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The 50th Paris Judo Grand Slam 2021

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By Louise Miner
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The 50th Paris Judo Grand Slam 2021
Copyright  Lewis Joly/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The iconic Paris Grand Slam triumphantly returned, much to the joy of the international Judo public and a star-studded lineup was on hand for the opening ceremony of its 50th edition.

The first final of the day saw Japan’s Koga Wakana defeat France’s Melanie Legoux Clement in the under 48kg category.

Koga wasted no time in ne waza, turning Clement over and securing the hold down.

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Koga Wakana of Japan defeats France's Melanie Legoux ClementIJF

President of the International Judo Federation, Mr. Marius Vizer, was on hand to award the medals.

Our Man of the Day was in the under 60kg category, Balabay Aghayev of Azerbaijan.

In the final, he was up against Ramazan Abdulaev of Russia.

A lightning-fast Kosoto Gake sent his Russian opponent over for Ippon, earning an ecstatic Aghayev his first Grand Slam title.

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Balabay Aghayev, Azerbaijan defeats Russia's Ramazan AbdulaevIJF

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

"I promised that I would bring back the Gold medal to my motherland and I did it," said Aghayev.

"I’m so happy I did this."

Our woman of the Day was Gefen Primo of Israel. Gefen had the day of her life, as she also claimed her first Grand Slam.

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Gefen Primo, Israel beats France's Astride GnetoIJF

In the final, she faced French home favorite Astride Gneto. After a long and hard contest, a clever counter scores her the decisive Waza-ari, crowning her Paris Grand Slam Champion!

"I’m really happy, today was really good for me and I enjoyed every second of fighting here, with this amazing crowd," said Primo. "It’s my first time in Paris. So yes I’m really happy."

Mr. Sergey Soloveychik, Vice President of the IJF and President of the European Judo Union, awarded the medals.

The under 66kg category final was an all-Japan affair. It was Tanaka Ryoma who came out on top beating his fellow countryman Fujisaka Taikoh with a stunning Uki Goshi.

They were awarded their medals by Mr. Max-Hervé George, CEO of Ultima Capital.

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Tanaka Ryoma, Japan beats Japan's Fuijsaka TaikohIJF

Japan’s Funakubo Haruka demonstrated her ne waza dominance in the under 57kg class final, arm locking Germany’s Caroline Fritze.

Mr. Ilie Nastase, IJF Ambassador & Tennis Legend awarded the medals.

It was another Gold for Japan in the under 73kg’s as Harada Kenshi secured the win via a hold-down against Frances Theo Riquin.

IJF Guest Mr. Zoltan Fekete presented the medals.

Barbara Timo made her mark at her new category under 63kg, by taking Paris Grand Slam gold after scoring a waza-ari in golden score.

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CEO Euronews, Michael Peters presents the gold medal to Barbara Timo, Brazilian-born Portuguese judokaIJF

CEO of Euronews Mr. Michael Peters presented Barbara with her medal.

Our moment of the day came from the under 66kg Bronze contest when French Judoka Orlando Cazorla made the home crowd erupt with a massive Ippon.

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French Orlando Cazorla judokaIJF

An incredible start to this iconic event!