Jakarta: The UAE’s challenge in judo ended in disappointment with the fancied Sergiu Toma and Ivan Remarenco crashing out without a medal at the 18th Asian Games here on Friday.
Olympic bronze medallist Toma was shown the door in the first round by Uzbekistan’s Shakhzodbek Sabirov in the men’s -90kg.
Remarenco, however, was very much in line for finishing on the podium after he started on a high beating India’s Avatar Singh and Kazakhatan’s Viktor Demyanenko by ippon and referee’s decision, respectively.
His surge, however, was halted in the semi-finals when he lost by ippon to Korea’s Guham Cho.
Remarenco still had an opportunity to get his hands on bronze medal by taking on Uzbekistan’s Sherali Juraev, who had clawed his way to the clash after battling through repechage. After taking a 1-0 lead, Juraev forced Remarenco to attack to regain lost ground and with the clock ticking the latter erred again. Juraev won the contest comprehensively by ippon.
“Anything can happen in judo and we just witnessed that. We tried our best and it is what it is,” said coach Vasile Volc. “Remarenco won some good fights — first against Indian and then against Kazak. The semis loss was close against Korea but over all I’m happy with the way he performed.”
Volc also backed Toma saying it was too much to ask of the 31-year-old straight away having switched into a higher weight category.
“Toma started in 90kg and this was his first serious competition. He was competing in 81kg before and he lost to the strong Uzbek Sabirob. It was always going to be difficult for him and we will have to now look ahead with a camp starting in Romania soon ahead of the World Championship,” said Volc.
Nasser Al Tamimi, the UAE Judo General Secretary, also rated the performance from the judokas as satisfactory.
“We are not going home empty-handed as Victor Scvortov provided us with a medal,” he said. “Remarenco also came close to winning another one. Toma though didn’t click but he was competing in a different weight. I’m confident that he would improve by the world championship. Our aim is the World Championship and the Olympics. The Asian Games was prefect opportunity to build a strong team and understand where we stand.”