Gulnoza Matniyazova has become the first woman from Uzbekistan to win an IJF Grand Prix gold medal ©IJF

Home favourite Gulnoza Matniyazova became the first woman from Uzbekistan to win an International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix gold medal after defeating Slovenia’s Anka Pogacnik in the under 70 kilograms final in Tashkent today.

A nervy contest went the distance with no score and no shidos after four minutes, meaning that golden score would be required to determine a winner at the Uzbekistan Sport Complex.

Matniyazova, who has long been at the forefront of her country’s women’s programme as a three-time IJF Grand Prix bronze medallist, delivered the moment she has waited for her entire career as she found a way past Sofia European Open winner Pogacnik with a makikomi after an additional one minute and 23 seconds.

The first bronze medal was claimed by Russia’s Iana Dibrina, who showed her lethal ne-waza to topple Uzbekistan’s Vasila Aliboeva.

Kazakhstan’s Aelita Chsherbakova captured the second after defeating Junior Asian Cup winner Umida Saidova of Uzbekistan in the opening minute.

Matniyazova’s gold medal-winning performance was the first of three for Uzbekistan today as Mirzahid Farmonov and Davlat Bobonov came away with the respective men’s under 73kg and under 81kg crowns.

Asian Games bronze medallist Farmonov had the measure of his younger team-mate and heir apparent in Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Giyosjon Boboev.

The pair could not be separated after five minutes, but after 44 seconds of golden score, Farmonov scored a waza-ari from an uchi-mata sukashi.

Bobonov, meanwhile, underlined his status as one of Uzbekistan’s top prospects by triumphing on his IJF Grand Prix debut.

The 19-year-old Junior Asian champion bested Japan’s Hayato Watanabe, who was also making his IJF Grand Prix bow.  

Uzbekistan’s Mirzahid Farmonov beat team-mate Giyosjon Boboev in the men’s under 73kg final ©IJF
Uzbekistan’s Mirzahid Farmonov beat team-mate Giyosjon Boboev in the men’s under 73kg final ©IJF

Bobonov produced the only score of the contest, a yuko from an uchi-mata after two minutes, and lived dangerously as he accumulated three shido penalties and just escaped a fourth in the closing seconds.

The under 73kg bronze medals went the way of Russia’s Uali Kurzhev and Uzbekistan’s Muso Sobirov at the expense of Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Zhumakanov and Azerbaijan’s Hidayat Heydarov respectively.

Azerbaijan’s Rufat Ismayilov beat compatriot Afig Safarli to the first bronze medal in the under 81kg division, while Montenegro’s Srdjan Mrvaljevic overcame Kazakhstan’s Arman Makhambetov in the other contest.

Today’s other winner was Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Daria Davydova of Russia, who topped an IJF World Judo Tour medal podium for the first time by defeating Croatia’s Marijana Miskovic Hasanbegovic in the women’s under 63kg final.

Miskovic Hasanbegovic, who finished a career-best seventh at the World Championships last year, was the oldest judoka in the category in Tashkent but also the highest ranked.

The world number 23 fell behind to waza-ari from an uchi-mata and despite battling until the end, she was second best.

Belarus’ Daniela Kazanoi defeated Uzbekistan’s Mukhayyo Ibragimova in the first bronze medal match and was joined on the third step of the podium by Slovenia’s Andreja Leski, who proved too strong for the United States’ Hannah Martin.

Uzbekistan have now overtaken Russia at the top of the medal table with action due to conclude tomorrow.

The men’s under 90kg, under 100kg and over 100kg categories will grace the two tatami along with the women’s under 78kg and over 78kg divisions. 

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