19-year-old double world champion Uta Abe was back in action on the first day of the 2020 Dusseldorf Grand Slam at the ISS Dome.
She was victorious in Düsseldorf three years ago, when she became the youngest ever winner of an IJF World Tour event.
Now in 2020, she dispatched her opponents away with ease to sail through to the Grand Slam final, where she met rival Amandine Buchard for the gold medal match.
Buchard most recently defeated Abe in Osaka last November to take the coveted medal.
This time, however, Abe once again reigned victorious — taking the head-to-head record between the two judoka to an impressive 5-1.
Her medal was presented by Uemura Haruki, President of Kodokan and IJF World Promotion Director.
She said: “I was a lot more nervous at the Grand Slam Osaka and this time I was more relaxed, and I was determined to win.”
There was success elsewhere in the family as Uta’s brother Hifumi Abe, also a double world champion, was having a stellar day in Germany.
Looking impossible to defeat throughout his preliminaries with his incredible attacking judo, Hifumi looked as if he was back on his championship form.
He stormed through the semi-final stage to meet Georgian powerhouse Vazha Margvelashvili in the final.
There, with a powerful O-goshi, Hifumi secured his impressive eighth Grand Slam gold.
Presenting his medal was Yasuhiro Yamashita, IJF Development Director and IOC member.
“I’m always going for the ippon and I was able to do this in the final and that’s what led to my win,” he said.
Elsewhere in the tournament, after narrowly missing out on a medal in Paris, France’s Shirine Boukli overpowered world champion Funa Tonaki to take the top spot on the Düsseldorf podium.
In the under 60 kg category, Japan’s triple world champion Naohisa Takato blasted through his semi-final with an incredible sode-tsurikomi-goshi and eventually took the gold medal by default as his opponent Yang Yung Wei of Chinese Tapei could not compete due to an injury.
Her medal was presented by Robert Van de Walle, Olympic Champion and IJF ambassador.
Canada’s Jessica Klimkait secured the gold medal at under 57 kilograms, beating France’s Sarah Leonie Cysique.
And the move of the day was a truly spectacular sode-tsurikomi-goshi from Russia’s Abdulzhalilo.