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Judo Grand Slam: Japan, Italy and Mongolia take top spots on day 2 in Tashkent

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Judo Grand Slam: Japan, Italy and Mongolia take top spots on day 2 in Tashkent
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Uzbekistan welcomes the International Judo Federation World Tour with a passionate opening Ceremony on day 2 of the Tashkent Grand Slam. IJF President Mr Marius Vizer praised the organisers' efforts and noted the strong home team and enthusiastic crowd.

The middleweights battled it out for victory, and our woman of the day was Japan’s Tashiro Miku who flew through the elimination rounds, winning all her fights with her signature “sticky foot” or Kosoto gari. She upped Japan’s gold medal count to an impressive five with a beautiful foot sweep in her gold medal match, making this her fifth Grand Slam title.

After being awarded her gold by the President of the International Judo Federation, Mr Marius Vizer, Tashiro expressed her emotions about finally competing after a year.

“There was no significant meaning to my celebration, but I have been away from competition for a year and my emotions spontaneously came out like that as I have been holding my anxiety for not competing for a year.”

Winning his first Grand Slam gold in Tashkent, our man of the day was Italy’s Christian Parlati who defeated 2015 World Champion Nagase in his semi-final. In his final, Parlati took the fight into golden score where he dramatically managed to defeat the local favourite Sharofiddin Boltaboev, scoring wazari with a well-timed spinning ouchi gari to shock the home crowd.

President of the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan, Mr Azizjon Kamilov presented the medals and an elated Christian Parlati told reporters: “It’s really a special emotion because it’s one year without the public and I’m really happy for the atmosphere. It’s so special.”

In the under-73kg bouts, Mongolia’s Tsend-Ochir took the top spot on the podium, where Mr. Ravshan Irmatov, First Deputy Minister of Physical Culture and Sport, handed over the coveted gold medal.

The under-70kg category saw yet another Japanese gold from two-time world champion Arai Chizuru, who proved her strength and consistency once again. The President of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr Rustam Shoabdurakhmanov, donned Arai with her gold medal.

The home nation of Uzbekistan fielded a full team of athletes and have achieved four medals so far, thrilling the local crowd with spectacular ippons throughout the event, including a well-celebrated bronze medal from Gulnoza Matniyazova.

Journalist • Jim OHagan