Bashaev chosen over Tasoev for Olympics

World silver medalist Bashaev was chosen for the Olympics.

The Russian Olympic team has been announced:

-48kg: Irina DOLGOVA
-52kg: Natalia KUZIUTINA
-57kg: Daria MEZHETSKAIA
-63kg: Daria DAVYDOVA
-70kg: Madina TAIMAZOVA
-78kg: Aleksandra BABINTSEVA

-60kg: Robert MSHVIDOBADZE
-66kg: Yakub SHAMILOV
-73kg: Musa MOGUSHKOV
-81kg: Alan KHUBETSOV
-90kg: Mikhail IGOLNIKOV
-100kg: Niiaz ILIASOV
+100kg: Tamerlan BASHAEV

No major surprises although the +100kg division was a really tough choice for the Russians as both Tamerlan Bashaev and Inal Tasoev were very close rivals.

In the end, the former, who had just won the World Silver medal, was chosen. It’s not clear why Tasoev was not asked to participate in the World’s as well.

Canada had famously put its two top -57kg players, Jessica Klimkait and Christa Deguchi, in the World’s to see who would come up tops. That person would be the one chosen. Klimkait defied the odds and earned herself a ticket to Tokyo.

In the case of Russia, it was almost as if Tasoev had no chance to prove himself.

Whether Bashaev proves to be the right choice, we’ll only know after the Olympics. But if you look at their track records against rivals, you will see it was really a very difficult choice.

Neither one had managed to beat Teddy Riner (FRA) before. Meanwhile, both had won and lost against Lukas Krpalek (CZE) and Guram Tushishvili (GEO).

Tasoev has not beaten Hisayoshi Harasawa (JPN) while Bashaev has.

But Bashaev has never beaten the Dutch player, Henk Grol (three times), while Tasoev has (three times).

Riner aside, if the path to gold requires getting past Harasawa, Bashaev seems like the right choice. But if the one in the way is Grol, then Tasoev would have been the better option.

Against Krpalek and Tushishvili, both men stand a good chance.