• Career best for France and the Netherlands

    On the last day of the last competition of the year, our woman of the day was France’s Fanny Estelle Posvite. New to the -78kg category as of March this year, Posvite sealed her first Master’s title by defeating former world champion and double Olympic Medallist, her teammate and rival Audrey Tcheumeo.

    At +100kg, World and Olympic Medallist Harasawa Hisayoshi took gold. He was denied a chance of a rematch but still stood atop the podium.

    He was awarded his medal by Mr. Vladimir Barta, Head Sport Director for the International Judo Federation.

    After a fantastic day of defeating some of judo’s biggest stars, 2019 World Bronze Medallist and man of the day Michael Korrel produced an incredible performance. In the semi-final, Korrel stunned fans of judo all over the world as he sent Liparteliani of Georgia flying with this enormous uchi-mata. But his momentum did not stop there.

    In the final, he faced former world champion Aaron Wolf and devastated him with an effective drop seoi nage in Golden Score. He was absolutely thrilled to become World Masters Champion, ending what is surely the best year of his career.

    He was awarded his medal by Dr. Lisa Allan, Competition Manager for the International Judo Federation.

    Korrel said:

    “Me and my coach Benito Maij talked about it. We go every match, we start from zero. And every time again. And I fight all of those guys already before.

    “Liparteliani is a hero in sport, he is one of the biggest opponents I need to fight, and winning like this is an amazing feeling.

    “I really had the confidence and the energy to win today and I did it.”

    World Number 2 Tessie Savelkouls took the second gold for the Netherlands today, following in the footsteps of her compatriot, she scored with a dropping technique in golden score. She beat Azerbaijan’s Iryna Kindzerska with a rolling Seoi-nage for Waza-ari

    She was awarded her medal by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Mr. Neil Adams.

    A surprise came from Junior World Champion Lasha Bekauri of Georgia, who defeated the world number one Nikoloz Sherazadishvili in the -90kg final. A massive result for the young Georgian.

    Our move of the day came from the Silver medalist at -100kg, Aaron Wolf. A textbook Uchi-mata against World Medallist Karl-Richard Frey of Germany set him on his journey to his podium spot.

    A fantastic end to a fantastic year of judo.

  • World Judo Masters day two: a good day for the Netherlands

    Day two of the World Judo Masters in Qingdao saw the youth of China excited to witness the very best in the world battling it out for Masters glory.

    The Netherland’s Kim Polling was on form all day, blasting her way to the -70kg final.

    Coming into this event off the back of two consecutive Grand Slam finals, the three-time Masters champion was delighted to make it four, by defeating team mate Sanne Van Dijke.

    After scoring Waza-ari once, she kept pushing to score again and claim victory. All smiles for Polling after an all-out attacking final.

    “I like to attack and it’s also my problem,” explained Polling. “Because sometimes, you also don’t need to attack. I mean some judoka are really good at it, and I am not at all, and sometimes I would waste it, I would be a bit more able to not attack, because sometimes it’s good not to attack.”

    In the other women’s weight, Nabekura Nami of Japan shocked the judo world by defeating four-time World Champion Clarisse Agbegnenou after a tough contest that went deep into golden score.

    A big moment for Nabekura, stepping up and perhaps claiming the number one spot in Japan.

    She was awarded her medal by Mr Cui Gang, Chairman of Taishan Sports Equipment Co. Ltd.

    Our man of the day was the young Belgian World Silver Medallist Matthias Casse.

    After a day of epic contests, grinding his way past one fantastic opponent after another, he ended the year taking the coveted Masters title, after a rematch of the World Final against Sagi Muki wasn’t to be.

    He was awarded his medal by Mr Giuseppe Maddaloni, Refereeing Supervisor of the International Judo Federation.

    “So my three major competitions this year,” said Casse. “I did really well, so the European title, second at the Worlds and then here, the World Masters, so it’s an amazing year, I couldn’t have dreamt about it in the beginning of the year. But I’m really glad that my training is paying off and I’m looking forward to 2020”

    Former World Champion Hashimoto Soichi took Gold at -73kg.

