedov took bronze thanks to a win over the RPC’s Vasilii Kutuev. The other bronze went to Lithuania’s Osvaldas Bereikis, improving on his fifth place finish from Rio 2016.

Judo at Tokyo 2020 concludes with, among other weight categories, the men’s and women’s heavyweights on Sunday (29 August).

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