ABU DHABI // Victor Scvortov appeared to be an Olympic medal prospect for the UAE after an impressive victory over Mansur Isaev of Russia in the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Prix.
The Bolivian-born competitor had his opponent down with a spectacular flick of his right foot to win with more than a minute left in the 73kg weight division to bag one of the seven gold medals on offer on Friday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
“I have been training for more than six months in Abu Dhabi and really happy to win a gold medal for them,” he said.
“I don’t know what is next for me. I will wait for the UAE Judo Federation to decide. It has been two tough days of competition and I am just happy with the performance.”
The UAE had nine other entries, including Jaleela Al Nuaimi, in the women’s division. But none of them went beyond the first round.
Scvortov edged out Zurab Nozadze of Georgia and Hungary’s Miklos Ungvari on points, and he beat Christopher Volk of Germany with an ippon in the semi-finals.
In other bouts, Amandine Buchard of France kept alive her ambition of representing her country in the Olympics with Grand Prix debut victory in the 48kg.
The 18 year old clinched a thriller, winning a point in the last second of the five-minute time period from Aleysa Kuznetsova of Russia.
“It is a great start to win a GP event in my first appearance,” she said through an interpreter.
“The obvious goal is the 2016 Olympics. It is a very long road and a long time, but with this win I feel I am going in the right direction.”
Miryam Roper made it third-time lucky in Abu Dhabi by winning the 57kg final over Romanian Corina Caprioriu. Roper, 31, finished fifth in her two previous visits to the capital in 2010 and 2011 and was eliminated in the first round in the London Olympics last year.
However, 2013 has turned out to be her best – winning the Grand Slam in Moscow and Baku, and the Grand Prix in Croatia. She was also third in the world championship.
“It has been a wonderful year so far. I am off to Tokyo next week and hopefully round off the year on a high,” she said.
The competition continues on Saturday.