The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam is like a beachside restaurant announcing the last course. There is little left until dawn and that will be the twilight of the strangest and most exotic season in memory. Customers still don't want to go home, they prefer to extend the party and it is understandable because the doors will be closed for two months. That's a long time, in the dead of winter, cold and dark. It is the diner of last hopes.
Lasha Shavdatuashvili

There are regular customers, those who do not miss any party. Others are new and they like the place. There are those who come to celebrate a sensational season and others who seek encouragement at the last chance of the year. Whatever it is, there is room for everyone. By the way, the restaurant is called World Judo Tour, but everyone knows it as WJT. 

Lasha Shavdatuashvili is very well known. He is a VIP customer. The Georgian has a reserved table because he is world champion at –73kg this year. As there are others with the same title, the direction specifies that he is also an Olympic and European champion. Abu Dhabi is for him a finishing touch to an extraordinary campaign in which he has also won Olympic silver. 

Matthias Casse in white judogi

Matthias Casse has been stumbling around since September. The Belgian was proclaimed world champion in Budapest and won the Olympic bronze in Tokyo. Since then he has been walking without pain or glory and has as a pending issue to beat the Japanese, who will not be in Abu Dhabi. 

French star Amandine Buchard is Olympic runner-up at -52kg and champion in the team competition. Abu Dhabi will be her first tournament since Tokyo; she is part of the clientele that wants to say goodbye to an excellent 2021 with a great party. 

The same can be said of Raz Herschko, +78kg and Primo Gefen, -52kg, who rode the train of success a bit late but finished the year among the most regular on the circuit. A fight between Buchard and Primo would be a very popular ending for regulars at this establishment. 

Shady Elnahas is already preparing for 2022. Abu Dhabi is for him the springboard that should catapult him to the top of the –100kg category. Finish well to start taking advantage of the favourites better, those who have shone in 2021 have not appeared at the restaurant for months. 

Amandine Buchard in white judogi

These are the illustrious. There are also customers who have not been partying much, due to age, competition or injuries and others who are visiting the menu for the first time. In total there are 253 clients, 152 men and 101 women. They are remarkable numbers for what has already been this year, with some continental championships, the worlds and the Olympic Games happening, with little rest; a dense year that announces more or less the same for the next because if the season will begin in February, the Olympic cycle will begin in May and since it will be only three years, there will be a queue to enter the place.  

Abu Dhabi is just right, an elegant and charming restaurant, overlooking the sea, where the sun will soon rise and everyone will go to sleep until the maître puts up the open sign again. 

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