French team claim three gold on last day as IJF Doha Masters 2021 successfully concludes
The International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Masters Doha 2021 came to a successful conclusion on Wednesday at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall in Lusail with events held in three categories for men, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg, and two for women, -78kg and +78 kg.
After claiming three of the five gold medals up for grabs, the French delegations were at their best on the final day.
Ten-time world champion and double Olympic gold medalist Teddy Riner announced his comeback with a gold medal finish in the +100kg category. In a similar vein, his fellow French compatriots dominated the women's event with Madeleine Malonga (-78kg) and Romane Dicko (+ 78kg) ending as champions.
At the end of the three-day tournament which started on Monday, France topped the medals table with five gold, one silver and one bronze, while South Korea emerged second with three gold without any silver nor bronze. Japan came third with two gold, five silver and no bronze.
In all, 33 of the 69 participating countries made it to the podium of the 200,000 Euros total prize money Tokyo Games qualifying event.
In attendance on Wednesday were Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, who also crowned the winners, President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) HE Sheikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah, President of the Qatar Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation (QTSBF) and PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi, IJF President Marius Vizer, Asian Judo Union President Obaid Al Anzi, and Qatar Taekwondo, Judo and Karate Federation (QTJKF) President Khalid bin Hamad Al Attiyah.
OCA President HE Sheikh Al Sabah said, "We are very pleased to come back to Doha, the capital of sports in the Asian continent. Doha is a city that we highly appreciate its effort for hosting a number of prominent sport events over short period of time recently. This World Judo Masters Doha 2021 has received global applause from all observers, leaders and sport lovers despite the Covid 19 pandemic."
Sheikh Sabah also congratulated HE President of the QOC Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the IJF president of Asian Judo Union Obaid Al Anzi on the success of the event.
For his part, QTJKF president Al Attiyah said, "I would like to thank HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani for attending the tournament. I would like also thank HE Ahmed Al Fahad and the IJF President for this outstanding organization."
Speaking about the tournament, Vizer, the IJF president, said, "The Doha World Judo Masters is a great success from all points of view. We have great champions and fantastic organization, despite the global health situation. The organizing committee did everything possible to make the event a success."
"I want to thank the authorities of Qatar and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, as well as the Qatar Olympic Committee and its President, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani.
We must also recognize the outstanding efforts of the Qatar Judo Federation President Khalid Hamad Al Attiyah and his team, who did a fantastic job," he added.
The IJF president said everyone is proud of what was done in Doha.
"We had the best of the best athletes in the world present. We congratulate all the participants and especially all the winners. In 2023, we'll be back in Doha for our World Championships, our organization's flagship event. We are all looking forward to it," Vizer said.
In his semi-final match, Riner dominated the Ukrainian Iakiv Khammo in just over a minute thanks to a waza-ari. Pitted against the 22-year-old world No. 3 Inal Tasoev of Russia in the final, the 31-year-old won on penalties to announce his comeback just over a year after he suffered a third-round defeat in the hands of world No. 10 Kokoro Kageura of Japan.
"I'm thrilled to win in Doha and to also qualify for the Tokyo Games which is probably going to be my last. I expect the competition in Tokyo to be tough, but I am looking forward to an excellent outing. The tournament here in Doha has been very impressive, and I must commend the organizers for putting up such a great tournament," Riner said.
Meanwhile, Netherland's Noël van 't end won gold in the under 90 kg category of the men's event by defeating Georgian Beka Gviniashvili in the final.
The reigning world champion van 't End placed a waza-ari in just under two minutes, and in the final phase, he pulled the match against Gviniashvili with an arm clamp. En route the finals, van 't end had already dealt with Piotr Kuczera, Altanbagana Gantulga from Mongolia and Russian Mikhail Igolnikov.
In the other encounters, Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, bested Azerbaijan's Zelym Kotsoiev to claim the champion's medal in the -100kg class. Bronze went the way of Russia's Arman Adamian and Peter Paltchik of Israel.
In the women's event, the French ladies were in dominant form as they claimed the two gold available on the day.
Malonga, the reigning world champion and world No. 1 in -78 kg, confirmed her status as the numero uno of the category by winning the Masters for the first time in Doha. Her compatriot, Dicko, also built on her success at the last European Championships in 2020 by dominating Azerbaijani Iryna Kindzerska on an ippon, after a perfect immobilization in the ground, to emerge champion in the +78 kg class.
The 27-year-old Malonga defeated by waza-ari the world No. 2 Shori Hamada of Japan. Impactful as throughout her day of competition, she quickly took the advantage by knocking down Hamada in less than thirty seconds. But she then had to fight with all her might to resist a lengthy attack on the ground from her Japanese opponent.
Previously, Malonga had been particularly expeditious during her first three fights: she never spent more than two minutes on the Qatari carpets.
Now the reigning world and European champion, and victorious in the prestigious Masters, Malonga seems to have taken the advantage in the three-way match in which she is engaged with Fanny-Estelle Posvite and Audrey Tcheuméo, in the race for the Tokyo Games.
Dicko's win will enable her to climb a few notches in the world hierarchy, where she is only 18th at the moment.
About 400 athletes, including 215 men and 184 women from 69 countries representing five continental federations, participated in the event. Winners of each category are awarded 1,800 points in the World Ranking List.
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