Judo Grand Slam: Georgian judoka take early lead in Tbilisi

Judo Grand Slam: Georgian judoka take early lead in Tbilisi
Copyright  Markus Schreiber/Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu
By Nicolas Messner, Jo Crowley, Pedro Lasuen  with IJF

Slick judo displays all around leave five countries with five gold medals at the close of day 1 at the International Judo Federation's 2021 Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Slick judo displays all around leave five countries with five gold medals at the close of day 1 at the International Judo Federation's 2021 Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia.

There is no crowd at the Tbilisi Grand Slam, in keeping with the need to preserve the health of the community, but there are, however, three tatami and offensive, risky judo on offer.

After one day of competition, Georgia already takes the lead with three finals for one gold medal, but Uzbekistan and Italy are not far behind, with only one silver medal difference, while Mongolia and Kosovo are close too. The results show a great diversity of countries, with 5 countries having already won at least one gold medal. Altogether, 14 countries won a medal on day 1 and 23 were represented in the final block.

In judo circles, Georgia is sometimes known as 'the land of Champions' and Temur Nozadze certainly lived up to that title, showing the World what Georgian Judo is all about. The young and explosive fighter tore through the competition with one spectacular throw after another. After narrowly missing out on Gold in Tel Aviv last month, Nozadze stood atop his first Grand Slam podium, doing his home country proud.

“It is a big honour for me to fight here in my home of Georgia, it inspires me to work even harder to fight in the biggest and most epic tournaments in the World," the under-60kg champion told reporters.


NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB) vs. NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)

Bronze Medal Contests


HUSEYNOV, Karamat (AZE) vs. SIMEONIDIS, Konstantin (RUS)

Final Results

1. NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)

2. NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB)

3. HUSEYNOV, Karamat (AZE)


5. SIMEONIDIS, Konstantin (RUS)

5. TSJAKADOEA, Tornike (NED)

7. ENKHTAIVAN, Ariunbold (MGL)


-52kg: GIUFFRIDA Stops GILES For Gold

The under 48kg Veteran

The light categories opened the competition that will end on Sunday, with the enthusiasm of the newcomers and the determination of the old guard. There was particular interest in seeing Mongolian Urantsetseg Munkhbat who was tipped as the woman to beat in Tbilisi. Following on from her third place in Doha, during the World Judo Masters and her title in Tashkent two weeks ago, the Mongolian, world champion in 2013 and still very competitive, qualified once again for the final of a World Judo Tour event. This secured her a 39th medal on the circuit, not counting her three world medals.

Spanish rivalry and the underdog

We also expected the confrontation between the two Spaniards, Laura Martinez Abelenda and Julia Figueroa, while they still race towards an Olympic selection. It was Julia Figueroa who seemed to gain the upper hand over her compatriot on the other side of the draw, as she qualified for the semi-final, but her road to the podium was suddenly blocked when she was defeated by the Italian Francesca Milani, who was not among the seeds when warming up at the beginning of the day. With no record on the World Judo Tour so far, Milani can certainly be proud of an amazing competition day.

Unsurprisingly Urantsetseg Munkhbat won the gold medal but Milani certainly gave it her all with courage and determination. The seasoned Mongolian was too powerful for her young opponent and after several attempts on the floor, finally concluded with an immobilisation that was awarded ippon, just one second before the end of the match.

Laura Martinez Abelenda and Julia Figueroa thus eventually met for the bronze medal. Knowing one another perfectly, it took more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds for Figueroa to finally score with a beautiful o-uchi-gari, to reinforce her lead over her teammate for the Olympic qualification.


MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL) vs. MILANI, Francesca (ITA)

Bronze Medal Contests


COSTA, Catarina (POR) vs. STANGAR, Marusa (SLO)

Final Results

1. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)

2. MILANI, Francesca (ITA)

3. FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP)

3. STANGAR, Marusa (SLO)

5. COSTA, Catarina (POR)


7. PETIT, Lois (BEL)

7. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)

Italy versus Britain in under-52kg heat

Silver medallist at the last Olympic Games, Italian judoka Odette Giuffrida, also winner of the 2020 European Championships, perfectly fulfilled her role as the favourite at this Grand Slam. She qualified for the final against the Brit Chelsie Giles, gold medallist in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, thus demonstrating that her victory in Israel was not by chance.

Almost ten minutes were necessary for Odette Giuffrida to stop Chelsie Giles from winning her second grand slam gold medal in a row, but that was close as neither of the two champions was able to find the slightest throwing opportunity, between the failed tai-otoshi attempt of the Italian and the no more successful uchi-mata of Giles, both showed they are getting ready for the Olympic rendezvous this summer and since the Italian already did it five years ago in Rio, anything is possible.


GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA) vs. GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

Bronze Medal Contests

RAMOS, Joana (POR) vs. PIMENTA, Larissa (BRA)


Final Results

1. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)

2. GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

3. PUPP, Reka (HUN)

3. RAMOS, Joana (POR)


5. PIMENTA, Larissa (BRA)

7. DELGADO, Angelica (USA)

7. VAN KREVEL, Naomi (NED)

-66kg: Georgian Judoka Surprises Everyone

In the -66kg category final we again found a Georgian athlete, Vazha Margvelashvili. This is not really a surprise since the bronze medallist of the last World Judo Masters was seeded number one in the competition. In the final, he faced the number 4 seed, Uzbek Sardor Nurrilaev, who climbed up one more level after his bronze medal in Tashkent two weeks ago.

It took only 20 seconds for Nurrilaev to score an impressive ippon after he had engaged an o-uchi-gari that went outside the fighting area, but in a brilliant change of direction, Nurrilaev transformed the backward momentum into a brilliant uchi-mata. Margvelashvili could only look at the referee with astonishment. The ippon was crystal clear and a good example of the fact that you should never relax until the referee actually says: 'mate'.

Medal, flowers and cheques were presented by Mr Giorgi Atabegashvili, President of the Georgian Judo Federation and Mr Udo Quellmalz, IJF Refereeing Supervisor, Olympic and double World Champion



Bronze Medal Contests

NINIASHVILI, Bagrati (GEO) vs. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)

PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS) vs. VIERU, Denis (MDA)

Final Results

1. NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB)


3. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)

3. PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS)


5. VIERU, Denis (MDA)


7. TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB)

-57kg: GJAKOVA Shows Strength to Win Gold

A Georgian athlete in the final illustrated once again the rise of local female competitors. Eteri Liparteliani is not a complete unknown however, having been junior world champion in 2019. She continues to assert herself on the World Judo Tour and won a beautiful bronze medal in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago. We must also remember that in the semi-final she eliminated the reigning world champion, the Canadian Christa Deguchi, who returned to competition at this grand slam. In the final, Liparteliani found Kosovan Nora Gjakova, another regular on the international circuit.

The least we can say is that both women put an incredible amount of energy and power into the final and into controlling the upper part of the body. In that game, Gjakova came out on top. After scoring a waza-ari, she controlled the rest of the match to win the gold. It is now certain that it is not the last time that we will see LIPARTELIANI at that level of competition.

Medal, flowers and cheques were presented by Dr Lisa Allan, Events Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Shengeli Pitskhelauri, World Bronze Medallist & European medallist



Bronze Medal Contests


PERISIC, Marica (SRB) vs. DEGUCHI, Christa (CAN)

Final Results

1. GJAKOVA, Nora (KOS)


3. DEGUCHI, Christa (CAN)


5. KAJZER, Kaja (SLO)

5. PERISIC, Marica (SRB)

7. KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS)

7. NASCIMENTO, Ketelyn (BRA)

Additional sources • IJF

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