The third and final day of the 2019 Marrakech Grand Prix saw fans treated to some fantastic judo in Morocco.
Benjamin Fletcher of Ireland was our Man of the Day, storming his way to the -100kg final, throwing in every direction in a fantastic display of judo.
In the final, Fletcher brilliantly countered Toma Nikiforov of Belgium in golden score to secure the top spot on the podium.
A second world tour medal of the year for the Irishman, continuing his assault on the world ranking list at -100kg. It was an especially happy tournament for the Fletcher family as Ben’s older sister Megan won a career-best silver medal on Saturday, earning the Fletcher household two medals in Morocco.
"It’s something I pride myself on, having good conditioning. Like last year I went up to Colorado Springs to train at altitude, and some people thought do you really need to do that? It’s moments like that today where it’s really that delayed gratification thing. Where 8 months later I’m stood here thinking you know, that was the right thing to do," Benjamin Fletcher said in an interview.
Elsewhere, an incredible uchi mata saw Germany’s Anna Maria Wagner into the -78kg final.
There, she became our Woman of the Day by defeating Kosovo’s Loriana Kuka with another uchi mata. A maiden world tour title for the young German.
"I feel amazing. It’s so good after Dusseldorf, where I got silver, to stand here on the top and win gold," Anna Maria Wagner said in an interview.
In the -90kg category, former World Champion Nemanja Majdov took the top spot. Recently back on the tour, the Serbian came to Morocco to show he intends to reclaim his title later this year.
Majdov overcame Germany’s Eduard Trippel with a driving uchi mata to earn the Marrakech Grand Prix title.
In the women's heavyweights, Kayra Sayit of Turkey claimed the gold in the +78kg division. She came through a tough final against Tessie Savelkouls of The Netherlands to take Turkey’s only gold of the event.
Second gold of the day helps Germany top medals standings
In the heaviest men’s category, Sven Heinle of Germany reigned supreme as he executed fast footwork followed by brilliant persistence on the ground to take gold at +100kg after he defeated Yerassyl Kazhybayev of Kazakhstan in the final.
Heinle's win marked a second gold of the day for the impressive German team and helped put Germany on top of the overall medals **standings** at the end of the three-day tournament, edging ahead of Uzbekistan and France in second and third place respectively.
Moves of the Day
Both our Moves of the Day came at under 90 kilograms and each of the protagonists earned a bronze medal. The first was from Quedjau Nhabali of the Ukraine.
And it came as Agadir Grand Prix bronze medallist Nhabali eased past Poland's Tomasz Szczepaniak in their bronze medal contest.
The second was historic. In a frenetic and exciting contest, Robert Florentino spectacularly countered France’s Aurelien Diesse for ippon and was overjoyed as he had just earned The Dominican Republic their first ever World Judo tour medal.
Judo once again showing its universality as another nation joins the ever growing list of medal winners in the sport. What a great way to end a fantastic Marrakech Grand Prix.