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Japanese judoka dominate first day of Paris Grand Slam with four golds

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Japanese judoka dominate first day of Paris Grand Slam with four golds
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Japanese judoka dominated the first day of the 2019 Paris Grand Slam, topping the opening day's medals table with four golds, one silver and two bronzes.

A fanatical home crowd had plenty to cheer about as French ace and national heroine Clarisse Agbegnenou thrilled them with a gold medal win for France after a titanic final clash that earned her our Woman of the Day title.

Crowd pleaser: Triple world champion Clarisse Agbegnenou of France thrilled an ecstatic home crowd after defeating Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia to take gold in the -63kg final

Triple world champion Agbegnenou faced Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia, the Olympic champion, in a battle of the titans, which was decided when Agbegnenou threw for a waza ari in golden score. A fantastic moment for the world's top female judoka.

Agbegnenou was presented her -63kg gold medal by the French Minister of Youth and Sports, Roxana Maracineanu.

Japanese judoka dominate

Our Man of the Day was another triple World Champion, as three-time and reigning World Champion Naohisa Takato of Japan overcame 2015 World Champion Yeldos Smetov, countering the Kazakh for a waza ari in their -60kg gold medal contest.

Powerful performance: Three-time and reigning World Champion Naohisa Takato of Japan defeated 2015 World Champion Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan to take the gold medal in the -60kg final

Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF, awarded Takato with his gold.

"The crowd here is the most lively of all the tournaments in the world. So it's such a good atmosphere. So for me I find it easier to give my best judo here at this event," said Naohisa Takato in an interview

Elsewhere, a superb footsweep from Ami Kondo brought Japan another gold, as Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi was felled in the final of the under 48 kilogram division.

Fancy footwork: Japan's Ami Kondo took gold after defeating Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi in the -48kg final

On hand to award Kondo with her gold was another big VIP guest, Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

Flying finish: Former world champion Soichi Hashimoto of Japan was on top form once again as he won the -73kg gold after defeating Mongolia's Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir in the final

In the men's division, there was a return to form for Japan's Soichi Hashimoto at under 73 kilograms as he took gold, scoring ippon against Mongolia's Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir in the final.

All Canadian clash

Canada's World bronze medallist Christa Deguchi and her teammate and World Judo Masters bronze medallist Jessica Klimkait clashed in a tense all Canadian contest to decide the under 57 kilogram title.

Canadian clash: Christa Deguchi defeated Jessica Klimkait in a tense all Canadian contest as she won gold in the -57kg final

With Klimkait on good form, Deguchi needed a win and got one with a waza ari in the dying seconds of the contest.

"In 2018 she won the Osaka Grand slam, so that made me very nervous. Before the final I saw I was against Jessica and that was a big match that I couldn't lose. There was so much pressure, but I'm glad I won. I'm happy," said Christa Deguchi in an interview.

Moldova's Vieru wins his first World Judo tour gold

A superb ippon from Moldova's Denis Vieru against Georgia's Vazha Margvelashvili earned him his first World Judo tour gold on one of the biggest stages.

Magical moment: Moldova's Denis Vieru en route to his first World Judo tour gold medal as he battled against Georgia's Vazha Margvelashvili in the -66kg final

Awarding Vieru with his under 66 kilogram gold medal was five-time Olympic gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci.

Move of the Day

Our Move of the Day also came at under 66 kilograms, as Israel's Baruch Shmailov stunned junior world champion Manuel Lombardo of Italy with a huge ippon.

Monster move: Israel's Baruch Shmailov provided our Move of the Day as he stunned junior world champion Manuel Lombardo of Italy with a huge ippon that earned him a well deserved -66kg bronze medal

The monster move helped give Shmailov a well deserved bronze medal to treasure.

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