The IJF World Judo Tour touched down in Asia this week for the Tashkent Grand Prix.
For Uzbek judokas it represents the perfect time to shine on their home tatamis in front of their home support.
That’s exactly what happened in the men’s -60kg division as local youngster Mukriddin Tilovov reached the dizzying heights of the top step of the podium for the first time as a professional.
Tilovov celebrated the biggest win of his career to date by defeating Slovenia’s Matjaz Trbovc in the final courtesy of an ippon.
Japanese judoka Kengo Takaichi enjoyed overall victory in the men’s -66kg class in his first World Judo Tour start since February.
Takaichi headed into the final full of confidence having dispatched number one seed Altansukh Dovdon in the semis.
He carried that momentum into the showpiece bout against Kazakh Azamat Mukanov and sealed the win thanks to a waza-ari.
It was an all Russian affair in the women’s -48 kg final.
And as many predicted the on form Mariia Persidskaia and Lilia Lotfullina squared off in a bid to win gold.
It was eventually Persidskaia, the top seed and Sofia European Open winner, who collected the shiniest of medals beating her compatriot by ippon after just over three and a half minutes of action.
The home crowd were left somewhat disappointed following the -52 kg final when Kazakh Aigunim Tuitekova triumphed over Uzbek Diyora Keldiyorova.
The final went the full four minutes with Tuitekova the only one to register a score.
She took gold courtesy of a Yuko, the third highest score in the sport.
Russian Anastasiia Konkina upset the odds to beat top seed Manon Durbach from Luxembourg in the women’s -57 kg division.
Making her Grand Prix debut Konkina – a former Orenburg European Cup winner – sounded the warning bells to her rivals for the rest of the season by winning gold thanks to an ippon – three minutes and 22 seconds into the fight.
The surprise of the day came in the men’s -60 kilo division.
Home judoka Sharafuddin Lutfillaev was eliminated from his Pool C encounter with Kazakh Bauyrzhan Zhauyntayev.
He was awarded the ultimate penalty known as a hansoku make when he used his neck as a bridge. Although spectacular, this move is a major ‘no no’ in Judo.
The move of the day came in the women’s -48kg class.
The Judo equivalent of a knockout was delivered in style by Uzbek Nodira Gulova against Kazakh Uldana Saiyl a mere 12 seconds into the preliminary round fight.