Cuba, The Netherlands and Japan earn gold on the last day in Osaka


-78kg: SATO beats teammate UMEKI to gold

Asian Games winner SATO Ruika (JPN) won her fifth Grand Slam gold medal and registered a crucial victory in the race for Tokyo 2020. SATO defeated teammate and Budapest Grand Prix winner UMEKI Mami (JPN) in the -78kg final with a hold down to propel her forward on and make sure that she will earn selections for the biggest events on the tour next year. One-time Grand Slam winner UMEKI, who won the World Championships in 2015, remains in the hunt for the next Olympics and this domestic conundrum will go down to the last event before the Olympics in 2020.

In the first semi-final UMEKI defeated world champion HAMADA Shori (JPN) by two scores in a clear statement of intent from the former owner of the red backpatch at -78kg. In the second semi-final SATO pinned down Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Kaliema ANTOMARCHI (CUB) with a yoko-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon as the Komatsu supporters roared in unison.

The first bronze medal contest was won by 2017 world bronze medallist ANTOMARCHI who defeated Pan American Championships bronze medallist Vanessa CHALA (ECU) in golden score. Cuba’s ANTOMARCHI earned her first Grand Slam medal when CHALA was disqualified after stepping out of the area for her third penalty.        

The second bronze medal was won by HAMADA who held down 19-time Grand Prix medallist Luise MALZAHN (GER) for 20 seconds and it was all over just 42 seconds into the contest. HAMADA claimed her fifth Grand Slam medal but that was little consolation to her on her homecoming after winning the Worlds in September and with two teammates finishing ahead of her.    

Final UMEKI, Mami (JPN) vs SATO, Ruika (JPN)  

Bronze Medal Fights ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB) vs CHALA, Vanessa (ECU)                                                      HAMADA, Shori (JPN) vs MALZAHN, Luise (GER)

Final Results

1. SATO, Ruika (JPN)                                                                                      2. UMEKI, Mami (JPN)   3. ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB)   3. HAMADA, Shori (JPN)    5. CHALA, Vanessa (ECU)                                                           5. MALZAHN, Luise (GER)                    7. LEE, Jeongyun (KOR)                    7. GRAF, Bernadette (AUT)

+78kg: Cuban legend ORTIZ adds new title to her honours list

World Championships silver medallist Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) struck Grand Slam gold for the first time to win back-to-back titles on the IJF World Judo Tour. ORTIZ, who won the Cancun Grand Prix in October conquered Asian Games winner SONE Akira (JPN) in the final after the disappointing Japanese judoka was disqualified after her third shido. ORTIZ had 11 Grand Slam medals before today (five silver and six bronze) and after losing in the final five times previously, defeated three Japanese judoka on her way to a highly-satisfying gold medal.

In the first semi-final world champion ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) lost out to arch-rival SONE by a waza-ari score which was the only time the scoreboard was called upon. In the second semi-final ORTIZ surged past three-time Grand Slam winner INAMORI Nami (JPN) with ease. The Cuban needed only 60 seconds to beat the home judoka as she opened the scoring with uchi-mata-sukashi for a waza-ari and added a second from a hold down.

The first bronze medal was awarded to INAMORI who proved to be too strong for Junior World Championships silver medallist Beatriz SOUZA (BRA). INAMORI held down Brazil’s Tokyo 2020 contender with a kami-shiho-gatame and left the mat almost in tears as the occasion and significance of this event for the Japanese team was visible on her face before the heavyweight spotted some friends in the crowd and greeted them with a smile and a wave.                   

The second bronze medal was won by ASAHINA defeated world bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) with her signature sasae-tsurikomi-ashi after 71 seconds. ASAHINA won her eighth Grand Slam medal but will be unhappy with missing top spot on the podium and especially at home. CERIC meanwhile continues to be there or there abouts at the major events on the tour and is well worth her position of second place on the IJF World Ranking List.

