Truly golden tatami
By Dmitry Komashko
Gold medals and a championship title have been awarded to Andrey Kurlypo (under 52kg), Vae Tutkhalyan (under 62kg), Alexander Koksha (under 68kg), Alexey Stepankov (under 82kg), Yevgeny Semochkin (under 100kg) and Yuri Rybak (above 100kg). Silver went to Ivan Aniskevich (under 57kg), Igor Sedoy (under 68kg), Alexey Romanchik (under 74kg) and Vasily Kuznetsov (under 100kg). Bronze medals were claimed by Narek Arakelyan and Dmitry Aleksashin (both under 52kg), Arif Bagirov (under 57kg), Igor Moshko (under 74kg) and Suleiman Askerov (under 100kg).
Yuri Rybak’s performance was the most spectacular. The athlete, who has earned the highest awards at Sambo and judo tournaments many times, defeated Russia’s Roman Mikhalchenko — 12:0!
The only weight category to lack Belarusian medals was the under 90kg. The leader of our team in this category, Andrey Kazusenok, is currently training for the 2012 Olympics, and was performing at a Judo event in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Interestingly, this Belarusian championship was the most ‘open’ over recent years, gathering squads from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Latvia, Morocco, Serbia, Turkmenistan, South Korea, Greece, Ukraine, Lithuania, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Romania, Tajikistan, Armenia and Iran, at Minsk’s Palace of Sports. For the fifth year in a row, the tournament was a World Cup round and a qualification stage of the World Championship — to be held in November in Minsk.
“We are now training hard both for the European Championship, being hosted by Moscow in May, and for the World Championship, scheduled for November in Minsk,” notes the head coach of the Belarusian squad, Vyacheslav Kot. “Our Open Belarus Championship (for prizes of the President of the Republic of Belarus) has been a qualification round for those grand events: a useful practice ground.”
Over all, Belarus claimed 6 gold medals, 4 silver and 5 bronze, taking the lead position. The squad was followed by Russia (1, 2, 3), Kazakhstan (1, 2, 0), Georgia (1, 1, 3), Ukraine (0, 0, 6) and Bulgaria (0, 0, 1).