By Mark Etheridge
After his bronze medal success in Peru recently, judoka Zack Piontek’s South American adventure didn’t have the happiest ending in Argentina at the weekend.
Piontek, a 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the -90kg division lost his first bout against Azerbaijan’s Tural Safguliyev.
And Piontek felt he was hard done by by officials in his bout.
‘There were a few questionable calls but two stood out. I threw my opponent flat on his back early in the night. The mat referee immediately gave a winning score of ippon but, after the Azerbaijan coach jumped up and down, the side refs suddenly changed the score to the lower score of waza-ari!
‘There’s a system in judo that records the fights and the refs can use it to inspect a decision that is questioned. But they didn’t use it and just opted to change the score.
‘To make matters worse, later in the fight, I put in an attack. But the ref called ‘mate‘ which means the fight must stop. But my opponent still countered my attack and the ref gave him an ippon.
‘So that was that, I lost my fight and because I wasn’t in the top eight I was out of the tournament.
‘But all things considered. I did get to fight in two tournaments and managed to get a medal in Peru. This can be considered a good result in my opinion. Now I’m heading back home to start preparations for next month’s African Championships in Tunisia …that’s a big one for me.’
Picture of Piontek courtesy of Reg Caldecott