GB Judo enjoyed a successful day at the 2017 Tashkent IBSA Judo World Cup on Monday 9 October winning four medals, including gold for Sam Ingram.
In the final world-ranking event of 2017 for VI judoka, GB Judo were looking to back-up a solid showing at the IBSA European Championships in August.
The five-strong team included the returning three-time Paralympian Sam Ingram who had last fought at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where he finished fifth.
Ingram was fighting up a weight at -100kg, the first time he’d fought in that category since 2011 and he made a good start in the first round. He saw off the challenge of Terumasa Uchiyama (JPN) inside the opening minute as he took advantage of a weak attack to win by ippon.
He followed that up in the quarter-final against European bronze medallist Oliver Upmann as he threw the German for ippon with little over 30 seconds gone in the contest.
Two-time and current Paralympic champion Gwang Geun Choi (KOR) was next up in the semi-final. The Korean judoka made the early running as his high attack rate put Ingram under the pressure and resulted in a shido against the British judoka for passivity.
Ingram responded well as he went on the attack and came close to scoring on a number of occasions. Eventually the number of attacks told as Choi received three shidos to lose the contest and move Ingram into the final.
There he was joined by recently crowned European champion Chris Skelley. After receiving a bye into the second round, Skelley took on home judoka Sulaymon Alaev (UZB).
In a tactical contest Skelley controlled the gripping and was more active throughout as he forced Alaev to pick up three shidos inside normal time to progress.
In the semi-final with Ricky Ties (USA), Skelley was once again too good as he showed how dangerous he can be in newaza as he applied an armlock and forced the American to tap out.
The final between the two GB teammates was a tactical but exciting affair with Ingram looking more dangerous in tachiwaza while Skelley coming close in newaza on a few occasions.
The contest went into golden score and followed a similar pattern with Skelley looking to be more positive having picked up a shido in normal time. Eventually Ingram took advantage as he threw Skelley for waza-ari to take the win and the gold medal.
Jack Hodgson impressed at +100kg as he picked up silver. In his semi-final against former Paralympic champion Masaki Kento (JPN), the Gainsborough showed great maturity to stick to the fight plan as he moved the bigger Japanese judoka around the mat.
Hodgson had lost to Kento on the two occasions they’d fought but this time he took the win as he followed up a lovely drop seoi-nage with strong osaekomi to take the win.
In the final against Mohammadreza Kheirollahzadeh (IRI) Hodgson once again looked good from the start as he showed good movement and variation to almost score on the Iranian during the first two minutes.
Eventually Kheirollahzadeh was able to get an attack in which almost brought a score for the Iranian. He followed that up in the next exchange to throw Hodgson for waza-ari before going straight into the hold down to finish the contest.
Elliot Stewart had performed well on his VI judo debut at the IBSA European Championships in Walsall.
He followed that up with another display of good all-round judo at -90kg. He was too good for the experienced Yusuke Hatsuse (JPN) throwing him for waza-ari before securing the hold down to finish the contest.
London 2012 bronze medallist Vladimir Fedin (RUS) was next up in the quarter-finals and it was a pretty even contest throughout. However, Stewart had forced Fedin to pick up two shidos going into the final minute meaning a third would win him the contest.
Fedin responded with a good attack which was given waza-ari by the referee. Stewart wasn’t able to get the score back and dropped into the repechage.
In the repechage final Italy’s Valerio Romano Tedorio was very active and looked to move Stewart around. The British judoka wasn’t particular troubled as he countered Tedorio for waza-ari before finishing the contest as he threw the Italian for ippon.
His bronze medal match against World No.7 Arthur Cavalcante Da Silva (BRA) did not make it through the opening minute as a lovely uchi-mata for ippon from the Midlands judoka gave him the win and his first international VI judo medal.
-73kg judoka Evan Molloy was also in action as he lost in his first contest to Denis Rosa (BRA).
Speaking afterwards, EPC – Paralympic Programme Ian Johns said:
“I’m very happy with the performance of the squad. It was very pleasing to see the team taking medals at such a quality event.
“With so many Paralympic medallists in the event the quality was out of this world. To have four of our five athletes on the rostrum was a great return.
“It was fantastic to hear the national anthem and hopefully we will hear it again many more times in this cycle.”