Turkey dominated proceedings on home tatami on day one of the Samsun Grand Prix – the fourth Grand Prix of the season.
There was an assured gold medal for the home nation in the men’s -60 kilo category as Bekir Ozlu and Ahmet Sahin Kaba battled it out for top honours – the fifth time Turkey enjoyed two fighters in an international final.
Kaba was penalised no less than four times during the fight but it didn’t really matter as Ozlu struck gold with an ippon as he did with all his other four fights leading up to the showdown.
After gold comes silver
Turkey had another sniff of gold in the women’s -48 kilo class.
Dilara Lokmanhekim was looking to deliver a second title to the host nation but she came up well short against an in form Otgontsetseg Galbadrackh of Kazakhstan.
The fight lasted only 49 seconds as Galbadrackh sent her opponent to the floor for ippon.
Yuko good enough
Turkmenistan’s Gulbadam Babamuratov celebrated her second Grand Prix success after beating surprise package Laura Gomez of Spain in the final of the -52 kilo division.
After two penalties apiece Babamuratov climbed to the top step of the podium courtesy of a yuko score – the third highest after an ippon and waza-ari.
All French final
The last final of the day was always going to end with a gold for the French contingent as teammates Helene Receveaux and Automne Pavia went head to head in the -57 kilo showpiece fight – a fight that went all the way to the wire.
In fact there was only three seconds left when Receveaux scored a waza ari against her more established compatriot to claim the victory.
The Surprise of the day came in the men’s -66 kilo contest where in the second round top seed Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan went tumbling out of the competition at the hands of Yakub Shamilov of Russia.
Shamilov’s Samsun adventure however ended at the semi-final stage.
Image of the day
There are 397 athletes from 67 nations taking part in the fourth Grand Prix of the season but our image of the day comes not from the tatami but from the stands where the atmosphere and decibel levels were raised by a few hundred local kids invited to the opening day by the Turkish Judo Federation. (Check out video above)