The Jeju Grand Prix 2015, the final Grand Prix of the year, reached its conclusion on Saturday as four current Olympic champions took to the tatami in South Korea at the Halla Gymnasium.
South Korea’s third edition of the Jeju Grand Prix attracted a record entry as the stars of the IJF World Judo Tour turned out in force ahead of the season’s conclusion next week in Japan at the Tokyo Grand Slam.
The home fans saw the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories and the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories compete for the remaining five Grand Prix titles on day three.
Hosts South Korea finished top of the medal table with five gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze medals. France were second with three gold medals including the peerless Teddy RINER (FRA) on the last day while Japan finished third with two gold medals including teenage Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) who won the women's heavyweight title.
The international judo community will now remain in Asia as they travel to Japan for the fifth and final Grand Slam of the year from 4-6 December. Over 500 judoka from 96 nations will now descend on judo’s homeland for one of the most spectacular and well attended events in the sport. Judo fans can watch all the action live and free at www.ippon.tv
-78kg: TCHEUMEO improves on Qingdao silver medal
Qingdao Grand Prix runner-up Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) went one better than her silver medal from a week ago in China as Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) could not compete in the final due to injury. HARRISON dislocated her shoulder in her opening match and fought on until she reached the final and then withdrew before the contest as she wants to fight at the Tokyo Grand Slam next week.
In the first semi-final HARRISON won a rematch of the London 2012 Olympic final against Gemma GIBBONS (GBR). GIBBONS, whose one victory over her American rival came at the 2007 British Open, fell behind to a yuko as HARRISON drove her familiar foe over for the lowest score. GIBBONS was twice penalised before HARRISON held the Briton down for 20 seconds and a place in the gold medal contest.
In the second semi-final TCHEUMEO guaranteed her second appearance on an IJF medal podium in as many weeks by defeating Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist TAKAYAMA Rika (JPN). Both judoka failed to produce a score as the contest was decided on shido penalties with three shidos against the Japanese and two against her French opponent.
The first bronze medal was won by TAKAYAMA, her second at this level, as she defeated former Moscow Grand Slam silver medallist PUREVJARGAL Lkhamdegd (MGL) for the right to step onto the -78kg medal podium. TAKAYAMA, who showed her intent by running into the arena towards the tatami, floored her opponent with an osoto-gari for ippon after 80 seconds.
The second bronze medal contest was won by GIBBONS who beat Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Guusje STEENHUIS (NED) to record another invaluable result as she seeks one more attempt at winning Olympic gold next year. STEENHUIS was penalised twice which was once more than her opponent as GIBBONS climbed onto a Grand Prix medal podium for the second week in succession.
TCHEUMEO Audrey (FRA) vs HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
Bronze Medal Fights
PUREVJARGAL, Lkhamdegd (MGL) vs TAKAYAMA, Rika (JPN)
STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED) vs GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)
1. TCHEUMEO Audrey (FRA)
2. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
3. TAKAYAMA, Rika (JPN)
3. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)
5. PUREVJARGAL, Lkhamdegd (MGL)
5. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED)
7. TORT MERINO, Marta (ESP)
7. CHOI, Mi-Young (KOR)
+78kg: Teenage starlet ASAHINA powers to maiden Grand Prix title
World number 37 ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) produced a sublime display as she won all five of her contests by ippon including the final against European Games bronze medallist Belkis Zehra KAYA (TUR). Former Junior world champion ASAHINA, 19, who was supported by her parents in the crowd, was a breath of fresh air in the division with her ippon judo flowing all day long. The Japanese youngster, who started practicing judo at the Kodokan, scored a yuko from a harai-makikomi and held down an overmatched KAYA with a kuzure-kesa-gatame for 20 seconds and the maximum score.
In the first semi-final Olympic champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) lost out to KAYA with an underwhelming performance as she tends to save her best judo for the World Championships and Olympic Games as a big stage performer. KAYA secured her place in the final by waza-ari. In the second semi-final three-time Kodokan Cup winner ASAHINA bested Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR) by ippon from a harai-goshi with 61 seconds remaining after the Ukrainian had received three shidos for passivity.
The first bronze medal was won by KINDZERSKA who overpowered Marine ERB (FRA) in their heavyweight duel. The Ukrainian took the lead with a yuko from a makikomi effort before holding down her rival for ippon as the young French fighter could find not find a way out and remained pinned to the tatami for 20 seconds. The second bronze medal was won by KIM Minjeong (KOR) who defeated ORTIZ whose golden backpatch - as the London 2012 winner - is in jeopardy next year. KIM won on shido penalties 1:2 as ORTIZ was penalised twice after a below-par outing.
ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN) vs KAYA, Belkis Zehra (TUR)
Bronze Medal Fights
ERB, Marine (FRA) vs KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)
KIM, Minjeong (KOR) vs ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)
1. ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)
2. KAYA, Belkis Zehra (TUR)
3. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (UKR)
3. KIM, Minjeong (KOR)
5. ERB, Marine (FRA)
5. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)
7. KIM, Jiyoun (KOR)
7. KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)
-90kg: South Korean world champion completes Jeju hat-trick
World champion GWAK Dong Han (KOR) won his third consecutive Jeju Grand Prix as he beat former World Judo Masters silver medallist Axel CLERGET (FRA) in the -90kg final. The Asian champion, 23, ruled in Jeju in 2013, 2014 and now 2015, as he opened the scoring with a yuko before adding a waza-ari to seal one more home triumph.
