Victories for Han Mi Jin and Cho Guham saw South Korea emerge top of the medal table at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi.
Han, who claimed gold at the Naples 2019 Summer Universiade in July, defeated Anne Fatoumata Mbairo of France in the women’s +78 kilogram final. She won with a uchi-mata after just 70 seconds to top the podium. Bronze medals went to Brazil’s Maria Suelen Altheman and Tunisia’s Nihel Cheikh Rouhou.
Cho then ensured South Korea were clear at the top of medal count by taking gold in the men’s -100kg division.He got past Zelym Kotsoiev of Azerbaijan in golden time, with European Games champion Arman Adamian of Russia and Shady Elnahas of Canada the bronze medallists.
The success of Han and Cho saw South Korea finish with three gold medals, one silver and bronze. The Netherlands were second with two golds, one silver and one bronze, while Slovenia finished third with two gold and one silver.
A total of 551 judoka – 320 men and 231 women – representing a total of 95 countries competed at the IJF’s penultimate event of the year, staged at the Mubadala Arena in the United Arab Emirates.
Day 1 of the three day event saw an early gold success for South Korea thanks to Kim Jin A claiming victory in the women’s under-57kg event against Sarah Leonie Cysique of France. Compatriot Kim Jandi joined Kim on the podium, collecting bronze alongside Diana Dzhigaros from Russia.
Rio 2016 Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo also claimed gold on day one although she needed all of her talents to see off long-time rival Odette Giuffrida from Italy to win the -52 kg event. Kelmendi led the head-to-head record 6-2 prior to this latest meeting in the United Arab Emirates and she needed four minutes of golden score to overcome Giuffrida. Great Britain’s Chelsie Giles and Park Da Sol from South Korea earned bronze medals.
Ukrainian Daria Bilodid secured a third Grand Slam victory by defeating Marusa Stangar of Slovenia for under-48kg gold. The teenager backed up her World Championship triumph back in August with a fine win on her Abu Dhabi debut. Katharina Menz of Germany and Catarina Costa from Portugal collected bronze medals.
Gusman Kyrgyzbayev from Kazakhstan won a dynamic men’s -60kg final, seeing off Walide Khyar of France to clinch gold. Bronze medals were awarded to Yago Abuladze of Russia and Uzbekistan’s Diyorbek Urozboev.
Italy’s Manuel Lombard claimed u-66kg gold against Orkhan Safarov from Azerbaijan, with Orland Polanco of Cuba and South Korean An Baul completing the podium.
Tina Trstenjak clinched gold on the second day of competition in Abu Dhabi with the Slovenian star producing an impressive series of performances. Trstenjak progressed to the semi-final stage of the women’s -63 kg competition, where she clinched a victory by ippon over Venezuela’s Anriquelis Barrios.
The victory saw Trstenjak progress to the gold-medal match against Cuba’s Maylin Del Toro Carvajal, who had beaten Mexico’s Prisca Awiti Alcaraz in the last four. Here, Olympic champion Trstenjak saw off the challenge, clinching victory with an ippon score. Bronze medals went to Brazil’s Ketelyn Quadros and China’s Yang Junxia, after they overcame beaten semi-finalists Awiti Alcaraz and Barrisos, respectively.
The women’s -70kg final saw an all-Dutch contest between Kim Polling and Sanne Van Dijke. Polling, a four-time European champion, emerged as the winner by overcoming the European Games silver medallist with an ippon score. Austria’s Michaela Polleres won the first bronze medal by beating Croatia’s Barbara Matic, while Venezuela’s Elvismar Rodriguez claimed victory against Britain’s Sally Conway to take the final podium position.
South Korea’s Lee Moon-jin increased his nation’s gold medal count and in doing so celebrated a maiden success on the IJF World Tour by winning the men’s -81kg competition. Lee took the lead against Georgia’s Luka Maisuradze with a waza-ari score in the gold-medal bout, before sealing victory with an ippon. Bronze medals were secured by Turkey’s Vedat Albayrak and Germany’s Dominic Ressel, after the duo overcame the Netherlands’ Frank De Wit and Canada’s Antoine Valois-Fortier, respectively.
A close men’s -73kg final saw Turkey’s Bilal Ciloglu earn a narrow win over Canada’s Arthur Margelidon, with the 21-year-old triumphing by a solitary waza-ari score to take gold. The podium places were completed by Germany’s Igor Wandtke and Uzbekistan’s Khikmatillokh Turaev.