In his quarter-final Teddy Riner was pushed a little. We can only say a little because although he was never at risk, the bell of normal time was passed, uneventfully, with two yellow cards on the board for Gamzatkhanov (AZE) who was not as active as is necessary. Thirty seconds into golden score and Riner attacked and without a powerful defence the Azerbaijani bailed, buckling to the floor and without hesitation Teddy stepped through and hooked for an o-soto-gari to score waza-ari and move to the semi-final.
Riner - a true inspiration for the whole judo family! The king is back 👑 🇫🇷— Judo (@Judo) February 5, 2023
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The number one seed of the category, Tushishvili, suffered early, being drawn against Ota, an unseeded but not unknown Japanese competitor. Ota then continued to build his momentum, winning another 3 contests against Brazilian, Uzbek and Korean opponents to reach a much anticipated final against the great king of the Bercy, Mr Riner.
Against Yusupov (UZB) there was a less clear-cut victory in the semi-final than Teddy had been used to through the rest of the day, with a win on penalties having to do. Teddy headed into that final against Mr Ota who is fresh from a win at the Tokyo Grand Slam. It shouldn’t be easy!
A minute into the final and the first shido was given to Ota for blocking and after another 25 seconds there was a second. Teddy changed nothing and risked nothing but with so much at stake can anyone blame him. At the halfway point Ota put in his first attack, an uchi-mata, but to no avail, Teddy was too strong. The third Japanese shido came shortly after a first for Teddy.
There wasn’t a doubt that it would happen but to say ‘I was there’ is something several thousand judo fans can now say, having witnessed Teddy Riner winning his 7th Paris Grand Slam title, ten years after he won his 5th.
For the first bronze medal Bakhtiyorov and Yusupov took to the tatami in an all-Uzbek and coach-free contest. Yusupov was the victor by ippon but it wasn’t a direct or easy win as there was already a waza-ari apiece prior to the decider being scored.
The second bronze medal was fought for by Roy Meyer (NED) and Jaegu Youn (KOR). Youn made it to the podium to close a very positive overall tournament for the Korean team who ended the weekend 5th on the medal table with one gold and 4 bronze medals.