The Tbilisi Grand Prix is well underway now and day two saw the home contingent scoop up a few medals – one of which was gold. But they all came from the men’s competition as the women were left hunting a first medal from their home tournament so far this edition.
Despite being beaten in the semi-finals by Mongolia’s Odbayar Ganbaatar, home favourite Lasha Shavdatuashvili refused to go home empty handed from the -73 kilo contest.
Much to the delight of the partizan crown he bested former Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Marcelo Contini of Brazil to win bronze – a huge ura-nage for ippon sealing the deal for the 24-year-old.
The second bronze medal went to fellow Georgian Phridon Gigani who beat Greek judoka Georgios Azoidis.
Gigani produced the first and only score of the fight in the final 12 seconds and then managed to escape a hold by Azoidis for the win.
Topping the podium in this weight category was Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Nugzari Tatalasvhili.
The European silver medallist cemented his status as Georgia’s leading man in the division by downing Ganbaatar.
He overcame a series of early penalties to eventually win with a holding technique for ippon.
It turned out to be a prosperous day for the host nation who took away three medals from the -73 kg division.
Khubetsov wins -81kg gold
Georgia only just missed out on second gold medal when Levan Gugava was beaten by defending champion Alan Khubetsov in the final of the -81 kilo category.
Russian Khubetsov took the lead with a yuko score and then sealed the win when his one-handed throw for waza-ari was immediately upgraded to ippon by the Refereeing Commission.
GB’s Howell defeat in first final appearance
In the women’s competition World number 10 Kathrin Unterwurzacher defeated Gemma Howell of Great Britain to win the -63kg title.
It was the 23-year-old Austrian’s first tournament of 2016 while it was Howell’s first Grand Prix final appearance.
Unterwurzacher recovered from a yuko deficit to restore parity with a yuko of her own before trapping the British judoka for ippon.
Polling produces the goods
The national anthem of the Netherlands blasted out of the speakers for World number one Kim Polling, who won the -70 kilo gold medal.
The European Games champion came from behind to beat world bronze medallist Fanny Estelle Posvite of France.
Although Posvite started the fight with a yuko Polling ended it by throwing her opponent for ippon with exactly a minute remaining.
Surprise and move of the day
Euronews’ Pedro Lasuen was in Tbilisi and said: ‘‘The surprise of the day is not the elimination of a pre-tournament favourite but the unexpected resistance of an unheralded judoka who came up against an Olympic champion fighting in front of his home supporters. As for the move of the day we have selected an ippon that saw Georgian Tatalashvili beat Brazilian Contini. An ippon that proved its not over ‘till its over.’‘
The Surprise of the day belongs to North Korean judoka Kim Chol Gwang who showed incredible spirit and determination in his preliminary round fight with London 2012 Olympic champion Shavdatuashvili.
Kim fought back from a waza-ari deficit to impressively level matters before his opponent narrowly emerged victorious.
The move of the day was provided by Tatalashvili who was losing his -73 kilo Preliminary round fight against Contini before delivering a remarkable ippon with seconds on the clock remaining (check out video above)