-78kg: UMEKI leads race for Tokyo 2020 with win over HAMADA
Former world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) won her second Grand Slam gold medal by beating her compatriot and the 2018 world champion HAMADA Shori (JPN) by ippon. HAMADA took the lead before offering a weak attack and UMEKI pounced to drive over the world number three for the maximum score and the most important win of her career.
In the first semi-final UMEKI pinned Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA) outside the contest area with a kuzure-kesa-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon.
In the second semi-final Asian-Pacific Championships gold medallist IZUMI Mao (JPN) lost out to HAMADA who threw with an o-uchi-gari and then held down her teammate with a tate-shiho-gatame.
The first bronze medal contest was won by IZUMI who saw off the challenge of Junior World Championships gold medallist WADA Rinoko (JPN) by a waza-ari score in the opening contest of the final block.
The second bronze medal was won by POSVITE who was superior to former world champion Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA). POSVITE dispatched her teammate by ippon to establish herself as France’s number two in the category behind world champion Madeleine MALONGA (FRA).
Bronze Medal Fights (-78 kg)
+78kg: World champion SONE is the first judoka selected for Tokyo 2020
World champion SONE Akira (JPN) defeated heavyweight legend Idalys ORTIZ (CUB) in the women’s heavyweight final to confirm selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. World number one ORTIZ finished second best against world number two SONE in a rematch of the 2019 Worlds final in Tokyo after being caught with an o-uchi-gari after two minutes of golden score.
The All Japan Judo Federation had announced that if any of their four reigning world champions secured gold in Osaka then they would be selected for the Games subject to approval from the AJJF High Performance Committee. ONO Shohei was ruled out by injury while both ABE Uta (JPN and MARUYAMA Joshiro (JPN) lost their respective finals on day one meaning that the scheduled Tokyo 2020 press conference announcements were cancelled.
ORTIZ, the standard bearer and gatekeeper of the category slipped to a 1:3 head-to-head record against the new and leading force of the division but will offer a far greater challenge on the Olympic stage next summer.
In the first semi-final Brasilia Grand Slam winner Beatriz SOUZA (BRA) lost once again to her nemesis ORTIZ via ippon from a deep seoi-nage.
In the second semi-final SONE defeated Budapest Grand Prix winner TOMITA Wakaba (JPN) after two minutes of golden score as the latter received her marching orders for a third shido for dropping.
The first bronze medal was won by former world champion ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) in the most unsatisforcy and understated fashion as TOMITA picked up her third shido for passivity with five seconds left. ASAHINA bowed to her supporters from Park 24 before a touching embrace with her dad Terry as she left the field of play.
The second bronze medal was won by SOUZA who threw with a tani-otoshi for a waza-ari score and pinned down Brasilia Grand Slam bronze medallist Julia TOLOFUA (FRA) for 10 seconds to force her way onto the last Grand Slam podium of the year.
Bronze Medal Fights (+78 kg)
-90kg: Gutsy Georgian GVINIASHVILI back to his best
Two-time World Judo Masters winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) won his first Grand Slam title since 2016 as he enjoyed a day to remember in Osaka. The world number nine fought back from going a waza-ari down against world number 57 Davlat BOBONOV (UZB) as he rolled over the Uzbek to take the final into golden score. GVINIASHVILI picked up BOBONOV for ippon in trademark Georgian fashion as he put an exclamation mark on his win by conquering the impressive Asian judoka to take the plaudits in the -90kg category.
In the first semi-final Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist GWAK Donghan (KOR) was stunned by BOBONOV. Both judoka disposed of Japanese opposition in their respective quarter-finals but it was the Uzbek who progressed to the final after throwing twice without reply.
In the second semi-final GVINIASHVILI came from behind to beat Hohhot Grand Prix winner NAGASAWA Kenta (JPN). The Japanese led by a waza-ari score from a uchi-mata before the Georgian restored parity with a sumi-gaeshi and then sealed a dramatic turnaround after finally finishing off a modified kata-guruma to advance to the final.
The first bronze medal was won by world silver medallist MUKAI Shoichiro (JPN) as NAGASAWA could not compete due to injury. MUKAI still went out to the tatami to accept the forfeited contest with a bow and smiled to his matside supporters.
The second bronze medal went to GWAK who dropped under world number six Mammadali MEHDIYEV (AZE) in golden score to throw the Azeri judoka for ippon. South Korea’s GWAK threw well all day and is returning to form at the right time having now won back-to-back Grand Slam medals on the IJF World Judo Tour.
Bronze Medal Fights (-90 kg)
-100kg: Fit-again HAGA reigns to blow race for Tokyo 2020 wide open
Former world champion HAGA Ryunosuke (JPN) put the -100kg field on notice as he won his second Grand Slam title and first since 2015. The Olympic bronze medallist, who has been plagued by injuries since Rio 2016, returned to the top of an IJF medal podium after a two-year barren spell by beating Olympic silver medallist Elmar GASIMOV (AZE). World number 114 HAGA, who started the day as the fifth-highest ranked Japanese judoka in the weight category, threw world number 15 GASIMOV with his favoured uchi-mata for a waza-ari score with 80 seconds left and the Azeri congratulated his opponent in the closing seconds in a light hearted moment which the crowd lapped up.
In the first semi-final world bronze medallist WOLF Aaron (JPN) was shocked by GASIMOV who countered the Japanese, who was shaping up for a tani-otoshi attack, with sutemi-waza for ippon and a place in the final.
In the second semi-final Universaide bronze medallist Mukhammadkarim KHURRAMOV (UZB) lost out after a spirited effort against HAGA who prevailed by a single waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal was won by Brasilia Grand Slam winner IIDA Kentaro (JPN) who recovered from being a waza-ari down to throw KHURRAMOV for ippon with 17 seconds left in the contest with his lethal uchi-mata.
The second bronze medal went to WOLF who hunted down European Games winner Arman ADAMIAN (RUS) as he countered the powerful Russian for a waza-ari score before throwing with his familiar uchi-mata to earn a place on the medal podium.
Bronze Medal Fights (-100 kg)
+100kg: Russia’s TASOEV proves to be big in Japan
Brasilia Grand Slam bronze medallist Inal TASOEV (RUS) was the last man standing in the men’s heavyweight category as he beat former Ekaterinburg Grand Slam winner OTA Hyoga (JPN) for Grand Slam gold. The 21-year-old Russian is one of the best young heavyweights in the sport and recorded the best result of his burgeoning career by beating the Japanese youngster on home soil with a waza-ari score and can now expect to be installed as his country’s front-runner for Tokyo 2020 selection.
In the first semi-final TASOEV brushed aside Grand Slam debutant KAGAWA Daigo (JPN) with ease while in the second semi-final OTA defeated Kodokan Cup winner KUMASHIRO Yusuke (JPN) after the latter was disqualified after picking up three shidos.
The first bronze medal was won by two-time Grand Prix winner KAGEURA Kokoro (JPN) who defeated KUMASHIRO with a big finish after three minutes of golden score.
The second bronze medal went to world number 56 Alisher YUSUPOV (UZB) who sensationally countered a o-uchi-gari from KAGAWA with a ura-nage for ippon. The 20-year-old Uzbek, who was coached by Uzbekistan’s new head coach Ilias ILIADIS earlier in the day, made his new supremo proud with a thunderous score to register his first Grand Slam medal and his country’s second medal on the last day in Osaka.