Final ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB) vs SONE, Akira (JPN)    

Bronze Medal Fights INAMORI, Nami (JPN) vs SOUZA, Beatriz (BRA)                                                       ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN) vs CERIC, Larisa (BIH)  

Final Results

1. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)   2. SONE, Akira (JPN)                                                                                     3. INAMORI, Nami (JPN)                                                              3. ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)             5. SOUZA, Beatriz (BRA)                                                            5. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)                                                               7. MARANIC, Ivana (CRO)                    7. TSAI, Jia Wen (TPE)    


MEN -90kg: Paris winner MUKAI claims his second Grand Slam title this season

Paris Grand Slam champion MUKAI Shoichiro (JPN) won his second Grand Slam of the season after an absorbing final against former World Judo Masters bronze medallist Noel VAN T END (NED). Both men went on the attack from the outset which made for an open final. MUKAI went close with a morote-seoi-nage while VAN T END almost broke the deadlock with a o-soto-gari. Golden score was required to produce a winner and it went in favour of the Japanese after the Dutchman received his third shido for going out of the area after 19 seconds of added time.

In the first semi-final VAN T END defeated Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Eduard TRIPPEL (GER) with a deep ippon-seoi-nage. The Dutchman scored twice without reply to move into the final and guarantee his first IJF medal since January. In the second semi-final MUKAI defeated Budapest Grand Prix silver medallist Ushangi MARGIANI (GEO) after 24 seconds of golden score by a waza-ari from a picturesque morote-seoi-nage.

The first bronze medal was won by Junior World Championships silver medallist MURAO Sanshiro (JPN) who beat MARGIANI in golden score. The Georgian was able to turn out of numerous throws from the Japanese but eventually came undone in added time after picking up his third shido for a bear hug. MURAO is highly-rated by his Japanese peers and showed why by opening his medal account in his first IJF World Judo Tour event.

The second bronze medal went to TRIPPEL who threw Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Rafael MACEDO (BRA) for ippon. In a contest between two young judoka on the rise in this Olympic cycle, TRIPPEL shaped up for a uchi-mata and waited for the reaction from MACEDO and then executed a neat sutemi-waza attack to score ippon. TRIPPEL fell down to his knees in celebration and could now feature in China at the World Judo Masters next month as he will break into the top 16 on the IJF World Ranking List after earning his second Grand Slam medal.

Final MUKAI, Shoichiro (JPN) vs VAN T END, Noel (NED)  

Bronze Medal Fights MARGIANI, Ushangi (GEO) vs MURAO, Sanshiro (JPN)     TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER) vs MACEDO, Rafael (BRA)   

Final Results

1. MUKAI, Shoichiro (JPN)   2. VAN T END, Noel (NED)                                                                                3. MURAO, Sanshiro (JPN)      3. TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER)                                              5. MARGIANI, Ushangi (GEO)                           5. MACEDO, Rafael (BRA)                                                         7. SILVA MORALES, Ivan Felipe (CUB)                   7. KLAMMERT, David (CZE)          

-100kg: Former world champion WOLF earns maiden Grand Slam title

Former world champion WOLF Aaron (JPN) won -100kg gold at his home Grand Slam with a gusty performance. WOLF faced world number 73 and Grand Slam debutant Shady ELNAHAS (CAN) in the final after the Canadian revelation had defeated Japanese, Mongolian, Portuguese and Czech opposition. The Tokai University star threw 20-year-old ELNAHAS with a ko-soto for a waza-ari score and ended the final with a perfectly timed o-uchi-gari. Canada may have unearthed a gem in ELNAHAS, who finished fifth at the Junior World Championships in October, while WOLF has installed himself as Japan’s number one in the -100kg category.

