Thrilled Israeli fans turned out in force at the opening event of the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Tour in 2020.
A packed stadium of ecstatic supporters witnessed a spectacular opening ceremony, which saw the competition officially opened by Mr. Sylvan Adams, Co-Host of the Tel Aviv Judo Grand Prix 2020.
Woman of the day
Kaja Kajzer was our woman of the day. The 19-year-old Slovenian took her first Grand Prix Gold in Tel Aviv, and she did it in style. Beautiful Judo all day, saw her blast her way to the Final, where she took on France’s Helene Receveaux.
Scoring a Waza-ari in golden score, the young Judoka was absolutely thrilled. We asked her what her secret was to success today.
"Maybe chocolate for breakfast," said Kajzer. "But when I came here I wasn’t feeling so good, but then I slept for one hour and then I feel perfect I had really hard fights, but I feel good like this."
Man of the day
Our man of the day was former World Champion An Baul. Looking back in dominant form, the South Korean threw his Kazakh opponent twice for Waza-ari in the final, accumulating together to become Ippon. Using his favourite technique Seoi Nage, he returned back to the top of the podium.
"Preparing for the 2020 Olympic Games," said An Baul, "I am thrilled to get the gold medal in the first competition of this year. I will prepare for the upcoming competitions one by one so that I can surely win the gold medal in the Olympic games."
Gold under 52 kg
Japan’s Maeda Chishima made short work of South Korea’s Jeong Bo Kyeong in the under 52kg final, capitalising on a failed attack to secure a hold-down, and take gold. She was awarded her medal by Mr. Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv Yafo.
Gold under 60 kg
Kim Won-Jin of South Korea took gold at the under 60kg after a contest of big throws and big escapes. Eventually, he secured a tactical victory to take his 6th Grand Prix Gold.
Having recently changed weight category from under 52 to under 48kg, Japan’s Tsunoda Natsumi wanted to prove she intended to take over, by forcing her opponent to submit with a swift armlock.
Move of the day
Our move of the day came from local hero Tal Flicker. The eventual bronze medallist in Tel Aviv at under 66kg put on a show for his fans all day. A beautiful dropping technique in the preliminary rounds was just one of the many times he brought the crowd to their feet.
The World Bronze medallist showed just how stylish his judo is, stepping across and whipping his opponent over for an emphatic Ippon.
The knowledgeable Israeli crowd came here to see the best Judo in the world, and Flicker gave them what they wanted.