The 2020 version of the Grand Slam Hungary ended in apotheosis for Russia, as the country dominated the three men”s categories of the day.
Russian athlete Mikhail Igolnikov was the star of the day, blasting his way past a who’s who of Judoka.
In the finals he took on Mongolia’s Altanbagana Gantulga, who was in his first ever Grand Slam final. Within 21 seconds, Igolnikov scored of the most beautiful ippons of the week, after having engaged in an Uchi mata.
But the young Eastern European judoka refused to let his achievements get to his head, and even highlighted the successes of his opponents.
“All Judokas are really good and strong. Tchrikishvili won the World Championship. Toth, a silver medal at the World Championship,” Igolnikov told Euronews.
Russia’s Inal Tasoev and Niyaz Ilyasov also offered incredible perfomances today.
In the +100kg category, two Russian giants battled it out, with Tamerlan Bashaev taking on Ashi-Waza expert Inal Tasoev. But Tasoev decided to show his class in Ne-waza and take the victory.
World Silver Medallist Niyaz Ilyasov took on Armenia’s strongman Arman Adamian in the -100kg. Another fantastic piece of Ne-Waza saw Ilyasov turn Adamian onto his back and hold him down for 20 seconds to win the contest.
He was awarded medal by Mr Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation.
One cannot stress enough the consistency and excellence of the overall performance of Russia, which won a total of five titles.
France and Turkey on Russia’s heels
The battle was tough within the French team to determine who will go to the Olympic Games in a few months.
Double World medalist and double Olympic medalist Audrey Tcheumeo of France came back to her frightening form.
“It’s the first competition and people want to fight, as it’s been a long time. For me it’s a gift, and always a pleasure. I’m here, I’m young. Let’s go,” Tcheumeo said.
An incredible day of big throws set up a final against her compatriot Fanny Estelle Posvite in the -78kg category. After losing to her previously, Tcheumeo seemed almost surprised to re-establish her dominance.
Mr Pal Schmitt, IOC member and former President of Hungary, awarded Tcheumeo her Gold medal.
Kayra Sayit of Turkey showed the world her Ippon Judo, and how ready she was to take on all new comers. A close tactical match against Cheikh Rouhou of Tunisia saw her take the Gold medal.
She was awarded her medal by Dr Krisztián Kulcsár, President of the Olympic Committee of Hungary.
But our moment of the day came as current World Champion Jorge Fonseca of Portugal caught French Alexandre Iddir with a beautiful standing Sode Tsuri Komi Goshi.
Having come here for Gold, the Portuguese powerhouse was visibly relieved to leave with a medal around his neck.
And that’s a wrap for the 2020 version of the Budapest Grand Slam, which saw 400 judoka happily assembled in a Covid-safe tournament. See you next time!