The -90kg category at the Upper Austria Grand Prix 2024 was brimming with talent but it was two of the seeded players who dominated the field and produced arguably the best judo on the final day of competition. 2nd seed Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB), already a 7-time grand prix medallist and 3-time winner, and 4th seed Tristani Mosakhlishvili (ESP), winner of the Qazaqstan Barysy Grand Slam 2023, both blasted through to the final with a series of powerful throwing techniques.
Final, Tristani Mosakhlishvili (ESP) vs Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB)

Silva Morales had missed out on a podium place in each of his last six IJF World Tour events, and it was clear from his very first contest that he was on a mission to reverse his recent fortunes. He threw Adam Borchashvili (AUT) for ippon in just over a minute with a sharp tani-otoshi after feinting a forward attack. In round 3 he took a rapid tactical victory over Ian Van Herk (NED); the Dutch athlete picked up three penalties in just 90 seconds. Against 3-time grand prix medallist Li Kochman in the quarter-final, he used tani-otoshi twice more to score waza-ari and later ippon to progress to the semi-final stage.

Gold medallist, Felipe Silva Morales (CUB)

There the Cuban powerhouse met 20-year-old Giorgi Jabniashvili (GEO), a bronze medal winner at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2023. The young Georgian had impressed in the early rounds, throwing all of Roland Goz (HUN), Johann Lenz (GER), 6th seed Aram Grigorian (UAE) and 3rdseed Rafael Macedo (BRA) for ippon scores with a variety of techniques. Silva Morales, however, made light work of his plucky opponent, throwing him with a stunning o-guruma in the first minute of the contest.

Mosakhlishvili survived a scare in round 2 against Toni Miletic (BIH), going a waza-ari down to an uchi-mata from his opponent, before immediately replying with a hugging ko-soto-gake to flatten the Bosnian and score ippon. From then on, the Spaniard was more careful and made excellent use of his hip techniques; he scored two waza-aris against Lorenzo Rigano (ITA) in round 3 by following an o-goshi throw with kuzure-kesa-gatame on the ground.

Three minutes into his quarter-final contest against David Klammert (CZE), Mosakhlishvili launched his Czech opponent with another o-goshi to score ippon once again. It took him an equal amount of time to throw Robert Florentino (DOM) who had, in his quarter-final, defeated the top seed Kristian Toth (HUN).

The final between the two powerful throwers was over in just under a minute. Silva Morales countered Mosakhlishvili twice to score two waza-aris and take home an exceptional gold. The Cuban first countered an obi-tori-gaeshi attempt from the Spaniard with sumi-otoshi, before reversing an uchi-mata attempt to secure the top spot on the podium. It was an excellent display from the world number 7 who will be hoping to continue this good form all the way to the Olympic Games. With this silver medal, Mosakhlishvili moves a step closer to direct qualification for the Games.

Bronze medal contest, Krisztian Toth (HUN) vs Giorgi Jabniashvili (GEO)

The first bronze medal contest was between Toth, who defeated Klammert in their repechage contest, and Jabniashvili. The Georgian youngster came out of the starting blocks quickly, catching Toth with a hopping o-uchi-gari which scored waza-ari just 12 seconds into the contest. The Hungarian legend never managed to recover, as Jabniashvili continued to make strong attacks throughout the match, and held on to take home a well-deserved bronze medal, his first in a grand prix.

Bronze medal contest, Li Kochman (ISR) vs Robert Florentino (DOM)

The second bronze medal was settled between Florentino and Kochman, the latter having knocked out Macedo in the repechage. Kochman was utterly dominant throughout, coming close to scoring twice in the first minute, before catching Florentino with uchi-mata and later o-uchi-gari, attacks which scored him waza-ari and ippon, respectively. There were no celebrations from the world number 52 but he will no doubt be delighted with his first World Tour medal in nearly three years, one which will give him hope that he can still qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Medals, cheques and Linzer torte were presented by Mr Manuel Cortes, IJF Referee Supervisor, and Mrs Agnes Sirkka Prammer, Member of the Austrian Parliament
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