Back in Baku: Judoka Bologa aces return
Date: May 25, 2021
Romania’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Alex Bologa showed why he will be one of the faces to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on Tuesday (25 May), overcoming Uzbek Paralympic champion Sherzod Namozov at the IBSA Judo Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Bologa emerged the victor from a gruelling contest by demonstrating technique, pitch-perfect strategy and pure grit.
Namozov took the first point but looked brow-beaten after picking up his second shido, knowing it would be difficult to avoid another foul against an attacking Bologa. The Romanian went onto level the score and shortly after Namozov was given his third shido.
The hosts picked up bronze courtesy of Vugar Shirinli who stood alongside Kazakhstan’s Anuar Sariyev on the podium.
Georgia’s Giorgi Kaldani delivered a surprise result in the men’s up to 73kg. Breaking Azeri hearts by beating Paralympic gold medallist Ramil Gasimov in the semi-finals, Kaldani progressed to overcome Russia’s Vasilii Kutuev for the win.
Germany’s Nikolai Kornhass also beat Gasimov via ippon for bronze. Kutuev’s teammate Shakhban Kurbanov completed a Russian podium double.
There were two golds for Azerbaijan in the men’s and women’s competitions on day one in Baku.
Namig Abasli beat Uzbekistan’s Paralympic champion Urtkirjon Nigmatov in the men’s up to 66kg.
Argentina’s Eduardo Gauto Gallegos – a B1 fighter – claimed bronze alongside Uzbekistan’s Uchkun Kuranbaev.
European silver medallist Sevda Valiyeva took victory in an exhausting tie against Uzbek judoka Parvina Samandarova in the women’s up to 57kg. Valiyeva was the first to tire but took her chance against Samandarova in the dying stages of the final.
Brazil’s Lucia Araujo and Azerbaijan’s Afag Sultanova took home bronze.
Another Paralympic medallist, Turkey’s Ecem Tasin, climbed onto the top of the podium in the women’s up to 48kg. Uzbekistan’s Lobar Khurramova secured silver. Azerbaijan’s Worlds silver medallist Shahana Hajiyeva and Ukraine’s Yuliia Ivanytska were third.
Algeria’s Cherine Abdellaoui left Baku with gold in the women’s up to 52kg.
The Paralympic bronze medallist was too quick on her feet for Uzbekistan’s Sevinch Salaeva, forcing her into two shido before the fight went to golden score. The Algerian carried the most energy, maintaining her attacking style throughout the match. It was that vigour that led Abdellaoui to gold after Salaeva picked up a third shido.
Tokyo 2020 hosts Japan were delighted with a first Grand Prix medal for Yui Fujiwara with bronze. Azerbaijan’s Basti Safarova completed the podium.
Action at the first IBSA Judo Grand Prix since 2019 continues in Baku on Wednesday (26 May). The competition is one of two remaining chances for judoka to grab world ranking points and qualify for Tokyo 2020.