Japanese judoka dominated the 2019 Paris Grand Slam, topping the medals table over the course of a thrilling two-day competition despite commendable performances and a late push by hosts France and South Korea.
Over the two days, Japan garnered a total of five gold medals, three silver medals and seven bronzes, ahead of France with two golds, a silver and two bronzes, and South Korea with two gold medals and three bronzes.
Our Man of the Day was Georgia's Varlam Liparteliani, who defeated two World Champions, Cho Guham of South Korea and then, 2017 Champion Aaron Wolf of Japan.
Olympic and world silver medallist Liparteliani was crowned under 100 kilogram champion and it was his third Paris Grand slam gold medal.
"Very good atmosphere all the time because French people love judo and also this competition arena is amazing. I lost the 2018 World Championships final against Cho, in 2017 I lost the final against Wolf. Today I won against Wolf and against Cho and I'm very happy," said Varlam Liparteliani in an interview.
France's Malonga a hero on home soil
Mr Jean-Luc Rougé, General Secretary of the International Judo Federation and President of the French Judo Federation was on hand for the under 78 kilogram award ceremony, which saw our Woman of the Day on top. Madeleine Malonga was a hero on home soil as the French athlete produced some exquisite judo on her way to the gold medal match where she duly took first place after a win in the final against Luise Malzahn of Germany.
A win heralded by a chorus of cheers from Malonga's adoring Paris crowd.
"Its incredible its indescribable. It was like I was a Rock star, like I was a singer here with every one screaming 'MADELEINE! MADELEINE!' Its amazing," said Madeleine Malonga in an interview.
In the men's competition, Germany's Dominic Ressel never gave up in the final of the under 81 kilogram division, coming from a waza ari behind to score ippon against Israel's Sagi Muki.
Tears of joy for Japan's Ono, another gold for Cuban legend Ortiz
There were emotional scenes as tears of joy flowed for under 70 kilogram champion Yoko Ono of Japan as she won gold after defeating Margaux Pinot of France in the final.
In the men's competition, 2015 World Champion Gwak Dong-Han of South Korea took the under 90 kilogram title, scoring ippon against Kazakhstan's Islam Bozbayev. Gwak was awarded his gold medal by Mr Sergey Soloveychik, Vice President of the IJF.
In the women's heavyweights, Cuba's Idalys Ortiz added another gold to her incredible medal collection with a win in the over 78 kilogram division.
Cuban legend Ortiz reigned supreme as she defeated Iryna Kindzerska of Azerbaijan in the +78kg final to add the women’s heavyweight gold medal in Paris to her impressive medals collection.
And in the men's heavyweight category, there was a second gold for South Korea after Asian Games gold medallist Kim Sungmin caught Japan's Olympic silver medallist Hisayoshi Harasawa for ippon in the final of the over 100 kilogram division.
Move of the Day
Our Move of the Day came in one of the under 90 kilogram bronze medal contests as Krisztian Toth of Hungary produced a moment of trickery against Israel's Li Kochman.
9th Dan award for British judo legend Adams
British judo legend Neil Adams, a double Olympic silver medallist, 1981 world champion and five-time European champion, was awarded his 9th Dan in the AccorHotels Arena from the IJF President Mr. Marius Vizer.
Düsseldorf next stop on the IJF World Tour
The IJF World Judo Tour now heads for Germany for the second Grand Slam of the season in less than two weeks as the best judoka in the world prepare to compete at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam from 22 to 24 February.