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Lukas Krpalek of the Czech Republic (white) reacts as he defeats Elkhan Mammadov of Azerbaijan (blue) in the Men's Judo -100kg round of 16 contest during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games…
Georgia, Germany and the Netherlands take charge

A large crowd turned up to cheer on two of the host country’s top Judo stars in the men’s -100kg on Saturday, but they were silenced when both men were eliminated within three minutes of each other on separate mats in the early rounds.

First to tumble was the world no.5 Elkhan Mammadov, at the hands of world no.1 Lukas Krpalek of the Czech Republic. It was an all-action contest which Krpalek, who looks a strong favourite for gold, won with a spectacular ippon.

If that bout went to form, the one that had just started on mat certainly 3 did not. Azerbaijan hero Elmar Gasimov, ranked no.2 in the world, was expected to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw and was roared onto the mat by a noisy crowd, only to lose by ippon to Portugal’s Jorge Fonseca. 

The Portuguese, ranked 28, went all the way to the semi-finals before he lost to two-time Olympic bronze medallist Henk Grol of the Netherlands, and will fight for a bronze on Saturday night.

There was an even bigger surprise in the men’s +100kg when Or Sasson, an outsider from Israel, defeated higher-ranked opponents from the Netherlands and Russia to reach the final. He is ranked 34, while his rival for the gold, Georgia’s Adam Okruashvili, is no.2.

Georgia have one other finalist, Varlam Liparteliani, in the men’s -90kg. Germany, who won five medals on Friday, and Netherlands also have two chances of gold. All three countries are involved in the bronze matches on Saturday night.

The judo finishes on Sunday, the final day of the European Games, with the team events.


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    Getting to know... Judo

    The Baku 2015 Judo competition will encompass 18 medal events over four days
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