Tornois de Paris Judo Championships
PARIS, FRANCE 10-11
out our Paris 2001 photo gallery »
By: Nicola Fairbrother
1 (10 Feb, 2001), Day 2
Parade of Champions
its 30th anniversary, this year's Tornois de Paris kicked off in
style. As well as the spectacular judo and the electric atmosphere
from the partisan crowd that packed the Parc de Bercy stadium, the
French did something rather special this year. Just before the medal
ceremony, the stadium lights dimmed and the crowd were treated to
a parade of champions, with all the French winners of the Tornois
de Paris being brought onto the tatami.
With David Douillet on the microphone introducing each great past
champion, it was like stepping back through the judo history books
legendary names like Jean Luc Rouge, Michel Nowak and Angelo Parisi
(to name but a few) stepped onto the mat to take the applause and
a live screen played back the winning moments.
The French certainly know how to put on a good show. As French Federation
Director, Jean Luc Rouge put it: "We aim for this tournament
to be a like a mini-worlds and that the competitors have the best
possible conditions to compete in."
And this effort was reflected by some fantastic judo in the lighter
weight divisions on Saturday February 10 - the first day of action.
Kazuhiko Tokuno (JPN) looked from the start that he was on track
for the gold and he didn't disappoint. His judo sparkled from his
first ippon against Stegmuller (AUT) as he used his lightening fast
tomoenage and didn't pale as he strode past Rasulov (UZB) and then
Despezelle (FRA). Even the stylish Belgian Cedric Taymans could
not contain the compact fighter who slipped under the Belgian's
grips to score yuko with ippon-seionage and then three minutes later
took his place in the final with another resounding ippon-seoinage,
this time scoring ippon.
French man Cyril Soyer emerged from the top half of the draw as
wins against Boonen (BEL), Ridnyl (RUS), Ahmidi (MOR) and then his
team mate, Yacine Doumar earnt him a chance for the gold medal,
a chance to take part in any future 'champion parades,' the French
But, Tokuno was just too good. Fast from his low lapel grip Tokuno
unsettled Soya until he finally clocked in his ippon seoinage -
the spectacular technique earning the applause of even the most
partisan of the French supporters as he whipped Soya onto his back.
Bronzes went to Roberto Cuerto who edged Taymans out on a split
decision and Doumar who beat Chambilly.
1 - Kazuhiko Tokuno (JPN)
2 - Cyril Soya (FRA)
3 - Roberto Cueto (ESP)
3- Yacine Doumar (FRA)
Favourite for the title was the Olympic Silver Medallist, Larbi
Benboudaoud lived dangerously through the early rounds. Very nearly
thrown for ippon in his first match by Ismailov, Benboudaoud managed
to make it to the semi-final slipping past Yukimasa Nakamura on
the closest of decisions before Islam Matsiev (RUS) stopped him.
Ironically, it was the fight in which Benboudaoud looked to be the
most secure. His style - always offensive, looking for the big throw
- is what makes him good to watch, it's what has brought him his
big wins too like the world gold in 1999 - but at the same time
is what often costs him fights. Matsiev saw his opportunity and
in the last 17 seconds of the semifinal, several scores down, threw
Benboudaoud for waza-ari.
Matsiev went on to beat France's Benjam Darbelet in the final throwing
for waza -ari with his typical kata-guruma before Darbelet received
keikoku for passivity.
Bronzes went to the Portugese, Joao Pina as the referees penalised
both fighters to keikoku then tipped the balance, disqualifying
Yukimasa Nakamura as his big toe scraped outside the area. While
Benboudaoud should be somewhat consoled by winning the other bronze.
1. Islam Matsiev (RUS)
2. Benjam Darbelet (FRA)
3. Joao Pina (POR)
4. Larbi Benboudaoud (FRA)
As three French men made the semi-finals, a home victory began to
look on the cards at the weight division. And in the end it came
with Daniel Fernandes beating Yong Shin Choi in a nail biting final.
