The people who filled the Heydar Aliyev Arena, the capital of Azerbaijan, with great hopes left without disappointment.
The official opening of the event was made by the International Judo Federation together with local officials who invited the global judo family to their beautiful country.
Then Yashar Najafov performed in the gold medal contest against Japan’s Takeshi Takeoka. And just 13 seconds later, he gave the ecstatic crowd exactly what they came to see, bringing this massive uchi-mata and the gold to the host nation. The crowd went wild, inspired by this spectacular display of judo.
The medals were presented by Mr. Azer Aliyev, Secretary General of Azerbaijan NOC.
Afterwards, Najafov said, “I wanted to win this medal because I was at home and I did it. Azerbaijani people love judo, everyone was watching.” said.
In the 48 kilo category, the world’s number one, Italian Assunta Scutto, and the favorite of the home team, Leyla Aliyeva, faced each other. Although Aliyeva put up an incredibly tough fight, a little clinical work earned the Italian superstar the gold medal.
After the medals were presented by Ms. Mariana Vasileva, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan, Scutto commented on his victory. “Winning while tired is a great result for me because it means I’m improving and I’m very happy for this gold,” he said.
Two neutral athletes, Gamzat Zairbekov and Ramazan Abdulaev, faced each other in the 60 kg category. After a close final and a waza-ari scoring from the position, they both put on a true display of their judo merits.
Later, International Judo Federation President Lazlo Toth was also present to present the medals.
In the 52 kg category, Japanese Kisumi Omori fought decisively against lightweight Olympic champion Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo in a close fight that continued until extra time, and the tactical victory went to Japan.
IJF Director General Mr. Vlad Marinescu presented the medals.
In the last category of the day, Kosovo’s Nora Gjakova and Georgia’s Eteri Liparteliani met. The Olympic Champion took the victory with waza-ari.
The medals were awarded by IJF Chief Referee Director Florin Daniel Lascau.