Rufat Ismayilov Wins Home Gold for Azerbaijan
Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Rufat Ismayilov (was the cream of the crop for the hosts as he achieved what household names Orujov, Safarov, and Heydarov tried so desperately but ultimately failed to accomplish in winning a home gold medal.
The 20-year-old Azerbaijan judoka scored a waza-ari right away with a drop seoi-nage and maintained his advantage for the remainder of the contest to record a superb Grand Slam win against Asian Championships bronze medallist Saeid Mollaei (IRI).
In the first semi-final Ismayilov shocked Kohara Kenya (JPN) with a pure te-waza movement for ippon after just 32 seconds which sent the crowd into euphoria. The Azeri talent roared with pleasure as his compatriots celebrated the upset. Ismayilov had guaranteed his first IJF World Judo Tour medal and the crowd could tell that he was on the verge of something very special in his homeland.
In the second semi-final Mollaei defeat Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Otgonbaatar Uuganbaatar (MGL) by ippon having also scored two waza-ari as he surged into the final.
The first bronze medal contest saw Otgonbaatar dismiss Düsseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) as Mongolia’s medal rush continued. The 29-year-old ensured a medal-winning resumption of IJF duty as he countered an o-uchi-gari with an opportunistic ko-soto-gari for a waza-ari score with 15 seconds left on the clock.
The second bronze medal went to Kohara who threw Düsseldorf Grand Prix silver medallist Ungvari Attila (HUN) with a well-timed de-ashi-barai for ippon with 90 seconds left to record his first IJF silverware.