In the first semi-final WOLF outfoxed Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Rafael BUZACARINI (BRA). WOLF defeated his Brazilian opponent by a single waza-ari score from a uchi-mata. In the second semi-final ELNAHAS defeated Asian Games winner IIDA Kentaro (JPN) with a thrilling display. The Canadian threw for a waza-ari and held down the Japanese for 10 seconds with a kesa-gatame to continue his miraculous run in Osaka.

The first bronze medal was won by former Paris Grand Slam champion IIDA who saw off Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist Joakim DVARBY (SWE). IIDA repeated his 2016 Japan Grand Slam bronze by throwing his Swedish rival for a waza-ari and applied a kami-shiho-gatame for 10 seconds to continue his steady climb up the rankings.     

The second bronze medal went to Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Jorge FONSECA (POR) who sent BUZACARINI through the air with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi. FONSECA has a reputation as one of the biggest throwers in the game and delivered a highlight reel ippon to win the all-Portuguese speaking contest. Former -90kg judoka FONSECA jumped for joy and screamed with delight before settling down and offering a since handshake with his familiar Brazilian foe.  

Final ELNAHAS, Shady (CAN) vs WOLF, Aaron (JPN)   

Bronze Medal Fights IIDA, Kentaro (JPN) vs DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)                                                              BUZACARINI, Rafael (BRA) vs FONSECA, Jorge (POR)

Final Results

1. WOLF, Aaron (JPN)                                              2. ELNAHAS, Shady (CAN)                                             3. IIDA, Kentaro (JPN)    3. FONSECA, Jorge (POR)                                                 5. DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)                                                                5. BUZACARINI, Rafael (BRA)                                                        7. ODBAATAR, Khangal (MGL)                   7. KORREL, Michael (NED)         

+100kg: Glory for GROL whos tops an IJF podium for the first time since 2014

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Henk GROL (NED) rolled back the years to win heavyweight gold in the last contest at the Osaka Grand Slam. GROL, who went out in the first round at The Hague Grand Prix a week ago at the hands of Alexander MIKHAYLIN (RUS), renewed his rivarly with -100kg Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) which started in 2009 when they faced off for the first time in the -100kg category. Two-time Olympic bronze medallist GROL utilised his ashi-waza to great effect as he caught KRPALEK with a ko-uchi for a waza-ari score and his first gold medal on the IJF World Judo Tour since 2014 (Budapest Grand Prix). There was no way through for KRPALEK with his sutemi-waza as GROL was alert to the threat throughout their final and the Dutchman backed up his opening win over world champion Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) with gold.

In the first semi-final Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Tamerlan BASHAEV (RUS) lost out to the veteran GROL by a waza-ari from a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi. In the second semi-final Paris Grand Slam gold medallist KAGEURA Kokoro (JPN) had to tap out to KRPALEK in golden score from a juji-gatame.

The first bronze medal was won by KAGEURA who threw 2008 Beijing Olympic champion and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar (MGL) for the maximum score after two minutes of golden score. NAIDAN, who was Olympic champion a decade ago, in a different weight category, under a different set of rules, showed his longevity once again but came up just short in his bid for a place on the podium after KAGEURA sent the Mongolian over with a harai-makikomi.  

The second bronze medal went to BASHAEV who dispatched World Championships bronze medallist ULZIIBAYAR Duurenbayar (MGL) after 90 seconds of golden score. Russia’s BASHAEV sent his Mongolian adversary over with a morote-seoi-nage for ippon to secure his second medal in a Grand Slam.      

Final KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE) vs GROL, Henk (NED)        

Bronze Medal Fights KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN) vs NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)                                                   BASHAEV, Tamerlan (RUS) vs ULZIIBAYAR, Duurenbayar (MGL)    

Final Results

1. GROL, Henk (NED)                                                                                 2. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE)                                                3. KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)   3. BASHAEV, Tamerlan (RUS)                                            5. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)                                                              5. ULZIIBAYAR, Duurenbayar (MGL)                                                        7. OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN)                   7. HEINLE, Sven (GER)

See also