Victor Scvortov fights with Bektur Rysmambetov in the judo men’s 73kg bronze medal fight. Image Credit: Reuters

Jakarta: Six months ago, the UAE’s Victor Scvortov was still not sure if he will be competing at the 18th Asian Games as he was recovering from a knee injury.

But on Thursday he proudly wore a bronze after beating Kyrgyzstan Bektur Rysmambetov by ippon in a chaotic contest marred by refereeing errors and a scoring machine malfunctioning.

There was lot of booing in the crowd after the referee reversed his decision once after handing over the bout to Scvortov. The contest resumed but was again held a couple of times due to technical problems.

It would have unsettled most but Scvortov remained calm and paying attention to every word of advice from edge of the floor by coach Vasile Volc, swept his opponent of the floor to win by ippon.

“It’s a huge relief to return from here with a medal. The refereeing was poor. It makes it difficult to concentrate one there is a stop and start but thankfully I stayed calm,” said an elated Scrortov, who had plenty of scratches and blood on his face to prove the effort he had put into his fights.

“I badly wanted this medal after making a comeback following the knee injury. I had worked really hard for it after all that time out of action,” added the Moldavian born judoka, who lost in the semis to eventual gold medallist Japan’s Shohei Ono.

“Losing to Ono was heartbreaking as it was the second time I was losing to him. He had defeated me at the Rio Games as well,” revealed Scvortov, who credited his success to the rehab programme and the tough training schedule that was put into place by team coach Volc.

“After my knee surgery, four month I was in rehabilitation in Barcelona. The support that I got from the UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation and from its secretary general Nasser Al Tamimi was massive,” said Scvortov, who defeated Saudi Arabia’s Fahad Sulaiman Hamad in round of 16. In the quarter-final, Scvortov defeated Giyosjon Boboev and all the wins came by ippon.

Volc also hailed Scvortov’s showing saying, “Victor has worked really hard to see this day and it turned out to be a good one. He was training in Japan and trying his best. He lost to the champion from Japan who is one of the firm favourites in this category but it was a good flight.

“Coming out of an injury and getting back into peak form is not easy. Victor has done that and all credit to him. More than anything it become psychological at one stage and has overcome all that and so the victory to be special.”

UAE’s have two more judokas — Ivan Remarenco and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sergiu Toma leading the charge in the 100kg and 90kg category respectively.

Remarenco will be meeting India’s Avtar Singh while Toma will lock horns with Shakhzodbek Sabirov in the round of 16.

“We have got a good start and hopefully that will rub onto the others. We will have to see what happens tomorrow,” said Volc.