UAE judo chief targets more Asian Games medals after Victor Scvortov wins bronze
The UAE’s judo chief has set his sights on more Asian Games medals after Victor Scvortov's success in Jakarta on Thursday.
Scvortov outclassed Kyrgyzstan's Bektur Rysmambetov in the 73-kilogram weight category, with the Moldovan-born fighter needing only a little more than two minutes to win the bronze-medal match by ippon – or one full point – which is the highest score one can achieve in a judo contest.
The UAE have 13 medals so far, and Naser Al Tamimi believes Sergiu Toma – bronze medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – and Ivan Remarenco could add two more to the tally when they swing into action in the 90kg and 100kg divisions, respectively, on Friday.
Also on Friday, the UAE's sailing team will also be in action. Ali Al Hamza will challenge for a medal in the Laser Standard, while Saif Al Mansoori and Salama Al Mansoori vie for honours in the Open Laser 4.7.
“We were confident of medals from the outset and Victor has given us a heady start,” said Al Tamimi, general secretary of the UAE Wrestling, Judo and Kick Boxing Federation.
“It was an admirable performance from him. He came across the world No 1 [Japan's Shohei Ono] in the semi-finals, and had he not, he could have gone close to win silver. But a medal is what we wanted and he’s delivered it to us."
Ono went on to beat An Chang-rim of South Korea in an epic final that lasted seven minutes.
“Sergiu and Ivan are next for us and we expect them to follow on Victor’s path for a couple of medals," Al Tamimi added. "As I have repeatedly said, there are no guarantees in this game. But we are confident.”
Memorable day for Scvortov
Scvortov won both his early fights on Thursday – the round 16 against Sulaiman Hamad of Saudi Arabia and the quarter-final against Uzbekistan's Giyosjon Boboev – also by ippon.
Quite naturally, he was pleased with his success.
“I wanted to win gold or silver for them," he said, "but quite happy with the bronze under the circumstances. This is my first Asian Games and it was [as] hard as the Olympics and the World Championships.
“Our preparation for it was brilliant and above all the team spirit with fellow judokas, technical staff and the federation was absolutely remarkable to come up with this result,” Scvortov added.
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Disappointments in other disciplines
But despite Scvortov's bronze, Thursday proved to be a mixed day for the UAE contingent, with the showjumping, cycling and rugby sevens teams ending their campaigns without success.
Hamad Al Kirbi atop Quel Caadan Z and Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum aboard Cobolt 8 were placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the medal round of the individual showjumping event.
Cyclist Yousif Mirza finished 10th in the men’s omnium. The sevens team lost both their Group C matches, to Sri Lanka 68-0 and Afghanistan 36-0. They meet South Korea in the final group game on Friday.
Sheikha Latifa was disappointed with the results, but she insisted they were plenty of positives to take from Indonesia.
“Our riders fared well even if we didn’t win any medals,” said Sheikha Latifa, who took home silver in the team event at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha and two more in the team and individual events at the Incheon Games four years ago.
“My fellow riders [Al Kirbi, Nadia Taryam and Mohammed Al Rumaithi] can take the experience forward.
“As for me, the Games provided me an opportunity to test my horse, which I’m very keen to prepare to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” she added.