At the end of day one of the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, we can be proud of the continuation of the World Judo Tour, bringing not just the old guard of the Tokyo cycle to the tatami, but also introducing us to new and exciting fighters. Italy, Israel and India have all made their mark, showing their intentions for the coming months and years and it is refreshing to see. The juniors are not all on winning form yet, but we have a feeling they will get there!
Saini (IND) throwing for ippon in round 2.

-48kg: France Brings Depth

With the experience of Clement and the fire of Boukli, France is well placed in the category and continues to splinter the challengers, with only a few able to stand toe to toe with them. From one event to the next they take regular medals, alternating and promising to always give of their best.

Today’s event saw Clement beaten at the last moment, losing out for bronze to the young Serbian, who continues to impress. Boukli, however, went all the way, throwing the double world champion Bilodid for ippon in the final and showing that those two gold medals do not intimidate her one little bit. This is Boukli’s first grand slam gold and it shows the level at which she now works.

Shirine Boukli (FRA), grand slam champion


BILODID, Daria (UKR) vs, BOUKLI, Shirine (FRA)

Bronze Medal Contests

STOJADINOV, Andrea (SRB) vs. CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA)

FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP) vs. COSTA, Catarina (POR)

Final Results

1.BOUKLI, Shirine (FRA)

2.BILODID, Daria (UKR)



5.CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA)

5.COSTA, Catarina (POR)


7.NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)

-48kg podium

-60kg Classic Confrontations

At -60kg we were delighted to see some of the young Israeli athletes step on to a grand slam tatami for the first time. They didn’t make it to the final block but enjoyed a great experience in front of a home crowd.

Early in the day Russia looked ready to stamp on the group but it didn’t work out that way, with only Abdulaev reaching a bronze medal match. He won the contest by armlock and will take his place on the podium.

The other bronze medal was won by Kyrgyzbayev (KAZ), leaving Lesiuk of the Ukraine looking crest-fallen, after some great wins to reach the step before the medal rostrum. The Kazakh was dynamic yet relaxed and clearly enjoyed the win.

Azerbaijan and Georgia brought a classic judo rivalry and in the final we saw much of the creative judo we would expect from such a battle. Mammadsoy (AZE) took the lead inside the first minute, with a sacrifice throw, but that wasn’t the end of the action. A waza-ari went to Georgia before the Mammadsoy regained control to finish the match. That’s his first gold medal at a grand slam and the satisfaction was obvious.



Bronze Medal Contests


MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR) vs. ABDULAEV, Ramazan (RUS)

Final Results


2.NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)


3.ABDULAEV, Ramazan (RUS)

5.LESIUK, Artem (UKR)

5.MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR)


7.OGUZOV, Albert (RUS)

-60kg podium

-52kg Seeding? What Seeding?

Three of the top 4 seeds didn’t make it to the final block. That is enough of a surprise in itself, but the real shock was watching Great Britain’s unseeded Chelsie Giles throw the Olympic champion, Kelmendi (KOS) for ippon in the semi-final. Both athletes were clearly in disbelief but only one had a smile.

Giles (GBR) dispatches the reigning Olympic champion

Bronze medal one was fought hard for, but with the Hungarian taking the win. Pupp (HUN) beat Lopez-Sheriff (ESP) in tachi-waza to reach the World Judo Tour podium. The second was won by Kelmendi, by default, as Van Snick (BEL) was unable to proceed after a small injury earlier in the day.

The final was not one to have been predicted at the start of the day, with giant slayer Giles (GBR) meeting home athlete Gili Cohen. A robust performance from Giles saw her finish the day as it began, with a confident and well drilled strategy, backed up by plenty of sharp technique. Sankaku was the winning play, a favourite of Giles’ and that is her first grand slam gold and certainly a boost to her placing on the World Ranking List, as we edge closer the the Olympic Games.

Giles is not the only one to benefit today, with the Israeli Olympic selection teetering on the edge of the podium. A silver medal for Cohen buys her a ticket to Tokyo, while Primo has to manage a loss bigger than any medal could indicate; on home soil but taking a loss in round one from the same Brit her team-mate lost to in the final.


GILES, Chelsie (GBR) vs. COHEN, Gili (ISR)

Bronze Medal Contests

PUPP, Reka (HUN) vs. LOPEZ-SHERIFF, Estrella (ESP)

VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL) vs. KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)

Final Results

1.GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

2.COHEN, Gili (ISR)

3.PUPP, Reka (HUN)

3.KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)


5.VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)


7.GNETO, Astride (FRA)

-52kg podium

-66kg Uzbekistan Double Up

The first note here is for the Indian competitor, Saini, who won his way through to the 3rd round, where he finally succumbed to the experience of the category’s number 1, Shmailov (ISR). Saini is a beacon of hope for his country, showing that India is on the rise. He was backed up by countryman Yadav at -60kg, who also won early in the day. We can look forward to their progress now that they know they can win matches at grand slam level.

Saini (IND) faces the number 1 seed

The first bronze medal was won by Uzbek first time grand slam medalist, Nurillaev, driving a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi through for the score. The second was won following a much slower match, by his team-mate, to place both Uzbek men on the podium, much to the delight of coach Ilias Iliadis.

The final was a cautious to and fro, with neither athlete keen to open themselves up to the risk of making a mistake. Shido reigned supreme here, in favour of Spain.


MINKOU, Dzmitry (BLR) vs. GAITERO-MARTIN, Alberto (ESP)

Bronze Medal Contests

NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB) vs. MICELI, Mattia (ITA)

TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB) vs. CHOPANOV, Murad (RUS)

Final Results


2.MINKOU, Dzmitry (BLR)


3.TILOLOV, Mukhriddin (UZB)

5.MICELI, Mattia (ITA)


7.SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR)


-66kg podium

-57kg Gold For Israel to Finish Day 1

Junior world champion, Liparteliani (GEO) clearly had an excellent run in the preliminaries, beating Dzhigaros (RUS), Kuczera (POL) and world medalist Karakas (HUN) on her way to the semi-final, where a loss to the home athlete left her to face senior world medalist Kowalczyk of Poland. It was the Georgian who came out on top, with an invested and heart-felt celebration as she left the mat.

Seeded number 1, Cysique (FRA) stayed true to form, continuing her flight path upward and reaching the final. She’s looking stronger and stronger at each event and is now one of the consistent names on lists for opponents to be worried about. The final was a step too far though, as Timna Nelson-Levy gave her home crowd, coach and President something to really smile about, with an emphatic 20 second win. She was determined there would be no stopping her today.

Timna Nelson-Levy (ISR) signals to her team


CYSIQUE, Sarah Leonie (FRA) vs. NELSON-Levy, Timna (ISR)

Bronze Medal Contests


KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN) vs. STOLL, Theresa (GER)

Final Results

1. NELSON-Levy, Timna (ISR)

2.CYSIQUE, Sarah Leonie (FRA)


3.KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN)


5.STOLL, Theresa (GER)

7.GOMES, Wilsa (POR)

7.KAJZER, Kaja (SLO)

-57kg podium

Day 1 has given us domestic and international rivalry, dynamic throwing, crisp ne-waza and the full range of emotions. We are looking forward to tomorrow, with the middleweights stepping on to the tatami.

Keep up with all the action on the live stream.

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