Turkmen judoka Hekim Agamammedov won the bronze medal for the first time at the Grand Slam tournament «Tokyo Grand Slam-2023» that ended today in the capital of Japan.
The two-day tournament, with a prize fund of $154, brought together 506 athletes (298 men and 208 women) from 84 countries on five continents, who competed for 14 sets of medals in 7 men's and 7 women's weight categories. Among its participants were many famous judokas, including 5 current Olympic champions (all from the host country) and 8 current world champions.
Turkmenistan was represented by 8 judokas - 5 men and 3 women. And only one of them managed to climb onto the podium.
Hekim Agamammedov became a bronze medalist in the weight category up to 66 kg, in which 48 judokas from 35 countries competed for medals. On the way to this success, a 24-year-old soldier of military unit №. 1001 named after Malikguly Berdimuhamedov of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan won five victories.
In the first round, Hekim won a clear victory over the bronze medalist of the 2021 European Open Championship in Malaga (Spain) and the Pan American and Oceania Championships in Lima (Peru), Ari Berliner from the USA. In the second fight, due to the «Waza-ari» score, he beat the winner of the 2023 Grand Slam Heydar Aliyev in Baku and the bronze medalist of the 2023 Grand Slam in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and the XXXI World Summer Universiade in Chengdu (China) Yashar Najafov from Azerbaijan.
In the third round, in the second minute of the fight, our compatriot prevailed by «ippon» (clear victory) over the European champion among youth (under 23 years old) in Potsdam (Germany), silver medalist of the XXXI World Summer Universiade and bronze medalist of the Portuguese Grand Prix tournament 2023 Radu Izvoreanu from Moldova. However, in the fight for reaching the semi-finals, he lost to the 27-year-old bronze medalist of the 2023 Portuguese Grand Prix, Daiki Boubet (France), and was forced to get to the podium through a consolation tournament.
In the next two meetings, the winner had to be determined in an additional fight («Golden Speed») before the effective action, since the main 4 minutes of the fight ended without scores. And here we must pay tribute to Hekim Agamammedov, who, demonstrating a steely character and an iron will, first «ippon» snatched victory from the 23-year-old winner of the Zagreb 2023 Grand Prix, bronze medalist of the Pan American Games Willian Lima from Brazil, and then due to the score «Waza-ari» won against the 28-year-old Erhembayar Battogtokh from Mongolia, ranked 4th in the world ranking, two-time bronze medalist of the Grand Slam 2023 in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Abu Dhabi (UAE) and rose to the third step of the podium.
The second bronze medalist in this weight category was the current number one in the world ranking, Denis Vieru from Moldova. The current bronze medalist of the World Championship in Doha (Qatar), vice-champion of the 19th Summer Asian Games in Hangzhou (China) and winner of the 2023 Grand Slam in Ulaanbaatar Bashu Yondonparenlein from Mongolia climbed to the second step of the podium. And the winner of the Tokyo Grand Slam 2023 gold was the champion of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the current four-time world champion Hifumi Abe from Japan, who achieved a clear victory in the second minute of the final match.
At the award ceremony in such an eminent campaign of judoists, the Turkmen athlete was awarded a bronze medal by the President of the Mongolian Judo Association Battulga Khaltmaagiin, after which the National Flag of Turkmenistan was raised in honour of the success of our athlete under the arches of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium Palace.
Previously, Turkmen judokas had never stood on the podium in the prestigious Grand Slam competitions held around the world, the winners of which receive ranking points to participate in the World Championships and Olympic Games. Previously, the best result of our compatriots at such tournaments was 5th place in 2014 at the «Grand Slam» in Baku, Gulbadam Babamuratova, who won twice and became a different medalist four times at Grand Prix competitions in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Samsun (Turkey), Qingdao (China), Dusseldorf (Germany), Agadir (Morocco) and Tbilisi (Georgia).
And now a new bright page has been written in the history of Turkmen judo. It is also gratifying that Hekim Agamammedov’s first bronze medal at a Grand Slam competition was won in the homeland of judo - in Japan, where competition is unusually high.
Thanks to his bronze success at the Tokyo Grand Slam 2023, H. Agamammedov, who was previously in 42nd place in the world rankings, increased his rating by 500 points and made a strong bid for participation in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Hekim Agamammedov first made people talk about himself in 2022, when he won bronze at the V Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey, and then at the European Open Championship in Oberwart, Austria, he won a gold medal in the weight category up to 66 kg, in which 32 judokas competed. This year, at the European Open Championship in Sofia (Bulgaria), he also climbed to the podium, winning a bronze award.
Hekim Agamammedov began practicing judo in the city of Turkmenbashy with his first coach, Rashid Huseynov. Currently, he is improving his sportsmanship under the guidance of the senior coach of the men's team, Gahryman Amandurdyyev, and the head coach of the national team, which in 2024 will be headed by a Japanese specialist, seventh dan Kodokan judo holder Kazuhiko Tokuno. Under his leadership, this year Turkmen judokas won many medals in the international arena, including at the 19th Summer Asian Games in Hangzhou (China), the world championship among cadets in Zagreb (Croatia), the Asian championship among cadets in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), II Games of the CIS countries in the Republic of Belarus and other representative competitions.