Judo: Azeris in gold-medal judo bonanza

14 May 2017

Azerbaijan's judokas capped off an extraordinary day with six of the nine gold medals on offer on Saturday on the first day of judo competition at the Islamic Solidarity Games. 

Bazarragchaa Erdenebat (women's 48kg category) and Orkhan Safarov (men's 60kg) sealed gold medals for Azerbaijan in the opening two judo contests at Baku's Heydar Aliyev Arena and the sparse but vibrant crowd were treated to many more as the evening session wore on.

Bazarragchaa beat compatriot Aisha Gurbanli in the women's 48kg gold-medal bout with the latter taking silver in an Azeri one-two.

In a tight contest which went the four-minute distance, 21-year-old Bazarragchaa outscored her compatriot with one waza-ari to secure the first-ever judo gold medal at an Islamic Solidarity Games.

Morocco's Wafae Idrissi Chorfi clinched bronze by Ippon against Aiah Kitaneh of Jordan.

Orkhan Safarov battled to a thrilling victory against Turkey's Bekir Ozlir in the men's 66kg gold-medal contest to secure Azerbaijan's second gold.

The 2015 European Games silver medallist was behind with Ozlir having just seconds to hold out, but Safarov delighted the crowd with back-to-back waza-aris to win at the end of four-minute regulation, with a visibly distraught Ozlir having to settle for silver.

Olympic bronze medallist Diyorbek Urozboev added another bronze to his collection after defeating Morocco's Yassine Moudatir by Golden Score - the Uzbek adding to his silver from the Asian Championships last year.

Otar Bestaev of Kyrgyzstan took the other bronze by beating Kazakh Bauyrzhan Zhauyntayev.

Nijat Shikhalizada secured gold number three for the hosts with a stunning Ippon win after just 46 seconds against Algeria's Houd Zourdani, who took silver.

The bronzes went to Turkey's Sinan Sandal and Iran's 2016 Asian Championships silver medallist Alireza Khojasteh.

European men's 73kg champion Hidayat Heydarov beat 2016 Olympic silver medallist Rustam Orujov in a bruising all-Azeri battle for the hosts' fourth judo gold of the day.

Heydarov won by Ippon against Orujov who was widely tipped as favourite, but the latter had to settle for silver, while the bronzes went to Algeria's Oussama Djeddi and Bektur Rysmambetov of Kyrgyzstan.

The hosts were guaranteed golds in the blind judo women's events with two all-Azeri gold-medal bouts.

Afag Sultanova was behind in the women's blind 57kg category finale, but she pinned down compatriot Sevda Valiyeva with just 45 seconds remaining as the latter had to settle for silver.

Ramila Kashtayeva got the better of her countrywoman Turana Aghayeva by Ippon with under a minute gone in their blind 70kg category gold-medal contest - another Azeri one-two with the hosts accumulating 13 medals on day one of the judo at a jubilant Heydar Aliyev Arena.

Turkey also performed admirably with two golds in the evening session.

Irem Korkmaz silenced the home crowd with victory in regulation against Azeri hopeful Nazakat Azizova in the women's 52kg category.

It was also gold for the Turks in the women's 63kg contest with Busra Katipoglu winning by Ippon against Azerbaijan's Khanim Huseynova. Turkey ended the day with six judoka medals.

Algeria got in on the gold-medal act thanks to Ratiba Tariket's win over Azerbaijan's Kifayet Gasimova in the women's 57kg event.

Day two of the judo on Sunday features eleven gold-medal bouts.

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