Inside news
Matniyazova brings Uzbekistan joy while Arai takes gold
Matniyazova brings Uzbekistan joy while Arai takes gold
6 Mar 2021 18:10
IJF Media Department
IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

Not a surprise that Arai Chizuru of Japan came out as the winner U70kg for women at day two of the Grand Slam in Tashkent. The double World Champion and 21 time World Judo Tour medallist and top seed was focused. Arai confirmed that she was among the strongest of the category by entering the final against Barbara Matic of Croatia, already the winner of Grand Slam Hungary in October, that marked the comeback of the World Judo Tour after the Covid-19 outbreak.

The gold medal went to Arai Chizuru with a victory by waza-ari in her final against Matic.

Arai Chizuru didn't have an easy day. In the quarter-final we watched her in a match against the Hungarian judoka, Gercsak, another conclusion to a contest that froze the venue. After the standard 4 minutes they added almost 8 minutes of golden score! That is quite impressive, physically and mentally. Gercsak was resisting, producing good judo, taking initiative with attacks, with her left o-goshi,  but we noticed at the end of the match that she was the more tired of the two and Arai took advantage of that. In total, from the first rei to the last, the duration was 19:34. This was a high quality contest and worth every minute of our time.

It was not to be this time, for Elvismar Rodriguez. Despite several medals won on the circuit, she missed out on the final and once again competed for a bronze medal, against Ellen Santana (BRA), bronze medal winner in Düsseldorf in 2019. After almost one minute of golden score, Rodriguez scored a waza-ari with an o-soto-gari, to win the first bronze medal of the category.

Never a medallist at a Grand Slam, Anka Pogacnik (SLO) was opposed to the local Gulnoza Matniyazova (UZB), who represents the future of Uzbek judo focusing on building a women’s team. It was the Slovenian who actually concluded the match within a few seconds with a massive hip-movement for a clear ippon.