The first day of competition at the Antalya Grand Slam 2024 has just ended with the indisputable victories of the Abe duo, a brother and sister who had no difficulty moving through the day. Their technical and tactical mastery is impressive and it is certain that this summer they will be the ultimate favourites to succeed themselves on the highest step of the podium during the Paris 2024 Games.
Uta Abe (JPN) vs Kelly Deguchi (CAN)

This domination is the fruit of the hard work done by these two exceptional judoka since they were very young. What is impressive, beyond their ability to throw and their apparent seriousness when they are on the tatami is that in the end they take enormous pleasure from doing beautiful judo. What is even more exceptional, when we know how complicated it is to produce an exceptional champion, is that they are siblings. This level of co-ordination in their respective results has never happened before and it will probably take forever for it to happen again.

Hifumi Abe (JPN) and Walide Khyar (FRA)

We all know families of champions. Currently, on the circuit, there are for example the Deguchi sisters, the Turoboyevs and the Borchasvilis, to name a few, but two athletes like Uta and Hifumi winning their world and Olympic titles together is unimaginable. Whether they will be able to repeat their feat this summer, we will find out soon. What is certain is that they are ready and what they demonstrated in Antalya must send shivers down the spines of all their opponents. They must all have only one idea in mind: how to thwart the Abe's infernal plan.

It nevertheless remains true that everything is always possible and that if everything were written in advance, we would lose a little magic. Although, let's be honest, seeing Uta and Hifimu produce the judo they produce is simply magnificent and magical.

In the precision of their kumi-kata, in the preparation of attacks and in their execution, and in their tactical management of the contests which do not allow them to win immediately, there is excellence. It is obvious that they are talented. Without an innate gift for judo, neither of them would have reached this level, but above all there is work, work and more work.

A few years ago, during the filming of an episode of the series 'The Art of Judo,' we met Uta Abe at her high school. On the tatami she was already a veritable machine, with each repetition of her uchi-komi an exact replica of the previous and the next. There was clearly an attention to detail in its purest form. Uta breathed judo, lived judo, but above all she enjoyed judo.

Today, both of them once again dominated the debates, they showed the full extent of their talent. One will have to be very, very strong to dethrone them in Paris and that is what makes the competition so attractive and exciting. We can't wait to meet again this summer to see if they can add another pair of titles to their already well-established legend status or if someone is capable of denting this beautiful mechanism. For this alone, the second day of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games promises to be fantastic.

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