I felt that I would win with Ippon, the training in Europe helped a lot, we prepared surprises for the opponents - exclusive interview with Diyora Keldiyorova, the winner of the "Grand Slam" tournament in Ulaanbaatar

A few days ago, the Grand Slam judo tournament was held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Uzbekistan judo team won 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals. We took an exclusive interview with Diyora Keldiyorova, who won the championship. 

- First of all, congratulations on the Grand Slam gold medal. Can you share the emotions of the winning seconds?

- Thank you very much for the congratulations! As for emotions, I fought relatively calmly in this tournament. Because, realizing the importance of the Grand Prix, I prepared well for it. We held a training camp in Austria and Croatia for a month. Therefore, I mentally prepared myself for big debates.

- What was the most difficult battle? And why.

- Of course, the most difficult battle for every athlete is the first round. Because there is naturally excitement in the first competition. It also takes some time to get used to the tatami. All in all, this is a big tournament and there are no easy fights in it! But I can show the first stage as relatively more difficult.

- What about your favorite victory?

- I really enjoyed my fight against Germany's Mascha Ballhaus in the second round. The reason is that I fought freely in that match. It was easy for me to use the methods I wanted, and that's how I remembered them.


- Speaking of ippon in the semi-finals. Did you prepare for that situation for about 3 minutes?

- My preparation for the semi-final was very thorough. We met this girl for the 3rd time. I won the previous 2 matches as well. As for the Ippon grade, I already had a feeling I would do it. The situation was going that way. On the other hand, my opponent was watching my movements and using countermeasures. I think that's why it took a while.

- The coaches kept giving instructions. Which of their tips helped the most during the tournament?

- Currently, I train under coach Marko Spittka, and I go to competitions under this specialist. He always insists that I should focus more on kumi-kata (pleasure) techniques. It always reminds me of which opponent's hand I need to neutralize. These tips helped me a lot. Whoever is stronger in kumi-kata has a higher chance of winning. 

- The root method you used in last year's World Cup is still paying off. But if your opponents learn and counter it, are you working on a different combo instead?

- Of course, we have prepared surprises for the opponents. God willing, I want to use them and achieve new victories at the World Championship, which will be hosted by Tashkent. Every athlete has their own secret methods. Because watching him learns what methods his opponents are using. That is why we are looking for ways to earn points from unexpected sides.


- You have prepared for the tournament through a training camp in Austria and Croatia. In what ways do you think it was beneficial?

- I can say that it definitely helped a lot. Because we trained together with the world's strongest judokas in Europe. It only benefited us. It is no secret that the countries with the best-developed judo are also on that continent. In Asia, only Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan have good athletes. And in Europe, everyone is equally strong. Judokas from at least 20 countries took part in each of the training, and it worked for us. Sharing experiences with them ultimately worked to our advantage.

- What are the plans now? What prestigious competitions are ahead?

- There is the Asian Championship, the Islamic Solidarity Games and the biggest one is the World Cup. Now we are preparing for them and I hope that we will present a bunch of medals at the expense of our country!


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