Judo Grand Prix: Uzbekistan celebrates after topping gold medal table, while Azerbaijan wins most podium places

Nafisa Sheripboeva, second left, added a gold medal to bring Uzbekistan’s gold medal score to four. Other medallist in the -63kg category are, from left: OlgaPozdnysheva, silver (Russia), Khanim Huseynova, bronze (Azerbaijan) and Yue Wang, bronze (China)

The Uzbekistan Para-judo team finished their IBSA Judo Grand Prix campaign with four gold medals to claim their place at the top of the medal table.

Gold medals by Feruz Sayidov (-73kg) and Davurkhon Karomotov (-81) on the first day of the competition in Baku, followed by gold for teammates Shirin Sharipov (+100) and Nafisa Sheripboeva (-63kg) on the second secured Uzbekistan’s reputation as a driving force in world Para-judo.

Azerbaijan scored three gold medals, placing them in second position. Vugar Shirinli won the first gold medal for the host country in the -60kg category, followed by two golds from Shahana Hajiyeva (-48kg) and Sevda Valiyeva (-57kg).

Overall Azerbaijan took 14 podium places, winning more medals than any of the 35 countries competing at the Grand Prix. Against Azerbaijan’s three gold, four silver and four bronze, Uzbekistan scored four bronze medals in addition to four gold.

Ukraine was the only other country to score victories across all medal positions with one gold, one silver and two bronze.

Eight countries succeeded in hearing their national anthem played at the Heydar Aliyev Arena. Iran, Georgia, Mexico, Great Britain and Italy all took home one gold medal, in addition to those of Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

Italy’s Carolina Costa punches the air after her gold medal victory against Hongyu Wang of China

At least one medal was won by 20 national teams competing at the Grand Prix.

Ukraine’s Inna Cherniak (-57kg) and Mexico’s Lenia Fabiola Ruvalcaba Alvarez (+70 kg) were the only two Paralympic champions to win a gold medal in Baku.

The IBSA Judo Grand Prix was an important stepping stone to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. License points were awarded for the top seven judokas in each category, with 32 countries out of 35 gaining licence points from at least one athlete.

Azerbaijan’s Para-judo team can be proud of their medal performance in front of home fans, and well satisfied that more of their judokas picked up licence points for Tokyo than any other country. At the 2019 IBSA Judo Grand Prix, 17 Azerbaijan judokas earned licence points towards qualification for Tokyo.

Vugar Shirinli, white, set Azerbaijan on the medal trail with a win over Romania’s Florin Bologa to win gold in -60kg category

2019 IBSA Judo Grand Prix medal table

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