Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili achieved a career first as he won Grand Prix gold for the first time and finally looked at home in the -73kg category.
The Georgian Judoka – who won gold in the 66kg event at London 2012 – defeated Mongolian legend Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar to earn much-needed Olympic qualification points.
The 23-year-old scored with a persevering ouchi-gari as Khashbaatar could not hold the Georgian off for a waza-ari score.
Both judoka are idols in their own countries and revered around the world but the top place on the medal podium belonged to Shavdatuashvili who scored a second waza-ari with an ura-nage.
Shavdatuashvili said: “Today I won my first Grand Prix gold medal which is something I have wanted for a long time. After I changed categories from -66kg to -73kg I started really badly at my new weight. It was hard to adjust, I needed to change a lot of things and develop my power.
“There were some low points for me but now I feel more comfortable. KHASHBAATAR is someone I have a lot of respect for as a champion and a person, he is a great sportsman and I look forward to our next meeting.”
Looking to the -81kg final it was an all Hungarian affair as Krizsan Szabolcs defeated teammate Csoknyai Laszlo in a repeat final and outcome of the Tunisia African Open.
The Hungarian colleagues cancelled each other out for all five minutes and could only be separated on shido penalties. Both men will now move up the world rankings.
KRIZSAN said: “This is a very meaningful result for me because there are three strong fighters in this category in Hungary and we’re all at a similar position on the ranking list. I have earned 300 points today and that is crucial for me to try and position myself as the number one at my weight.”
Moving over to the women’s 63 kg event Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia saw off current world champion Clarisse Agbegnenou of France.
This was the Slovenian’s first victory over Agbegnenou in four meetings.
Both fighters traded strong moves but in the end it was a 15 second ground hold that secured Trstenjak the victory.
Trstenjak said: I know I beat the current and former world champions today but to me this is already in the past and I now look forward to fighting in my next event which I will determine with my coaches.”
Meanwhile up at 70 kg Israel’s Linda Bolder won her second Grand Prix title of the year as Sally Conway of Great Britain had to settle for silver.
Bolder chopped down her opponent with ashi-waza and applied osaekomi after countering the ne-waza efforts of her highly-regarded opponent.
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