    The explosive Japanese judoka was on form all day, this Ippon his highlight of his route to the finals – he thoroughly deserved his top spot on the podium in China.

    Our move of the day was by the eventual Silver Medallist of the -70kg category, Sanne Van Dijke.

    Taking on double World Medallist Bernabeu of Spain, she launched her for an emphatic Ippon.

    Fantastic Judo on day two of the World Judo Masters.

  • US World Cup hero Rapinoe favourite to pick up Ballon d’Or 2019

    Megan Rapinoe looks set to be awarded the Ballon d’Or, after her heroics helped the United States to World Cup glory this summer.

    Having already picked up the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in September, the 34-year-old forward is the favourite to win what will be only the second ever women’s Ballon d’Or, after the women’s award was launched last year.

    The award recognises the best player in the world for that year.

    The Reign FC forward scored six goals in the World Cup and earned both the Golden Boot as the top scorer and the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

    Ada Hegerberg was the first ever woman to be awarded a Ballon d’Or, when she picked up the gong in 2018.

    There was some controversy as the Lyon and Norway forward collected her award, when the host asked her on stage if she knew “how to twerk” – a comment perceived by many as sexist.

    In the men’s category, Lionel Messi is odds-on favourite to win a record sixth Ballon d’Or.

    The Ballon d’Or has been awarded five times apiece to two footballing titans of their generation – Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The latter, while nominated for this year’s award, hasn’t had the same impact in 2019 as his Argentinian rival.

    Messi, who last won the award in 2015, has already scored 11 goals and provided eight assists in just 14 games so far this season, while in the 18-19 season he scored a stunning 51 goals in 50 games.

    SkyBet puts Messi as clear favourite to win the award at the glitzy ceremony in Paris tonight, with odds of 1/33. He is followed by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk at 8/1, and then by Ronaldo at 20/1.

    Last year, Real Madrid’s Luka Modric won, marking the first time in 10 years that neither Messi nor Ronaldo were named the world’s best player. It also marked the recognition of a player whose primary purpose isn’t to score goals. After helping Liverpool to become champions of Europe and propelling them to the top of the Premier League this season, van Dijk will be hoping to cause an upset and become the first defender to win the award since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

    In fact, Liverpool’s domination of Europe is reflected in the shortlist for the award – the Reds have six other players alongside van Dijk.

  • Sone Akira seals Tokyo 2020 spot with Osaka Grand Slam win

    Excitement at the Osaka Grand Slam on its third and final day.

    Georgian powerhouse Beka Gviniashvili was Man of the Day, after a thrilling contest against Uzbekistan’s Davlat Bobonov. The Uzbek pulled ahead, scoring waza-ari, but Gviniashvili evened up. The drama continued, with Bobonov thinking he had scored again, but the Georgian kept his head, and mustered the energy for an emphatic i ppon, winning him his first Grand Slam since 2016.

    Gviniashvili received his medal from Mr Armen Bagdasarov, Sport Director of the International Judo Federation.

    “Of course I’m happy because this is the first time I’ve won a Grand Slam in Japan,” Gviniashvili said after the match. “This is a major event and a very difficult tournament for me. I lost at the Tokyo World Championships, so I wanted to make a comeback. I’m very happy because I did it, the final result is excellent, I am Osaka Grand Slam Champion”

    Sone wins gold – and a spot for Tokyo 2020

    Japan’s Akira Sone sealed her spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a win against Idalys Ortiz of Cuba in the +78kg final. The reigning World Champion defeated the former Olympic Champion with an attack deep into Golden Score.

    Ouchi Gari, an inner reaping technique, classical Judo, and winning her a place at the Tokyo Olympics.

    Mr. Sato Nobuyuki, honorary member of the IJF awarded Sone her medal.

