François Gauthier Drapeau (CAN) has trained us to be used to better. Third in Paris and Tel Aviv this season, he arrived in Tbilisi with the number one seed label on his shoulders. This was not enough though. Beaten in his first match by Askerbii Gerbekov (BRN), he did not have the chance to continue in the competition.
Final, Wachid Borchashvili (AUT) vs Abylaikhan Zhubanazar (KAZ)

With his own momentum, Gerbekov reached the semi-finals, where he failed against Borchashvili (AUT), but not the Borchashvili we are used to. Indeed today was the day of the brother, Wachid, because Shamil, 6th in the world and a world and Olympic medallist, did not make the trip after his final in Tashkent a few weeks ago. To face Wachid Borchashvili, Abylaikhan Zhubanazar (KAZ) had fought hard in his half of the draw, enduring two golden scores in the process.

Final, Wachid Borchashvili (AUT) vs Abylaikhan Zhubanazar (KAZ)

After a long competition day, both competitors looked tired and that is when that little extra bit of energy can make the difference. During normal time, that little extra power was clearly on Borchashvili's side and it continued in golden score, when the Austrian judoka threw his opponent with a low seoi-otoshi for waza-ari, to win a first medal for Austria in Tbilisi and the first one for himself in a grand slam.

Gold Medallist, Wachid Borchashvili (AUT)

Orphaned from the final today, Georgia still had a chance of an additional medal, thanks to Dimitri Goshilaidze, opposed by Timo Cavelius (GER) for the gain of the first bronze medal. Goshilaidze was immediately off-pace, not capable of following the rhythm imposed by Cavelius, who scored a first waza-ari with sumi-gaeshi. The German concluded a little later with a pin for ippon, after a perfectly executed turnover, following his missed yoko-tomoe-nage attempt.

Bronze medal contest, Timo Cavelius (GER) vs Dimitri Gochilaidze (GEO)
Bronze medal contest, Victor Sterpu (MDA) vs Askerbii Gerbekov (BRN)

Victor Sterpu (MDA) and Askerbii Gerbekov (BRN) battled for the second bronze medal of the category. The first waza-ari came from Sterpu with a massive ko-soto-gari in which Gerbekov walked on to get thrown. Gerbekov then scored a waza-ari too, with a power-driven te-waza after a sequence of attacks and counter-attacks. This match looked like it would reach the end and it did not, Victor Sterpu scoring a second advantage with another fast-moving te-wza. Bronze for Victor Sterpu!

Medal, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Neil ADAMS, Refereeing Supervisor of the International Judo Federation, World Champion, and Double Silver Olympic Medallist and Mr David BODAVELI, World Bronze Medallist & European Champion

More images of the Tbilisi Grand Slam 2023 - CLICK HERE

See also