The first day of the IBSA Judo Grand Prix Tbilisi 2024 brought the last opportunity for lightweight VI athletes to gain points towards Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Until the final block, all athletes were composed. When it came to the medal bouts, they had a different appearance as their emotions erupted, showing their final relief of not only potentially making it to the Summer Games but also exhibiting the weight lifted from their shoulders, knowing they had come to the end of a Paralympic cycle.

J1 -60kg Kapil Parmar (IND) verified his current standing at both IBSA world and Paralympic ranking, claiming the gold medal in Tbilisi. During the final he overcame his Brazilian opponent Elielton De Oliveira within 20 seconds thanks to a well-timed tai-otoshi. Based on Parmar’s record and consistency, the rest of the group will need to pluck up additional courage if planning to defeat the Indian VI judo ace at the upcoming Summer Games.

1. PARMAR, Kapil (IND) 2. DE OLIVEIRA, Elielton (BRA) 3. BOUAMER, Abdelkader (ALG) 3. ZHU, Shiwen (CHN) 5. BLANCO, Marcos Dennis (VEN) 5. JUNAEDI (INA)

J1 -73kg The final of this weight class saw a further rematch between two highly skilled competitors, with Florin Alexandru Bologa (ROU) and Lennart Sass (GER) facing off once more. Bologa had held the upper hand in their head-to-heads but Sass managed to defeat the current IBSA world champion in February 2024. At the Tbilisi Olympic Palace, the Romanian judoka scored waza-ari with a little less than two minutes to go. For the remainder of the contest Sass was seeking both a score and penalties off the grip for his opponent, demonstrating his complete dominance over his opponent. Nevertheless, Bologa managed to persevere for a sufficient length of time to conclude his final Paralympic qualifier with a victory.

1. BOLOGA, Florin Alexandru (ROU) 2. SASS, Lennart (GER) 3. PEREIRA ARRUDA, Harlley Damiao (BRA) 3. CAMANNI, Dong Dong (ITA) 5. MAMEDOV, Shokhrukh (UZB) 5. GAUTO, Eduardo (ARG)

J1 -48kg The most impressive performance of the final block of this weight class was delivered by Japan’s Hangai Shizuka, who had previously been on the cusp of qualifying. She approached this final opportunity with the utmost seriousness and emerged triumphant, securing the bronze against Anna Tabea Müller (GER), who was similarly in need of qualifying points.

1. NIKOLAYCHYK, Nataliya (UKR) 2. DE ANDRADE, Rosicleide (BRA) 3. HANGAI, Shizuka (JPN) 3. TASIN CAVDAR, Ecem (TUR) 5. MULLER, Anna Tabea (GER) 5. LEDESMA DURE, Roclo Silvana (ARG)

J2 -48kg A serious clash for qualification points continued with Kokila (IND) and Cahide Eke (TUR). The latter took matters into her own hands, winning by an armlock within the first minute of their bout. Eke’s thriving celebration showed just how much this bronze medal win meant to her. The final might have set the tone ahead of the main event as Li Liqing(CHN) also armlocked Paris 2024 medal hope Sandrine Aurieres Martinet (FRA). It only took 24 seconds for Li to claim victory.

1. Li, Liqing (CHN) 2. AURIERES MARTINET, Sandrine (FRA) 3. IVANYTSKA, Yuliia (UKR) 3. EKE, Cahide (TUR) 5. BRUSSIG, Carmen (SUI) 5. KOKILA (IND)

J2 -57kg Everything went according to plan in this weight category and all the medallists added to their existing qualifying positions. If anyone needed this particular medal win it was Wang Jianan (CHN) as she was hovering around the edge of the qualifying zone. Beating Ramona Brussig (GER) for the bronze medal was equally important as the German judoka is just behind Wang on the ranking.

1. FEDOSSOVA, Dayana (KAZ) 2. KHODJAEVA, Kumushkhon (UZB) 3. ARCE PAYNO, Marta (ESP) 3. WANG, Jianan (CHN) 5. ARAUJO, Lucia (BRA) 5. BRUSSIG, Ramona (GER)

J2-60kg The host nation had their first opportunity to secure a medal via Zurab Zurabiani who rose to the occasion and delivered Georgia’s first IBSA grand prix medal of the day. The final was expected to bring fireworks with the Uzbek duet competing for the last time under official settings to determine who will claim their ticket to Paris. Kemran Nurillaev secured a juji-gatame against Sherzod Namozov in just 27 seconds, demonstrating his ability to compete at the highest level. This weight category also saw Tokyo Paralympic champion Vugar Shirinli (AZE) stumble twice, preventing him from securing a podium finish. It is anticipated that the Paris 2024 Paralympics will feature spectacular performances in this weight category. It would be unwise to speculate on the outcome.

1. NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB) 2. NAMOZOV, Sherzod (UZB) 3. KHORAVA, Davyd (UKR) 3. ZURABIANI, Zurab (GEO) 5. SHIRINLI, Vugar (AZE) 5. DA SILVA, Thiego (BRA)

J2 -73kg Giorgi Kaldani won the second and final medal for Georgia on the first day. It was a well-deserved medal as after five tough bouts Kaldani stunned his opponent Feruz Sayidov (UZB) for bronze within 24 seconds. Lithuania's only VI entry also ensured an authentic representation, winning bronze against Uchkun Kuranbaev (UZB). Japan's Seto Yujiro ended the day with a classic seoi-nage to win gold and to move to the top of the Paralympic ranking.

1. SETO, Yujiro (JPN) 2. PETIT, Nathan (FRA) 3. KALDANI, Giorgi (GEO) 3. BAREIKIS, Osvaldas (LTU) 5. SAYIDOV, Feruz (UZB) 5. KURANBAEV, Uchkun (UZB)

Several VIPs visited on the first day of the event, including Rati Ionatamishvili - President of the Georgian Paralympic Committee, Leri Khabelovi - President of the Georgian Olympic Committee, Irakli Gvilava - head of the Sport Department in the City Hall of Tbilisi and Mr Ilgar Rahimov – President of the International Blind Sport Association.

The second and final day of the event will bring action from all upper weight divisions. The preliminary rounds will begin at 10:00 local time with the final block starting at 15:00, also local time. Follow all the action live online via

Photos © Zakaria Chelidze

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