    “Ortiz is a very very strong Judoka,” Sone said, “I just made sure that I always took the lead, I was always a step forward. I wanted to do an attack, and I made sure that I was able to do it, and so I was able to win.”

    Moment of Sportsmanship

    At -100kg former World Champion Ryunosuke Haga was here to prove a point, and that he did, against one of the toughest fighters in the category – a spectacular uchi-mata scored waza-ari before a beautiful moment of sportsmanship with Olympic Silver Medallist Elmar Gasimov, as Gasimov congratulated his opponent with a warm hug.

    Haga received his medal from Dr Lisa Allan, Competition Manager of the IJF.

    The -78kg category saw yet another all Japan final. After going a waza-ari down Mami Umeki countered her compatriot to score Ippon and take her one step closer to the Tokyo Olympics.

    At +100kg Hyoga Ota of Japan took on Russia’s Inal Tasoev whoscored waza-ari against Ota, and held out to take his second Grand Slam title.

    Move of the Day

    Our move of the day came from 2015 World Champion Gwak Donghan, executing a simply magical tai otoshi attack on Shochiro Mukai, devastating Japan’s World Silver Medallist with a perfect bit of Judo. A fantastic way to wrap up the last Grand Slam of the year.

  • Brazilian Mikaili Sol wins Kiteboarding World Championships

    Colombian Valentin Rodriguez and Brazil’s Mikaili Sol soared to success in the freestyle Kiteboarding World Championships in Combuco on Saturday.

    The 17-year-old Rodriguez snatched victory right at the end of the competition, beating Adeuri Corniel into second place with Spain’s Liam Whaley third.

    Just 15-years-old, Mikaili Sol took the women’s title in front of her home fans, who were expecting big things after her victory in three out of four World Cup events during the year.

    Compatriot Bruna Kajiya finished second ahead of Dutch rider Pippa van Iersel in third.

  • Tonaki closes in on Olympic spot with 4th Grand Slam win

    Abe Uta suffers her first loss in three years while her brother Hifumi keeps his hopes of an Olympic spot alive.

    Women’s world number one Amandine Buchard has handed world champion Uta Abe her first loss on the IJF World Judo Tour since her debut event in 2016. Three-time Grand Slam winner Abe conceded her three-year winning-streak in added time. The 19-year-old was thrown after four minutes of golden score by the plucky Frenchwoman with a modified kata-guruma for a waza-ari score.

    “I was, like, OK, we are in Osaka, we are in Japan, I am in the final against her, it’s a moment for trying to do it. And I did it and I’m really so happy with it,” Buchard said after her win.

    She received her medal from Her Imperial Highness Princess Tomohito of Mikasa.

    Olympic dream still alive for Abe Hifumi

    Newly crowned World Champion Maruyama Joshiro and the man he dethroned – former World Champion Abe Hifumi, looked destined to meet in the final.

    Abe blasted his way in there brilliantly and was seeking redemption. The final delivered the pulsating and tense atmosphere it deserved with both fighters displaying their exciting and attacking styles.

    In the end, Abe beautifully countered the advancing Maruyama – levelling their head-to-head and keeping his Olympic dream alive.

    Mr Yahsuro Yamashita, President of the All Japan Judo Federation, presented Abe with his medal.

    “I’ve had many matches versus Joshiro Maruyama,” Abe said after the match, “and I’ve lost the last few in a row. So this time I had a strong feeling that I wasn’t going to lose. And I was victorious. So I think this has made me an even stronger judoka.”

    All Japanese final

    The -60kg final was another all Japanese affair. Former triple World Champion Takato Naohisa took on compatriot and current World Number One Nagayama Ryuju.

    It was an intense encounter that was ultiamtely decided in Golden Score with a beautiful piece of Ashi Waza to win a record tenth Grand Slam gold medal.

    This was awarded by Mr Haruki Uemura, President of the Kodokan.

    More gold for the home team

    It was former World Champion Tonaki Funa who took the spoils in the -48kg category. Up against Spain’s Julia Figueroa, a dominant display saw her first pin the Spaniard for wazari and then produce a wonderfully timed driving kouchi-gari to secure victory.

