IJF Media Department
IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation
Belgian lightweight Jorre Verstraeten rules the men’s U60kg category at the Grand Slam of Antalya. During the entire elimination phase, Walide Khyar did not acknowledge those trends and conscientiously, without making a major mistake, qualified for the final, a performance that reminds us of his route to the final in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
It has been a long time since we have seen the French at this level. Behind the performances of King Teddy Riner and the French women’s team, the men are struggling to find their mark on the international tatami, while in the opinion of all, French judo remains a benchmark.
In front of him, the Belgian, Jorre Verstraeten had a very good run in the second half of the draw to reach the final as well.
Walide Khyar was announced slightly injured entering the final, but he remained optimistic after a very good start to the day. It was Verstraeten who showed great realism by engaging a powerful o-uchi-gari which he turned into an acrobatic uchi-mata for an ippon without discussion and a first gold medal in a grand slam.
Third in the World Judo Masters in Doha last January, Albert Oguzov (RUS) continues his good momentum, which once again allows him to qualify for the final block. In the match for the bronze medal he was opposed to Yang Yung Wei (TPE), finalist of the same World Masters just a few months ago. Combining a clean morote-seoi-nage for waza-ari with a sankaku-jime into a hold down, Yang concluded his day with that bronze.
Following in Khyar’s footsteps, the second Frenchman in the category, Romaric Wend-Yam Bouda, also qualified for a medal contest, against Salih Yildiz (TUR), who was supported by a whole country. It was the French athlete who won the medal, his first in a grand slam, after scoring a waza-ari with an opportunist’s counterattack, turned into a o-uchi-gari.
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