With 15 seconds left in the tight match and both men on a shido,
the referees awarded Fernandes a chui. But Fernandes kept pushing
and as the bell sounded the referees gave Choi a chui and then all
three awarded the Frenchman the decision.
Bronzes went to Shturbabin (UZB) as Christian Gagliono pulled out
of the bronze medal match injured and to Christophe Masina who beat
double Tornois de Paris gold medallist, Ferrid Kheder in a cagey
battle determined by penalities.
1. Daniel Fernandes (FRA)
2. Yong Shin Choi (KOR)
3. A. Shturbabine (UZB)
4. Christophe Masina (FRA)
This weight division came alight as big names clashed from the off.
In the first round, Kenzo Nakamura (1996 Olympic Champion) met and
beat the current world champion, Graeme Randall. Notably the champions
overflowed even from the fighting area with the two coaches of the
Nakamura-Randall match being the 1991 World Champion Hirotaka Okada
and 1996 Olympic Champion Udo Quellmalz.
Indeed in many matches it was almost as intriguing to watch the
coach with now so many past champions turning their hand to coaching
National teams (amongst the illustrious group, Diane Bell, Cecile
Nowak, Toshhiko Koga, Stephane Traineau
Nakamura didn't look back after beating the Scotsman, with a victory
over another big name, Djamel Bouras (1996 Olympic Champion) taking
him into the final.
In perhaps the best final of the evening Nakamura threw Korean In-Chul
Cho (Olympic silver medallist) for ippon in just 25 seconds with
Bouras stormed back to throw Turaev (UZB) for ippon with his trademark
harai-goshi from the belt and Randall recovered from his earlier
loss to take the other bronze.
The French tradition of producing strong 48 kilogram fighters continued
with Sarah Nichello-Rosso winning the host countries first title
of the day. Nichello-Rosso had thrown Laura Moise of Romania and
Chiho Hamano of Japan to make the final. While a new Cuban fighter
in the form of Daniesk Carrion had made her first final much to
the delight of Cuban Coach, Ronaldo Vietia from the other half of
the draw. However, the final was controlled from the start by Nichello-Rosso
who won her second title with an uchimata scoring yuko. Bronzes
went to Alina Dimitriu who countered Alicia Diaz's (ESP) seoinage
with a powerful uranage for ippon and to Japan's Chiho Hamon.
Without the presence of any of the 52kgs Olympic medallists, Verdecia,
Narasaki Liu or Kye - the 52kg was left wide open but there was
still a host of quality fighters ready to take up the crown. The
result was some startling judo.
In the first round, Inge Clement (BEL) threw Laetitia Tignola for
ippon with uchimata - but then in turn found herself on the receiving
end of two throws from Germany's Raffae Imbriani. The former European
Champion first threw Clements forward with ogoshi before using her
trademark uranage to make the final.
On the other side, Barbara Bukokska (POL) ended Marie Claire Retoux-Gasset's
hopes for a gold in her home tournament as she firmly placed the
former Olympic,World and European Champion on her back with ouchigari.
But the Pole went no further and in the end from the bottom half
it was Cuba to make its second final of the day with another new
face as Zaisma Calderon leg grabbed Mirren Leon (ESP) for ippon.
The good judo continued into the final as Imbriani launched Calderon
backwards with a uranage for an undeniable ippon and the title.
With a whole new Cuban women's team entered, the talk was from the
beginning of the day to watch, the new 57kg fighter, Yurisle Lupety.
Something that had been reenforced as the Cuban Coach Ronaldo Veitia
said that "She is better than Gonzales in all our physical
testing" Indeed the young Lupety looked the part as she beat
Belgium's Marisabel Lomba and then an even bigger upset as she took
the scalp of Olympic Champion, Isabel Fernandez. But Micha Vernerova's
footsweep in the semi suggested Lupety still has a few years to
wait before she takes on her team mates illustrious crown. Olympic
bronze medallist, Kie Kusakabe won the gold medal throwing the Czeck
for ippon. Leaving Fernandez and Lupety to settle for the bronzes.