Home Favourite Wins Gold at Paris Grand Slam

Home Favourite Wins Gold at Paris Grand Slam
Copyright AP
By Michael Braithwaite
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First day of the Paris 2020 World Judo Championships

An incredible atmosphere at the 2020 Paris Grand Slam


Judo fans gathered in in Paris in there thousands to witness the first day of one of the most anticipated events on the World Judo Tour, the 2020 Paris Grand Slam.

There was an electric atmosphere inside the Arena, when home favourite and four times World Champion Clarisse Agbegnenou took her 6th Paris Grand Slam title and was rightfully crowned our woman of the day.

The crowd were amazing, I felt invincible because of them
Clarisse Agbegnenou

In the Final she would face Japan’s Nami Nabekura , the woman who defeated her in last year’s Masters. Agbegnenou however wasn't going to lose on home soil. A strong counter with 13 seconds remaining sealed the deal. Finishing the day on a high for the home crowd.

“It was crazy, like, just when I entered, was like just my name, like energy. It was a good mood, and I was like wow, all of these people are screaming for me. Yeah, the crowd was really amazing. Thank you very much". Agbegnenou said, "I'm so happy, I could not imagine that someone like me could have a lot of people just watching today, I was invincible because of them.”

Japan's star man produces the goods

As for the men, Japan’s Ryuju Nagayama, was the man of the day, as he continued to prove his dominance at under 60kg with a gold medal-winning performance.

After narrowly escaping a hold down from his Russian opponent, Nagayama proved his class scoring two Waza-ari’s to take the win. Firstly, with a huge Seoi Nage then his pièce de résistance - a unique Ura Nage.

A delighted Ryuju said. “To be honest, I was surprised to be caught in ground work early on in the fight, but after the moment where I escaped, I was confident and able to compose myself and do my judo.”

The under 48kg category was won by Ukranine’s World number 1, the incredible Daria Bilodid. A wazar-ari score half way through the contest was enough to overcome her Japanese opponent and earn Bilodid her second Paris Grand Slam title.

It was Her Imperial Highness Princess Tomohito of Mikasa, IJF Ambassador, who was on-hand to crown Bilodid as champion.

Returning to her old weight class at Under 52kgs Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi took gold with a late wazar-ari in the final against Italy’s Giuffrida.

Mr Francesco Ricci Bitti,President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, awarded the medals.

Canadian world champion proves her dominance

Canada’s World Champion Christa Deguchi proved too dominant for the rest of the field in the under 57kg. After comfortably working her way to the final she defeated Mongolia’s Dorjsuren via Waza-ari.

Her medal was presented by Mr Gergely Gulyás the Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office of Hungary.

Soichi Hashimoto made it two Golds for Japan on day 1, when he overcame Kazakhstan’s Smagulov in the final of the under 73kg .

And our move of the day came from Uzbekistan’s Turaev who needed just 7 seconds to dispatch of his opponent in the under 73kg bronze medal contest with a brilliant combination.

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