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Golden Lasha Bekauri reigns supreme in Tbilisi

Golden Lasha Bekauri reigns supreme in Tbilisi

24 Mar 2024 22:50
Tamara Kulumbegashvili - IJF

Despite everything, the U90kg category at Tbilisi’s Grand Slam was electrified by the presence of the Olympic champion, Lasha Bekauri. His charisma and performance on the tatami captivated the audience, drawing cheers and encouragement with each appearance.

In the final against Eljan Hajiyev of Azerbaijan, the match didn't reach the end of normal time, reflecting the intensity of the encounter. Although not initially considered a medal contender, Hajiyev showcased his prowess, having previously reached the final in Paris. However, it was Bekauri who emerged victorious with a tremendous o-soto-gari, executed with unorthodox gripping but remarkable efficiency. His victory reaffirms his readiness to defend his title in Paris this summer.

Bekauri faced formidable opponents throughout the competition, including Vugar Talibov (AZE), Theodoros Tselidis (GRE), John Jayne (USA), and Alex Cret (ROU), each presenting their own challenges. Notably, Tselidis displayed another strong performance, reinforcing his status as an emerging contender for the summer Olympics.

The bronze medal contests were equally intense. In an all-Korean matchup, Sungho Lee and Juyeop Han battled fiercely, with Han ultimately securing victory in golden score. Meanwhile, Robert Florentino (DOM) faced Tselidis for the second bronze medal. Although Florentino dominated the match, Tselidis showcased his resilience, scoring a waza-ari with a low seoi-otishi inspired by Sagi Muki, securing his second consecutive medal.

Overall, Bekauri's presence brought excitement and joy to the audience in Tbilisi, making the Grand Slam a memorable event for all spectators.

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