In the first semi-final GWAK advanced with a win over Ilias ILIADIS (GRE) who had beaten IDDIR (FRA) in golden score in the quarter-final. The scoreless contest was settled on shido penalties as ILIADIS was penalised three times while the former was penalised once. In the second semi-final CLERGET recorded a notable win over world silver medallist Kirill DENISOV (RUS) by a waza-ari as Russia’s dependable -90kg front-runner was sent into the bronze medal contest.
The first bronze medal was awarded to DENISOV as Magomed MAGOMEDOV (RUS) received four shidos as he was unable to challange his more accomplished teammate. The second bronze medal went to former Olympic and world champion ILIADIS who beat former world silver medallist TOTH Krisztian (HUN) in a rematch of the World Championships final from 2014. The latter went in front with a yuko before ILIADIS responded with a waza-ari and smothered TOTH in osaekomi for 15 seconds for bronze. TOTH and ILIADIS both showed their exemplary etiquette and the tremendous respect for each other as they shared a touching embrace which earned the applause of their peers in the crowd.
GWAK, Dong Han (KOR) vs CLERGET, Axel (FRA)
Bronze Medal Fights
MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS) vs DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)
TOTH, Krisztian (HUN) vs ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE)
1. GWAK, Dong Han (KOR
2. CLERGET, Axel (FRA)
3. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)
3. ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE)
5. MAGOMEDOV, Magomed (RUS)
5. TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)
7. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)
7. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)
-100kg: CHO captures his second Jeju Grand Prix gold
Reigning Tokyo Grand Slam winner CHO Guham (KOR) recorded his second Grand Prix win in his homeland as he defeated Pan American Games bronze medallist Jose ARMENTEROS (CUB) in the -100kg final. CHO, 23, who is a hugely popular member of the South Korean team, stormed past the 22-year-old Cuban by ippon after 60 seconds with a reverse-seoi-nage. The home fighter was all smiles as his teammates lapped up the achievement of their hard-working colleague.
In the first semi-final former world silver medallist ARMENTEROS saw off World Judo Masters winner GASIMOV by ippon while in the second semi-final CHO stunned Olympic champion Tagir KHAIBULAEV (RUS) after three minutes by ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by KHAIBULAEV who trapped Pan American Games winner Luciano CORREA (BRA) in osaekomi with a ushiro-kesa-gatame. KHAIBULAEV has now won four Grand Prix medals and secured today’s with the aforementioned holddown for 20 seconds to earn ippon. The second bronze medal was won by GASIMOV, who despite looking lethargic all day long, had enough quality to defeat 21-year-old IJF World Judo Tour rookie SAKAMOTO Kensuke (JPN). The Azerbaijan ace caught SAKAMOTO with a ko-soto-gake for ippon with 101 seconds left.
CHO, Guham (KOR) vs ARMENTEROS, Jose (CUB)
Bronze Medal Fights
CORREA, Luciano (BRA) vs KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS)
SAKAMOTO, Kensuke (JPN) vs GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
1. CHO, Guham (KOR)
2. ARMENTEROS, Jose (CUB)
3. KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS)
3. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
5. CORREA, Luciano (BRA)
5. SAKAMOTO, Kensuke (JPN)
7. OMAROV, Arsen (RUS)
7. MAMMADOV, Elkhan (AZE)
+100kg: Rampant record-breaker RINER races to gold
Record-breaking eight-time world champion and Olympic champion Teddy RINER (FRA) produced four ippons in as many contests to win heavyweight gold as he beat Abu Dhabi Grand Slam gold medallist KIM Sung-Min (KOR) in a Grand Prix final for the second week in a row.
In a repeat of the Qingdao Grand Prix gold medal contest, where KIM was disqualified for four shidos in a highly-disappointing challenge against the formidable Frenchman, the South Korean fighter offered more on home soil this week. Nevertheless RINER was always in control and threw his opponent for ippon after 96 seconds with a superb sasae-tsurikomi-ashi to take their-to-head record to 9-0.
In the first semi-final RINER was given a test by Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Roy MEYER (NED) who made the French great work for his victory. RINER led by two yuko scores before forcing the Dutchman to submit to a koshi-jime in the first meeting between the European powerhouses. In the second semi-final Wollongong Oceania Open silver medallist Ushangi KOKAURI (AZE) was beaten by KIM Sung-Min (KOR) by ippon as he sealed one more shot against RINER.
The first bronze medal went to Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) who held down KOKAURI with a mune-gatame and he elected to tap out after 17 seconds. The second bronze medal went to MEYER who bested Pan American Games bronze medallist GARCIA MENDOZA (CUB) by a shido. MEYER put everything into a driving ouchi-gari which sent the Cuban out of the area but he turned out onto his front to avoid giving away a score and the solitary shido decided the contest.
KIM, Sung-Min (KOR) vs RINER, Teddy (FRA)
Bronze Medal Fights
VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS) vs KOKAURI, Ushangi (AZE)
GARCIA MENDOZA, Alex (CUB) vs MEYER, Roy (NED)
1. RINER, Teddy (FRA)
2. KIM, Sung-Min (KOR)
3. VOLKOV, Andrey (RUS)
3. MEYER, Roy (NED) .
5. KOKAURI, Ushangi (AZE)
5. GARCIA MENDOZA, Alex (CUB)
7. CUEVAS, Jose (MEX)
7. SASSON, Or (ISR)