7 times World and European youth champion, 3rd at the 2017 Europeans
« I like all forms of fighting »
At 22 years old, he is already one of the leading figures of Georgian Judo. U18 and two times U21 World champion, Beka Gviniashvili (-90 kg) is also a four-time European youth champion.
Besides, he also finished twelve times on an IJF World Tour podium, including seven victories. He is even the youngest winner of a Masters, at only 19, the Rabat one in 2015. In 2017, he won the bronze medal at the European championships.
« I cannot say that I am a fan of sports such as basketball. What I love is martial arts. I like all forms of fighting, free wrestling, boxing… I like the real styles of fighting. Mike Tyson is one of my favorite champion. For me, he is the best athlete because he has given everything. I also like extreme sports. I think this is a characteristic of a fighter. Every one knows how to take things to the extreme ».
Beka Gviniashvili is the very archetype of the warrior. Fighting, that’s his thing. Besides Judo, the young Georgian is also a champion of Chidaboa, the old traditional Georgian wrestling style, the onf of the « strong men ». Back in his country, it’s as much considered as shining in international Judo. Beka combines both !
Born on October 25th, 1995 in Gori, in the heart of Georgia, Beka Gviniashvili is the youngest of the « Big Three », these three kids who started Judo together in a small provincial club in the mid 2000’s. The eldest, Lasha Shavdatuashvili, 25 years old today, was Olympic champion in 2012 (-66 kg), the second one, Vazha Margvelashvili, 24 years old, ranked 3rd at the 2017 World championships (-66 kg).
« I have been training with them since I am 10 years old », tells Beka. « We were just regular kids in a town. We started judo at the same time and we challenged each other. I cannot remember if one was regularly beating the others. It was more : one time one, one time the other one. Little by little, slowly, all these challenge made us spent hours and hours in the Dojo. And I remember the three of us used to beat everybody else ».
Beka Gviniashvili has brought this annoying habit out of the Gori tatami. At the end of 2017, he shows an impressive 80% wins rate since he has appeared on the circuit in 2011. His first three international competitions, at only 15 years old, have resulted in three wins : the U18 European Championship, the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) and U18 World Championships (-81 kg) !
He impressed so much the staff of the national team that they decide to send him to the U20 Worlds, which takes place only ten days after his 16th birthday. The young Beka shines again and leaves Cape Twon with a bronze medal around his neck ! The following year, he becomes the U20 European runner-up before changing category to move to the -90 kg division. Great idea !
Beka Gviniashvili the European Junior Championships three years in a row (2013 to 2015) and becomes two times Junior World Champion (2013 and 2015) ! His only loss in a major championship is against the Hungarian Toth in the semi finals of the 2014 Worlds.
In 2015, he achieves the incredible feat of winning the Rabat Masters at only 19, which makes him the youngest winner of the event. That day, he beats his idol, Ilias Iliadis. « With his cousin Zurab Zviadauri, he is my model », smiles Beka. « I like the way they were fighting. But, unfortunately, nowadays, they don’t let us fight that style anymore. I love Iliadis style of Judo. I like how he has dedicated himself to his sport ».
Unfortunately, for his first Olympic Games, Beka Gviniashvili will not be as successfull as his famous elder. Thanks to his wins at the Baku Grand Slam and the Samsun Grand-Prix, he has high hopes of medals in Rio, where he qualified in the U100 kg division. But he losses in the quarter-finals against Frenchman Cyrille Maret and then, against Japanese Haga for the bronze medal.
He bounces back in tha wake by winning the U23 European title, his fourth one, the Grozny Golden League Grozny and the Dusselfdorf Grand-Prix early 2017. At the European championships in Warsaw, Beka Gviniashvili wins a bronze medal in the individual category, only beaten by the running World champion, the Russian Khasan Khalmurzaev. Besides, he wins the teams title with Georgia.
« My favorite technique to win ? Anything from the Georgian style of fighting, the Chidaboa, from the top to the belt grip, Seoi nage, O Goshi… », he smiles. But, in Budapest, at the 2017 Worlds the Georgian fighter wasn’t in a smiling mood. His virile and his old style inspired judo cost him a disqualification in the 8th of finals against the future finalist, the Slovenian Mihail Zgank. « I am trying my best but it is hard to try my best when they don’t let me fight. I don’t know how I would become world champion if they don’t let me fight ! », he was ranting a few hours later. « I did my best. I put everything into the fight. But this is also a lesson for me. I just have to train harder and make sure that such a thing doesn’t happen again in the future ever ». Warrior’s faith ! Since, the adidas team member went up to his 12th IJF World Tour podium (for 7 victories), which was a 2nd place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. And he is only 22 years old…