Keldiyorova wins second Grand Slam gold

In Ulaanbaatar, Keldiyorova wins her second Grand Slam gold.

Diyora Keldiyorova of Uzbekistan is not yet a household name in the -52kg division where there are already many famous names, such as Amandine Buchard (FRA), Reka Pupp (HUN), Chelsie Giles (GBR), Odette Giuffrida (ITA), Uta Abe (JPN) and Distria Krasniqi (KOS), among others.

None of those players was in Ulaanbaatar, and Keldiyorova made the most of the situation to win her second Grand Slam gold. Her first was at the 2021 Antalya Grand Slam.

Interestingly, Gefen Primo (ISR) and Ai Shishime (JPN), both players who beat Keldiyorova at the 2021 World Championships, were in Ulaanbaatar but both got defeated by other players, so Keldiyorova never got a chance to fight them.

She fought superbly in all her matches though. First up was Hsu Lin Hsuan (TPE), whom Keldiyorova defeated with an armlock.

Next up was Mascha Ballhaus (GER), who fell for a lightning quick double attack. First, Keldiyorova came in with a drop sode with only a grip on Ballhaus’s left sleeve. Then she immediately followed up with a drop seoi with a grip on Ballhaus’s right sleeve. It was an impressive display of fast judo.

Keldiyorova was equally impressive in her semifinal fight against Joana Diogo (POR) who she threw twice with a double-sleeve drop sode. The first one scored waza-ari and the second was for a straight ippon.

The final, which saw her go up against Alesya Kuznetsova (IJF) was a bit of a letdown in that it produced no scoring throws but was decided by penalties. It was Keldiyorova all the way though, with her non-stop attacks.

The Russian player was first penalized for non-combativity, then for illegal grip-breaking and finally, came another non-combativity penalty, which sealed her fate. It was all over in less than three minutes.

Overall, it was a superb performance by Keldiyorova, surely someone to watch in coming IJF events.