The 'King of Judo' is back. And on the third and final day of the 2019 Montreal Grand Prix, 10 times World, and 2 times Olympic Champion, a man who hasn’t lost in over 100 contests, France's Teddy Riner was here to show his almost two year absence has changed nothing.
But it wasn’t a smooth ride. The -100kg Olympic Champion Lukas Krpalek took the fight to him in the semi-final. But Riner was victorious after a tough match went into Golden score.
In a rematch of the Rio Olympic final, against Japan’s uchi mata merchant Hisayoshi Harasawa, Riner took another tight victory, winning the +100kg gold and crowning him our Man of the Day.
Our Woman of the Day was reigning World Champion Shori Hamada, who was on fire all day. Not having won a tournament since being crowned World Champion, she was clearly determined.
In the -78kg final she continued her fine form, as she defeated Russia’s Aleksandra Babintseva with a powerful uchi mata inside the first minute of the contest. Taking another gold medal for Team Japan, and setting her sights on Tokyo.
Another Olympic Champion put on a display in Montreal. This time it was Mashu Baker of Japan. In the -90kg final, he defeated Colton Brown of the USA, executing a clever counter in the final moments of the contest.
And there was yet more gold for Japan, as another World Champion attended Montreal in the lead up to Tokyo. Sarah Asahina countered Israel’s Raz Hershko in the final, to stake her claim as the queen of the +78kg category.
Japan easily topped the final medals table standings with a total of 7 golds, one silver and one bronze, ahead of hosts Canada in second with one gold, four silvers and four bronzes, and Israel in third place with one gold, one silver and two bronzes.
Ramadan Darwish was incredible all day. He took on home favourite Shady Elnahas, and had a super start, countering his opponent to bring Egypt their first medal of the tournament and it was -100kg gold.
Move of the Day
But alongside his silver medal, Elnahas had much to celebrate, including performing our Move of the Day on World Medalist Karl-Richard Frey of Germany.
Known for his dangerous hip throws, the home favourite displayed exactly why, with an outrageously large technique bringing the home crowd to their feet.
This was one of many times the stadium was filled with a cacophony of sound from the knowledgeable and excited Canadian people. It certainly was a fantastic debut tournament in Montreal.