Great Britain's Gemma Howell strikes judo gold at Budapest Grand Prix

Great Britain's Gemma Howell strikes judo gold at Budapest Grand Prix
By Philip Pangalos
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Great Britain's Gemma Howell strikes judo gold on Day 2 of 2019 Budapest Grand Prix as a third gold medal helps Japan stay atop of the medals table


In the beautiful city of Budapest, judo is setting the path for other sports to follow as Day 2 of the Budapest Grand Prix 2019 got under way. Paving the way for a team of refugees to rub shoulders with judo’s elite in front of a knowledgeable and passionate crowd.

Speaking of knowledge, the country that started it all took it’s third gold medal of the competition and leads the standings thanks to Masako Doi of Japan at -63kg. Her best moment came after holding down Brazil's Ketleyn Quadros to win the gold medal in Golden Score and her first Grand Prix title after a tense battle against the Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist.

First Grand Prix title: Masako Doi of Japan won the -63kg gold medal after defeating Ketleyn Quadros of Brazil in the final

Doi was awarded her gold medal by Dr Simon Attila, CEO of Herend Porcelain Manufacturer.

Meanwhile, our Man of the Day was Akil Gjakova of Kosovo. In the -73kg preliminaries he gave an ashi waza master class, including a lightning fast de ashi barai against Japan’s Masashi Ebinuma.

Ashi waza masterclass: Akil Gjakova of Kosovo won the -73kg gold medal after defeating Georgii Elbakiev of Russia in the final

In the final he was up against Georgii Elbakiev of Russia. Yet again his ashi waza capabilities were on full display to the fans, as he threw the Russian not once, but twice.

"I was motivated, so I had a good feeling, and everything went well. We work a lot on leg techniques and everything else so I think this is not a surprise for me, but I am happy to be back like this in a good way," said Akil Gjakova in an interview.

The President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa Mr Mustapha Berraf was on hand to award Gjakova the second Grand Prix title of his career.

First IJF World Judo Tour title: Great Britain’s Gemma Howell won the -70kg gold medal after defeating Spain’s Maria Bernabeu in the final

Great Britain’s Gemma Howell vs Spain’s Maria Bernabeu was a contest of experience. This was their third meeting, and Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Howell took a 2-1 head to head lead in golden fashion and earned a first ever gold medal on the IJF World Tour making her our Woman of the Day.

London 2012 Olympian Howell now puts pressure on her -70kg teammate and Olympic bronze medallist Sally Conway in the race for the one place for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after throwing the powerful Spaniard for a waza-ari and then pinning the two-time world medallist with a sankaku-gatame to clinch the -70kg gold. 

Howell was presented her gold medal by IJF Vice President Mr Sergey Soloveychik.

"I'm just still in shock I think, I never, obviously you enter every competition to try and win it, but I just guess I never had it in my head that I actually could win it. It was a lot of deja-vu today, because obviously the World Championships were here two years ago and that didn't go so well, so yeah it's really nice to come to this really good stadium and make it a good finish," said Gemma Howell in an interview.

Teenage prodigy: Georgian Tato Grigalashvili won the -81kg gold medal after defeating Joao Macedo of Brazil in the final

The last final of the day saw the coming of age of a prodigy, as 19 year old Georgian Tato Grigalashvili, sliced through the category like a hot knife through butter to claim a first title at the highest level as he defeated Joao Macedo of Brazil in the -81kg final.

Move of the Day and Moment of the Day

And today we had one Move of the Day and one spectacular Moment of the Day.

Audacious move: Mexico’s Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz provided our Move of the Day against China's Tang Jing during their -63kg preliminary contest

The Move of the Day was an audacious tomoe nage from Mexico’s Prisca Awiti-Alcaraz, catching her Chinese opponent Tang Jing cold in their -63kg preliminary contest.

Crowd pleaser: Local hero Atilla Ungvari of Hungary won the -81kg bronze medal after defeating Austria's Shamil Borchashvili

The Moment of the Day saw local hero Atilla Ungvari earning an -81kg bronze medal for a thrilled Hungarian home crowd after he defeated Austria's Shamil Borchashvili in Golden Score of their bronze contest.

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