    Japan’s Tamaoki Momo made short work of Lien Chen-Ling of Chinese Taipei in the -57kg Gold Medal contest. A lovely piece of skill was followed up on the floor where Tamaoki secured a decisive hold down.

    In all it was an incredible 4 Gold Medals for Japan who showed their dominance on home soil.

    Move of the day

    Japan also provided our move of the day – an exquisite uchi-mata from -66kg Silver Medalist Maruyama Joshiro.

  • Tottenham name Jose Mourinho as new boss after Mauricio Pochettino sacked

    Jose Mourinho has been appointed the new manager of English football club Tottenham Hotspur, following the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday.

    The 56-year-old Portuguese won three Premier League titles with Chelsea, and also managed Manchester United. He returns to management for the first time since being sacked by Manchester United in December.

    Tottenham announced Mourinho would be their new manager on a contract running until the end of the 2022-23 season.

    Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement: “In Jose we have one of the most successful managers in football.

    “He has a wealth of experience, can inspire teams and is a great tactician. He has won honours at every club he has coached. We believe he will bring energy and belief to the dressing room.”

    Despite taking the club to their first Champions League final last season, Pochettino was fired after a poor run of form in 2019, which saw the team winning just six of their last 24 league games.

    “I am excited to be joining a club with such a great heritage and such passionate supporters,” Mourinho said. “The quality in both the squad and the academy excites me. Working with these players is what has attracted me.”

  • Spain’s top women footballers go on strike over pay dispute

    Spain’s top women football players went on strike on Saturday in a dispute over working conditions and minimum wage.

    The two-day strike action resulted in the cancellation of eight matches scheduled to take place over the weekend.

    Just under 200 players from 16 different clubs in the country’s Women’s First Division voted in October to go on strike after negotiations between the different bodies collapsed.

    Players are demanding that the annual minimum wage for full-time contracts be increased to €16,000 while that of part-time contracts be boosted to €12,000. They are also calling for a maternity package and paid holidays.

    The Association of Women’s Football Clubs (ACFF) argues however that smaller clubs could not afford to increase the minimum salary from the current €8,000 per year.

    The UD Granadilla Tenerife club, whose team was meant to clash with RCD Espanyol on Saturday, said in a statement that they “respect the position of the players to support the strike.”

    “Staff, technical body and management wish that a fruitful and positive agreement will soon be reached between all the parties involved, for the sake of women’s football and generations to come,” it added.

  • Tennis: France claim Fed Cup title with 3-2 win over Australia

    France claimed their first Fed Cup title in 16 years on Sunday with a 3-2 victory after defeating hosts Australia in the decisive doubles rubber in the final in Perth.

    Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia held firm in a tense decider to beat Ash Barty and Sam Stosur 6-4 6-3 at Perth Arena and secure France’s third title in the women’s team event.

    France hoists the Fed Cup trophy for the first time since 2003, when Amelie Mauresmo led the French to a 4-1 win over the United States in the final in Moscow.

  • Two Celtic FC fans stabbed in Rome ahead of Lazio clash

    Two Celtic FC fans were stabbed in Rome on Wednesday evening as they clashed with Lazio supporters ahead of their teams’ Europa League match.

    The incident took place outside the Flann O’Brien pub where supporters of the Glasgow club had gathered. Italian police said the pair have been transported to hospital for treatment.

    Celtic and Lazio are scheduled to play in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening. Their first clash on October 24 resulted in a 2-1 win for the Scottish team but also led to Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, to charge both clubs for their fans’ behaviour.

    Both sides face disciplinary action for the display of an “illicit banner” with Celtic also charged with “illicit chants”. The case will be dealt with during a meeting of the Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body on November 21.

    Ahead of their second meeting, Celtic had issued guidance to the 8,000 fans expected to travel to the Italian capital, asking them to “keep a low profile” and to “avoid wearing club colours while walking around the city”.

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