Belgium’s Toma Nikiforov (-100 kg) gets his second podium in 2019 with a bronze medal at the Antalya Grand-Prix (April 5-7). Russian Olympic champion Khasan Khalmurzaev won his 1st medal in a year with a 3rd place in -81 kg. The -73 kg World champion, Korea’s Changrim An, wakes up a few months of the Worlds in Japan and won his first tournament since the World championships in Baku.
By Ludovic Mauchien
If we do not make up for lost time, we can make sure we do not lose more. This is the logic of Toma Nikiforov. Since his comeback on the mats after long months of injury, the Belgian of Bulgarian origin does not give much to his opponents. 2nd in Marrakech at the beginning of March, he won another medal at the Antalya Grand-Prix (April 5-7).
Beaten in the semi-final by Brazil’s Buzacarini (3rd shido in the Golden score), he then went to get the bronze against another Brazilian, Leonardo Goncalves (Seoi Nage and O Soto Makikomi).
In -81 kg, the Olympic champion, Khasan Khalmurzaev, regains vitality by climbing his 1st podium since the Hohhot Grand-Prix in May 2018. Surprised by Georgia’s Maisuradze in the semi-final (waza), he left no chance to the young Turkish (18 years old), Muhammed Koc, to win the bronze medal (waza on Ko Uchi Gake).
Let’s note the victory, in 73 kg, of the reigning World champion. Korea’s Changrim An, who was playing his first tournament since the World championships in Baku, was untouchable in Antalya. Winner of France’s Guillaume Chaine in the semi-final (Ippon thanks to Harai Goshi and then Tai Otoshi 14 seconds from the end), he dominated his eternal rival in the final, Azerbaijan’s Orujov (waza thanks to Ashi Waza). The Korean began his rise to power a few months of the defense of his title in Japan (August 25-31).