Taiwan judoka Yang Yung-wei grabs gold in Antalya Grand Slam in Turkey

04/02/2022 12:53 PM
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Yang Yung-wei receives a gold medal at the Antalya Grand Slam 2022 in Turkey. Photo courtesy of Taiwan
Yang Yung-wei receives a gold medal at the Antalya Grand Slam 2022 in Turkey. Photo courtesy of Taiwan's representative office in Turkey

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Taiwanese Olympic judo medalist Yang Yung-wei (楊勇緯) clinched another Grand Slam gold by defeating former world champion Lukhumi Chkhvimiani of Georgia with a dropping shoulder attack at the Antalya Grand Slam 2022 in Turkey on Friday.

Yang, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics silver medalist and winner of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, scored with a seoi-nage, the shoulder throw technique, in the last minute and 32 seconds for waza-ari, an advantage that gave him the victory in the 60kg final.

Solidifying his second Grand Slam gold since the Olympics, Yang let out a roar just before the final bow at the end of the matchup.

After the win, Yang commended his opponent Chkhvimiani, who was the 2019 world champion in Tokyo.

"My opponent's physical condition was very, very good, so it was a really difficult to compete with him. His is very skilled and showed good techniques and results," Yang said.

The last time Yang faced Chkhvimiani on the mat was at the 2019 World Judo Championships where the Taiwanese judoka was defeated in the quarterfinals.

Yang's coach Liu Wen-teng (劉文等) said Yang has improved tremendously since then.

"The Yang Yung-wei you see now has excelled in all strength, speed, and physicality. Furthermore, in their last match up, Yang also had a good chance to win," Liu said.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan
Photo courtesy of Taiwan's representative office in Turkey

Speaking further on Yang's continuous improvement over the years, Liu said Yang is a world class competitor and will be a tough opponent for all of his challengers.

Yang's medal on Friday was awarded by Taiwan's representative to Turkey, Huang Chih-yang (黃志揚).

Huang told CNA it was the first time he awarded a medal to a Taiwanese athlete and it was the most touching moment of his 24-year career in foreign service.

"I will never forget this moment. Thank you Yang Yung-wei for making us (Taiwanese) diplomats so proud," Huang said.

Yang and Liu will soon be returning to Taiwan to prepare for the Chengdu 2021 Summer World University Games, scheduled to begin in June.

The 24-year-old Yang instantly became a media sensation in Taiwan after he became the country's first-ever judo Olympic medalist last year and his popularity continued to skyrocket as he finished 2021 as world number one in the extra lightweight class.

(By Lung Po-an, Ho Hung-ju, and William Yen)

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