Kazan, April 21st 2016. Final of the U66 kg European championship. Vazha Margvelashvili, who had formerly beaten the 2012 Olympic champion, Galstyan of Russia, is opposed to the British Oates. For his first Senior Europeans, the Georgian had already pulled a big one.
But it will be during this final that the Georgian fighter is ennobled by his peers. In the fight, he quickly suffers from a wrist injury. The referee comes and asks him if he is able to keep fighting. Vazha Margvelashvili bites the bullet, overcomes his pain and adapts his technique to his handicap. After five long minutes, he finally scores a terrific Haraï Goshi ! He is 22 years old, he is European champion !
Vazha, already silver medallist in the 2012 Junior Europeans, wins in Russia his first international title, and his second Senior tournament, after his winning in the Tbilissi Grand-Prix one month before.
Born to attack on October 3rd 1993, in Gori, he starts Judo when he is 11 in the local club. His budding partners ? His future teammates in the National Team, Beka Gviniashvili, the 2015 Masters winners at only 19 years old, and the 2012 Olympic champion, Lasha Shavdatuashvili, the only Judoka that Vazha says he is « afraid of ».
Unqualified for the Rio’s Games, the Georgian then keeps adding IJF World Tour podiums, ranking 3rd at the Paris Grand Slam in February 2017, and winning the Düsseldorf Grand-Prix in the aftermath. In April, he conquers a 2nd European team title but he loses his individual one.
In August, for his first Senior World championships, Vazha Margvelashvili makes a splash by dominating, in the ¼ finals, Korean An Baul, the 2015 World champion and 2016 silver Olympic medallist. In the ½ final, he loses against the new Japanese Golden nugget, Hifumi Abe, 20 years old, unbeaten since 2015. « I will work harder and harder to beat him, especially my physical condition », said the Georgian in Budapest, after winning the Bronze medal. We don’t doubt the word of the new Adidas team member. A fascinating future is forecast !