Armenia celebrates its first World Champion in judo. Gor Karapetyan captured the world title in Sarajevo in the category U81kg, qualifying brilliantly for the final. At the top of the draw, Alisher Samanov was not expected at such a party, but it was he who finally qualified to meet Karapetyan.
There was a feeling in the venue that the final would not go to full time but with just one minute left on the clock, there was a waza-ari apiece, both attacking non-stop. The fact is though that it did go to the final gong and we were invited to enjoy the ballet of these two cats for a little longer. They attacked and defended simultaneously in an incredible battle. It was eventually Gor Karapetyan who scored again to win and to add one more country to the list of nations winning gold medals.
Panagiotis Kyvelidis (GRE) kept the fire going throughout the day. No doubt he lacked a little something to stop him reaching the final. He nevertheless qualified to face Dusan Grahovac (SRB) for the bronze medal. It was a difficult match for Kyvelidis as Grahovac had the full support of the public and it definitely played a role. Under the hurrahs, Grahovac pinned his opponent for ippon and for bronze.
Thomas Puchly (FRA) did not qualify for the final like his teammates from earlier in the competition, but he was nevertheless present for a match for bronze against Igor Tsurkan (UKR). The latter quickly raised his hands in celebration after he obtained the submission with a juji-gatame but the ippon was cancelled since it came from a direct combination of tomoe-nage and juji-gatame, which is not allowed; there must be a separation between the two techniques.
Regardless of the review and change of score, the competitors continued with the same high pace but Tsurkan made a big mistake which Puchly used to pin him down for waza-ari. Ippon would have been nice for the French competitor because that was Tsurkan’s last mistake. He then went on to score a first waza-ari, followed by a second that came just after a ‘mate’ call but he finally concluded with a second waza-ari to assign the match. What a superb contest! The bronze went to Igor Tsurkan for Ukraine.