Site Logo  World Judo 2010
Almaty
  
So, the recent wave of Kazakhstani contribution to world sport continues.
The newly refurbished and very snazzy sports arena in the centre of the city played host in September 2010 to a tournament on the main circuit of the menís judo tour, and this World Cup event didnít let the side down as some stunning and powerful judo graced the tatami over the two days.

Although some of the main judo nations were not represented, namely Japan, Georgia, Italy and dare I say, Britain (no, probably not), the competitors were right from the top drawer and lived up to their billing as world class judoka. This, none more so than the very powerful Russians (be they of Russian or Kazakhstani citizenship) two of whom tore through the opposition in seconds without giving away so much as a yuko.


Judo isnít always such a great spectator sport which is why its Olympic status is under threat. Two evenly matched players spend a lot of time tussling and tugging for advantage (the addition of penalties for passivity has improved the artís watchability) and arguably, the untrained eye does not appreciate some of its fineries. Given a good bout, a full point throw impresses most people, but the way the skilled judoka opens his or her opponent and takes their posture is as impressive to anybody whoís tried, with or without success, to do it in a contest situation.

This was a great semi-final. The Kazakh won, with a fantastic uchi-mata throw executed almost as if in slow motion. Note how I got so excited that I didn't even capture the end of the move. Take it from me, it was very neat. He went on to win the gold.
The Autumn tournament in Almaty was as enjoyable to the unexpert spectator as to the onlooking black belt also yearning to get on the mat himself. The quality of judo was most befitting of those who will be desperately disappointed firstly not to get to the Olympics in 2012, but secondly, in some cases, not to come away with a shiny trinket of some kind.
I jokingly remarked to a friend, in my heyday Iíd have beaten them all. But then, 18 years ago most of these lads would have been about three or four years old, so maybe the feat wouldnít have been quite so impressive after all. As one who never quite made it into the judoing elite, it was nice to finally see how it really should be done.