Russian judo fans enjoyed a spectacular second day of the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam as an incredible opening ceremony was attended by the Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region, Mr Yevgeny Kuyvashev.
On the tatami, Mr Kuyvashev witnessed as Russia's Daria Davydova put the home nation centre stage on Day 2 of the thrilling tournament.
Davydova flew through her preliminaries and took on Great Britain’s Lucy Renshall in the -63kg final. A fantastic counter to Renshall’s ouchi gari attack brought the crowd to their feet, chanting for their country’s judoka as Davydova became the first Russian Champion of the tournament so far, and our Woman of the Day. Needless to say, the packed crowd were absolutely elated to have a top spot on the podium.
Davydova was awarded her medal by Mr Vasily Anisimov, IJF Ambassador and President of the Judo Federation of Russia.
"I’m really proud of myself for earning Russia’s first gold, and I’m happy the crowd and guests were here to see it. I hope that tomorrow Russian athletes will earn more golds," Daria Davydova said in an interview.
Our Man of the Day was Tommy Macias of Sweden. In the -73kg final, he took on Italy's Olympic Champion Fabio Basile, a man who had been on fire all day. It was a hotly anticipated match, while both judokas were tense and focused.
In the end, Macias bested the lightning fast Italian on the ground, with a clinical armlock, persisting until he had successfully applied the kansetsu-waza, forcing the Olympic Champion to submit. It was a great result for the Swedish judoka.
Macias was presented his -73kg gold medal by Mr Igor Sidorkevich, Deputy Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation.
"So when we got into ne-waza, and I could see his arm was lying on his back, I thought ‘OK, maybe I can take this arm now’. I went to it slowly, and I had control all the time, and I was like ‘Ok, he’s going to tap now, he’s going to tap’ then 10 seconds later he tapped," Tommy Macias said in an interview.
In the women's division, top-ranked Marie Eve Gahie took on 2017 Masters Champion Maria Portela in the -70kg final.
The French judoka doubled her golden medal tally on the Grand Slam stage by defeating the former world number one after she capitalised on a failed attack by the Brazilian, securing osaekomi, and becoming Champion at -70kg.
She was awarded her medal by Mr Sergey Soloveychik, Vice President of the International Judo Federation.
Magical Muki helps Israel top standings, historic moment for Tajikistan
Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Sagi Muki of Israel was our Champion at -81kg. He defeated former World Champion Takanori Nagase of Japan in the final seconds of the competition, a nail-biting conclusion to a fantastic contest.
Muki's win provided Israel's second gold medal of the tournament so far and helped it top the medals standings at the end of Day 2, ahead of France and Russia in second and third place respectively.
Tajikistan took their first ever Grand Slam medal in the form of Behruzi Khojazoda. He took on Brazil’s Eduardo Barbosa, catching him for a waza-ari in Golden score to make history for Tajikistan.
Move of the Day
Our Move of the Day was by Junior World Bronze Medalist Luka Maisuradze, using his natural Georgian strength.
Maisuradze lifted Frank De Wit of The Netherlands up, and planted him down flat onto his back. The young judoka won the bronze and was absolutely thrilled to take his first Grand Slam medal.