Japan led the way winning all but one of the medals on offer on the opening day at the Tyumen Grand Prix.
The Russian Judo Federation’s annual Grand Slam is the final event in this Olympic cycle before Rio 2016 after a gruelling two-year qualifying campaign ended in May with the World Judo Masters.
With places, rankings and seedings all confirmed for the Games, a handful of leading Rio 2016 contenders are in Tyumen while some of judo’s leading nations are using the event to blood their young ranks who they hope will become permanent fixtures in the next cycle towards Tokyo 2020.
Day one in Siberia saw seven categories contested on the two tatami as the women’s -48kg, -52kg, -57kg and -63kg categories and the men’s -60kg, -66kg and -73kg categories were all settled in Tyumen.
Japan won six of the seven gold medals at stake on day one with a top class team effort as only Musa Mogushkov could break the visitors’ golden-streak as he won -73kg gold.
The -73kg category was an all Russia affair and Mogushkov saw off his compatriot Arbi Khamkov in the final.
World number 25 and top seed Hifumi Abe was no match for Russia’s Azaur Ardanov as he bagged the second Grand Slam gold medal of his career in the -66kg final.
In the women’s -63kg category Ami NOUCHI came into the competition as an unknown but leaves Tyumen with a gold medal under her belt after beating Lisbon European Open bronze medallist Daria Davydova with a waza ari
Three-time Grand Slam winner Tsukasa Yoshida controlled Daria Mezhetckaia in the -57kg final to take gold. Mezhetckaia, 22, fell behind to a waza-ari and could not escape the clutches of Yoshida who is tipped to do well in Rio.
In the -48kg category Junior world champion Funa Tonaki from Japan was the top seed and the youngster lived up to her billing in her match against Natalia Kondratjewa from Russia.
Tonaki pinned down her rival to seal the contest with an ippon.