Day 2 of the Judo Grand Slam in Hungary starts off with a unique celebration.
For the second day of Hungary's Judo Grand Slam, over 200 Ukrainian refugee judoka living in Hungary were on the competition tatami, giving them a chance to share the same space as their Judo heroes.
The celebration was followed by a moment of silence to honour the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
President of the International Judo Federation Marius Vizer opened the event alongside Hungarian Minister of Defence H.E. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky and IJF Vice President Dr. László Toth.
Japan’s ongoing momentum and Azerbaijan’s first gold medal
In the under 63kg category, Megumi Horikawa of Japan caught Poland’s Angelika Szymanska with a swift piece of footwork, to score Waza-ari. Holding out for the win, she took her third Grand Slam Gold.
President of Montenegro H.E. Milo Đukanović was on hand to award the medals.
At -73kg, Azerbaijan’s Hidayat Heydarov shocked the current World Champion, Georgia’s Lasha Shavdatuashvili, countering him in Golden Score. He was confident and thrilled to win such a momentous match.
“Today when I woke up, I felt very fresh, and I felt that I would be in the final. And when I’m in the final, I will never give it to my opponent, so I knew I would win the Gold medal.”
He was awarded his medals by the Minister of Defence of Hungary H.E. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky.
In the under 70kg category, a perfect example of action-reaction, as Japan’s Niizoe Saki stepped over Germany’s Miriam Butkereit’s attack to score an emphatic Ippon. Local fans were excited to see such great judo and congratulated her on her performance.
She was awarded her medal by OTP Bank Chairman & CEO Mr. Sandor Csanyi.
In the under 81kg, Brazil’s Guilherme Schimidt defeated Olympic silver medallist Saeid Mollaei (Azerbaijan).
The medals were awarded by Hungarian Secretary of State for Sport Dr Ádám Schmidt.
Japan currently leads in the medals table, tallying five gold medals, followed by Azerbaijan with three (one gold, one silver, and one bronze), and Brazil with two (one gold and one silver). Hungary is currently fifth in the medal ranking, with one gold so far.
The heavyweights are on Sunday, and, judging by the local Hungarian children who were cheering on each of their heroes as they fought hard on home turf, Hungary is keen for more gold.