The President of the International Judo Federation Marius Vizer led a ceremony of thanks to the organisers on day two of the Antalya Judo Grand Slam and the Turkish fans got their reward with a first home gold of the tournament, for Vedat Albayrak in the -81kg category. He used his strength and determination to defeat Italy’s Christian Parlati in the final.
"The Grand Slam is so important”, said Albayrak. “All of our team is prepared and I hope that they can win medals tomorrow.”
Italy’s -73kg Olympic Champion Fabio Basile stormed through his preliminaries, to set up a tense gold medal final against Turkey’s Bayram Kandemir. Basile took the contest and with it his first Grand Slam gold medal.
The President of the Turkish Olympic Committee Professor Uğur Erdene awarded the medals.
First ever tour gold for Britain's Lucy Renshall
The -63kg final between Lucy Renshall of Great Britain and Anriquelis Barrios of Venezuela went to a dramatic gold score finale and at two shidos each it was Renshall who won it with a wazari to claim her first ever World Judo Tour gold medal.
The IJF Vice President Sergey Soloveychik presented the honours
Kim Polling of the Netherlands took gold in the -70kg competition. It was an incredible 24th medal on the World Judo Tour that further secured her place as one of the category’s all time greats.
Ahmet Temurci, General Manager of International Organisations and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Turkey, gave out the medals.
“Well I’m happy because I needed to come here as preparation for the Europeans,” said Polling. “But also as preparation to do a bit more tactical judo that I cannot always attack. So actually, I’m quite happy with today and I think my trainers can be proud because I’ve done exactly what I needed to do.”
Turkish athletes out in force
Turkish athletes were out in force, displaying the incredible passion the home nation has for the sport of judo. Ippon after ippon, they showed why Turkey has been a regular stop on the World Judo Tour for 7 years.
Vedat Albayrak’s gold medal, presented by Ömer Altunsoy, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Turkey Deputy Director-General of Sports Services, was the icing on the cake. And there’s more to come with one more day of competition to go in Antalya.