Explosive judo and powerhouse performances dominate thrilling final day of Budapest Grand Prix 2019 as Japan tops medals standings with five gold wins
The third and final day of the Budapest Grand Prix 2019 saw the reigning -90kg World Champion Nikoloz Sherazadishvili of Spain become our Man of the Day.
Sherazadishvili has been going through a tough period, so he came to Budapest to win. And he was on fire all day, dispatching of all of his opponents with big throws to reach the final.
In the final, he would be up against Japan’s Shoichiro Mukai in what was an extremely entertaining and tactical fight. In Golden Score, Sherazadishvili would take the win via ippon, brilliantly countering Mukai’s attack.
"We were both very nervous, we know each other very well. I felt he’d prepared for me as well as I’d prepared for him. It was a very tactical final. With not many attacks but very very tough," said Nikoloz Sherazadishvili in an interview.
The President of the International Judo Federation, Mr. Marius Vizer, was present to award the Spaniard his medal.
Our Woman of the Day was Wakaba Tomita of Japan, a former junior World Champion. Despite being one of the lightest in the +78kg category and despite this being her Grand Prix debut she showed great maturity to take the win, defeating Nihel Cheikh Rouhou of Tunisia to earn her first senior IJF gold medal in a category boasting World and Olympic Champions.
"Since my opponent was much bigger and stronger than me, I knew I had to concentrate on my gripping, and make sure that I didn’t get beaten in the gripping battles," said Wakaba Tomita in an interview.
Japan's Aaron Wolf, 2017 World Champion, was up against Grigori Minaskin of Estonia in the -100kg final. Wolf would prove to be too much for Minaskin as he threw him with uchi mata to claim the title.
Olympic Champion and Double World Boxing Champion, Mr. István Kovacs was on hand to give the medal.
The gold win would help Japan easily top the medals standings at the end of the three-day tournament with five golds and three silvers, ahead of Brazil in second with two golds and two silvers, and Kosovo in third with one gold and two silvers.
Double world champion Mayra Aguiar of Brazil won the -78kg title, after booking her place in the final with a spectacular throw against Kaliema Antomarchi of Cuba in the semi-final. In the final Aguiar defeated World Judo Masters silver medallist Ruika Sato of Japan in Golden Score.
Israel’s Or Sasson and Japan’s Kokoro Kageura contested +100kg gold. It would be Sasson who would get the better of his Japanese opponent and take the win after throwing him with kosoto gake to win his fourth Grand Prix title.
Dr György Szöllősi, President of the Hungarian Sportswriters’ Association, presented Sasson with his gold medal.
Move of the Day
Our Move of the Day was an outrageous uchi mata from former World Champion Avtandili Tchrikishvili of Georgia against Piotr Kuczera of Poland in Round 1.
Overall, judo fans agreed that it was an amazing weekend of judo in Hungary.