Olympic medallist Tamerlan Bashaev bagged the victory at the Grand Prix of Dushanbe against the national hero, Temur Rakhimov, world number one in the heavyweight final and last contest of the event.
Bashaev, true to himself, therefore took advantage of his lower centre of gravity, to gain the upper hand. For Temur Rakhimov things were not easy. His status as world number one is both a guarantee of recognition and a colossal weight on the shoulders. Those of the Tajik champion may be wide but the pressure was enormous, with a whole country waiting for him to perform.
Despite this colossal pressure, Rakhimov managed to pass one round after another until the semi-finals, where he was opposed by his compatriot Shakarmamad Mirmamadov, which, in this context, represented additional pressure for the champion. Once again, however, he managed to thwart all the traps to finally reach the final of the last category of the tournament, which added the icing on the cake of Tajik success.
The very first attack came from Bashaev's side, with his trademark drop seoi-nage, which he kept applying as the final unfolded, while Rakhimov was trying to throw with wide leg and hip movements. It was with a beautiful sode-tsuri-comi-goshi that Bashaev took the lead with a waza-ari that made Rakhimov roll on his back. Bashaev controlled until the end to win the gold medal.
Yerassyl Kazhybayev (KAZ) and Kacper Szczurowski (POL) qualified for the first bronze medal contest. With his -100kg shape, Kacper Szczurowski seemed little compared to Kazhybayev but he was not afraid and came on to the tatami boldly, ready to face his opponent. They ended the normal time with two shido apiece. As golden score started, Kacper Szczurowski produced a tremendous effort and dropped under Kazhybayev to throw him. Unfortunately for the Polish judoka, to conclude his throw he used his arm under the belt to direct the landing. For that he was penalised with a shido. The bronze medal was for Yerassyl Kazhybayev.
Magomedomar Magomedomarov (UAE) and Shakarmamad Mirmamadov (TJK) met for the final third place. With an early waza-ari, Magomedomarov had then to play tactically but not too much, as penalties were not far away. With less than 30 seconds to go, he already had two shido to his name. Shakarmamad Mirmamadov threw his last forces in to battle, but that was not enough and a handful of seconds before the gong, he was caught on the floor for ippon.
This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com