Can Guram Tushishvili win the Olympic title?

Guram Tushishvili (GEO) is no doubt one of many frontrunners for the +100kg Olympic gold. The alternative excessive prospects, in spite of everything, are Teddy Riner (FRA) and the Japanese guide – presumably it will be Tatsuru Saito, although Kokoro Kageura is presently the higher-ranking participant. Lukas Krpalek (CZE) would have been a excessive prospect too nonetheless he has merely launched his switch once more proper all the way down to U100kg.

Tushishvili has fought Riner 3 instances. The first time they fought, on the 2017 Budapest World Championships, he very virtually defeated the Frenchman, with a footsweep throughout the dying seconds of their match. Riner managed to land on his entrance so no score was given, and he then went on to realize with sumi-gaeshi for waza-ari. Nevertheless that was an in depth shave for Riner.

The second time they fought was throughout the 2017 Marrakesh World Open Weight Championships. There, Riner gained additional decisively, throwing Tushishvili twice in widespread time. The first one was an unlimited harai-goshi that was initially awarded ippon nonetheless downgraded to waza-ari. The second was a very low uchimata that was given a waza-ari. This would possibly often indicate waza-ari-awasete-ippon nonetheless in 2017, the foundations have been such that there could very effectively be various waza-aris. (The IJF later modified this unpopular rule). On this match, Riner was clearly dominant.

The third time they fought was at a European membership workforce championship this yr, the place Tushishvili gave a strong wrestle to the getting older Riner, now already 33. Truly, Tushishvili was initially awarded the win for this match nonetheless this was reversed by the IJF when video replay confirmed that Tushishvili had carried out an illegal switch that warranted hansoku-make. The reversal was a reasonably groundbreaking selection on account of it was made prolonged after every players had already bowed out. Normally, even faulty selections stand as quickly because the players have left the mat. But it surely certainly was the correct selection.

What Tushishvili has confirmed is that on a superb day, he can go toe-to-toe with Riner, who’s a loads larger opponent. In his prime, Riner would possibly bodily dominate Tushishvili nonetheless currently, Riner can not obtain this. If Tushishvili is able to play a strategic recreation, do a lot of drop assaults and Footsweeps, and set off Riner to rack up penalties, he could also be able to lastly beat his nemesis.

Tushishvili has in no way fought Saito, who dwarfs him. It should doubtless be laborious for Tushishvili to throw a participant as huge and heavy as Saito nonetheless he would possibly play a strategic recreation and dance spherical Saito to drive him to incur penalties. That’s exactly what Andy Granda of Cuba did on the Tashkent World Championships, and it labored. Nevertheless you can make it possible for Saito has realized from which have and his coaches would have since prepared him for such “shido play”. Whether or not or not he can be able to worthwhile address that is one different question. However when Tushishvili have been to beat Saito, it almost definitely have to be by means of penalties.

It might be troublesome for Tushishvili even when the Japanese guide appears to be Kageura, a loads smaller and cagier opponent, who is able to do drop strategies along with Tushishvili can. Of their first match-up on the 2018 Paris Grand Slam, Tushishvili was already down by two shidos when he kneed Kageura throughout the ear all through a newaza commerce, leading to a hansoku-make for unsportsmanlike conduct. The second time they fought was on the 2018 Guangzhou World Masters. There, Tushishvili gained by means of penalties.

Tushishvili fought in various tournaments closing yr and the outcomes have been blended. He gained gold throughout the Tel Aviv and Antalya Grand Slams, and gained bronze throughout the European and World Championships. He misplaced throughout the first spherical of the Baku Grand Slam though.

This yr has merely begun. Hopefully, we will see him wrestle Saito for the first time, in some upcoming competitions.