It is significant enough to underline it, the three countries which dominated this first grand slam in Tajikistan, the penultimate one before the Abu Dhabi World Championships 2024, are Switzerland, Austria and Italy. It is not that these three nations are not judo nations, quite the contrary and they have already proven it on numerous occasions, but it must be said that this tournament particularly smiled on them, with individual performances which serve the group’s outcome.

A 100% Swiss final on the first day at -52kg, the victory of world champion Nils Stump on the second day and the final of Daniel Eich on the last day conclude a tournament of great intensity for the Swiss judoka, who position themselves as outsiders of choice, or even favourites, for the major events to come.

Austria leaves Dushanbe with the feeling of a job well done too, especially during the second day of competition which saw the Austrian anthem ring out twice in the Tajik capital, for three finals.

Italy had a third day of high quality with the titles of Pirelli and Tavano, at -100kg and +78kg respectively, who dominated the competition with great panache.

Tajikistan's fourth place in the ranking of nations also underlines all the effort that has been made by the host country of this grand slam, in recent years. With seven medals gleaned during the three days of competition, Tajikistan can be proud. This pride was shared with an audience whose quality and fair play we had the opportunity to highlight several times. It can also be shared by the organisers of the event who have undoubtedly succeeded in the transition from grand prix to grand slam.

We cannot conclude this judo weekend, without mentioning the last final of the day which pitted Teddy Riner (FRA) against national hero Temur Rakhimov (TJK), who set the stadium on fire one last time. If the eleven-time world champion and double Olympic champion emerged victorious, once again it was the whole country that was behind its champion and also fully appreciated the performance of the Frenchman, with judo like we love to see.

In less than a week the World Judo Tour will stop in Kazakhstan for the last grand slam of the Olympic qualification period. There will only be the world championship left to contest and then the die will be cast. Until then, stay tuned to

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