Today was a day with great judo. Lots of action and lots of beautiful ippons was the thread from the very outset.

Probably, the biggest of the day came from Alpha Oumar DJALO (FRA) against Bohdan ZUSKO (UKR). The Frenchman is proving to be a real danger. Today was his return from an injury suffered at the Osaka Grand Slam and he referred to this competition as his comeback. And what a comeback it was, throwing the ippon of the day with a huge ura nage.

Some other ippons to mention resulted in the upset of several top favorites. Georgios MARKARIAN (GRE) threw number one seed Tommy MACIAS (SWE) with a beautiful morote seoi nage. And maybe the biggest upset of today came from Barbara TIMO (POR), showing her great form throwing triple world champion Yuri ALVEAR (COL) with a maki komi.

The final block had its share of ippons. Denis IARTCEV (RUS) changed directions quickly against Georgios Markarian throwing him beautifully. One to watch on the highlights reel was from the bronze medal match between Maria PEREZ (PUR) and Yarden MAYERSON (ISR); Perez throwing her opponent with a very unusual execution of a classic o goshi.

The only thing that appeared to stop the flow of ippons was the experience and tactics displayed by some of the more established judoka. Djalo’s semi-final with Frank DE WIT (NED) came down to the edge in tactical execution. De Wit kept Djalo at a safe distance ensuring that there was little risk of being picked up. Neither fighter was able to come up with the big ippon, but the experience of De Wit was telling in the end.

It was a similar story in the contest between Antoine VALOIS FORTIER (CAN) and Anri EGUTIDZE (POR). The Canadian proved to be a touch too clever for the Portuguese, correctly anticipating his move.  

Rio 2016 Olympian Stam is a multiple-time Grand Prix medallist and former European Championships silver medallist and fought internationally for the Netherlands and Georgia. The former -70kg judoka is now part of the IJF Judo for Children programme and is part of the IJF’s World Judo Tour broadcast team.

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