The Dusseldorf Grand Prix got underway on Friday with Bo Kyeong Jeong proving unstoppable in the women’s under 48 kilo category. The 24-year-old made light work of Nataliya Kondratyeva in the semis, treating the fans to a superb 12-second ippon before locking horns with Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh. The final was a tense affair as both judokas were penalised for passivity. Bo Kyeong Jeong eventually prevailed after her rival received three shidos.
Two weeks after taking bronze in Paris, Priscilla Gneto had the opportunity to strike gold in the under 52 kilo class. The French sensation showed great strength throughout the competition but failed to deliver in the final. Gnetou, who was up against Japan’s Ai Shishime, was unable to trouble her opponent and eventually lost the bout after receiving more shidos.
In the under 57 kilo category, Japan’s Kaori Matsumoto held her nerve to beat Helene Receveaux of France. The 28-year-old, who took gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, looked in control throughout the bout, sealing the win with a ippon in the third minute. The bronze medals were won by Chen-ling Lien and Britain’s Nekoda Smythe Davis.
In the men’s event, South Korea’s Won Jin Kim produced a stunning performance to claim the under 60 kilo category. The 23-year-old, who took bronze at the World Judo Championships two years ago, downed Amiran Papinashvili in the semi-finals before taking his momentum into the showpiece match, outclassing Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Smetov thanks to a clinical waza-ari.
In the under 66 kilo class, Baul An handed South Korea yet another gold medal following a convincing win over Israel’s Golan Pollack. The 2015 World champion showed great composure and stayed solid in defense with a waza-ari proving the difference between the two judokas.
The first day of competition was marked by Yadinys Amaris’ courage in the under 57 kilo final. The Colombian produced arguably the biggest upset of the day when she stunned Corina Caprioriu in the second round. Although Amaris was then outclassed by Chen-Ling Lien and Nekoda Smythe-Davis, judo fans will remember the 31-year-old’s triumph against the odds.
The opening day of the Dusseldorf Grand Prix has come to a close with spectators hoping their favourite judokas will turn on the style this weekend. We’ll be back this evening to bring you all the action from day two but in the meantime, we leave you with the best move of the day, this spectacular ippon from Yeldov Smetov in the semi-finals of the under 60 kilo category.