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Judo-loving Mongolia takes gold on day one in Ulaanbaatar

Medal winners on day one in Ulaanbaatar
Medal winners on day one in Ulaanbaatar Copyright IJF
Copyright IJF
By Euronews with IJF
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Local hero Yondonperenlei Baskhuu gives the hosts their first gold at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam

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The Judo-loving nation of Mongolia hosted its second-ever Grand Slam event, in the bustling capital city of Ulaanbaatar.

The Steppe Arena was filled with a unique and passionate crowd, ready to cheer on their strong national team. With the next generation of Mongolian Judo in the crowd, it was time for their local heroes to give them something to cheer for.

Double success for Japan

At -48kg, Yoshioka Hikari of Japan took her first-ever Grand Slam gold.

Erdenet-Od Khishigbat Executive Committee Member of the International Judo Federation was on hand to award the medals

Nagayama Ryuju brought more success for Japan, taking the -60kg gold with a combination of lifting uchi-mata and some fantastic te-waza before sharing his joy with his Mongolian fans.

Ariun-Erdene Batbayar, the Governor of Bulgan Province, awarded the medals.

Primo finally gets the better of Buchard

Israel’s Gefen Primo scored her first-ever victory over France's Amandine Buchard on her way to the -52kg gold.

Naser Al Tamimi, General Treasurer of the International Judo Federation, made the presentations.

Local hero Yondonperenlei Baskhuu had the crowd behind him in the under -66kg where he beat Dushanbe Champion Obid Dzhebov with a tactical victory.

A wonderful local Mongolian celebration brought the crowd to its feet.

His Excellency Battulga Khaltmaa, President of the Mongolian Judo Association, presented the medals.

“I feel absolutely amazing to have the crowd cheering for me," he said afterwards. "And I'd like to give special thanks to the President of the Mongolian Judo Association, Mr Battulga, as was cheering for me a lot!”

Deguchi shows she is number one

At -57kg the reigning World Champion Christa Deguchi made her first appearance since her dominance at the worlds, and she looked unstoppable.

They cheer a lot, cheer for me, and I hope I can give some little dreams to the kids. When I go back tonight, I want to dream about this again, it felt very nice.
Christa Deguchi
-57kg gold

Jessica Klimkait, her Canadian teammate and rival, met her in the final and Deguchi showed why she now wears the red backpatch.

A large troupe of fans with signs and pictures awaited her as she came off the mat. Michael Tamura, Sport Director of the International Judo Federation, gave her her medal.

"I’ve been to a lot of countries, but I think Mongolia is like, not a hometown, but I feel comfortable here," Deguchi said afterwards. "They cheer a lot, cheer for me, and I hope I can give some little dreams to the kids. When I go back tonight, I want to dream about this again, it felt very nice."

Mongolia didn't just get a gold medal, the whole team put on a display of dynamic judo for their adoring fans throughout the day. Don’t miss the rest of this weekend’s Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam, with more stars and exciting judo to come.

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