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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

UAE judokas Sergiu Toma and Victor Scvortov all set for Abu Dhabi Slam

While Toma will be determined to make up for Asian Games disappointment, teammate Scvortov will hope to ride on high of Jakarta, where he won bronze medal

The highlight of Sergiu Toma's career is having won a medal for the UAE at the 2016 Rio Games. AFP
The highlight of Sergiu Toma's career is having won a medal for the UAE at the 2016 Rio Games. AFP

Sergiu Toma leads a nine-member UAE contingent at the IJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam starting on Saturday.

The three-day event, to be held at the Mubadala Arena under the auspices of the International Judo Federation, presents another stage for Toma to build on his recent successes.

The Moldovan-born judoka claimed a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He followed it up with a gold medal-winning performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in October the same year.

But Toma missed the competition in 2017 due to injury, and he will be determined to raid the capital event this year to make up for his shock first-round exit at the Asian Games in Indonesia two months ago.

Another competitor to watch out for is Victor Scvortov, Toma's UAE teammate who came away with a bronze medal at the Asiad in Jakarta. Scvortov, also Moldovan-born like Toma, outclassed Kyrgyzstan's Bektur Rysmambetov in the 73-kilogram weight category.

Victor Scvortov, in blue, on his way to win the judo bronze medal from Bettor Rysmambetov of Kyrgyzstan at the Asian Games in Jakarta. UAENOC
Victor Scvortov, in blue, on his way to win the judo bronze medal from Bettor Rysmambetov of Kyrgyzstan at the Asian Games in Jakarta. UAENOC

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He needed only a little more than two minutes to win the third-place match by ippon – or one full point – which is the highest score one can achieve in a judo contest.

Scvortov's outing drew high praise from Naser Al Tamimi, general secretary of the UAE Wrestling, Judo and Kick Boxing Federation.

“It was an admirable performance from him," Al Tamimi said. "He came across the world No 1 [Japan's Shohei Ono] in the semi-finals, and had he not, he could have gone close to win silver. But a medal is what we wanted and he’s delivered it to us."

The Abu Dhabi Slam has drawn 372 judokas from 64 countriesthis year, including 230 men and 142 women.