Day Two of the Tel Aviv Judo Grand Slam was a special day for international sport and for Israel, with all eyes on Saeid Mollaei, who is our man of the day.
Trademark raw passion from Mollaei
The 2018 World Champion was on great form with his usual powerful style of judo. The counter-attack specialist used his trademark raw passion to get to the final, where Uzbekistan’s Sharofiddin Boltaboev pipped him for the – 81kg gold.
Mollaei, who was born in Iran but now fights for Mongolia, was awarded his silver medal by Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation.
“First thanks for all, for IJF, for all people,” he said after the ceremony. “All people love being friendly. Sport and politics are different. I’m very, very happy, now I’m the same as other sportsmen. I’m free, no problem, no politics. I’m a sportsman, never politics”
Raicu’s first-ever tour medal is gold
Olympic Champion Tina Trstenjak took the -63kg gold in an all Slovenian final.
Moris Janashvili, guest of the International Judo Federation, awarded her with the medal.
Romania’s Alexandru Raicu took on the Italian youngster Giovanni Esposito in the -73kg final. A fast counter got him the decisive score – and he was clearly thrilled that his first-ever world tour medal was a Grand Slam gold.
Florin Daniel Lascau, Sport and Acting Referee Director of the IJF, awarded him his medal.
Sanne Van Dijke makes her case for a Tokyo place
At the -70kg level, France’s Margaut Pinot had a strong day. A strangle, and a drop seoi nage were her highlights on route to victory in the final. Lisa Allan, Events Director of the IJF, presented the gold.
“I think we are lucky to be here to continue our competitions,” said Pinot. “And even if it’s a big protocol with a lot of waiting, with a lot of days before the competition, I think we are very lucky to live this life.”
Our move of the day came in the -70kg bronze medal contest and a huge hip throw from Sanne Van Dijke, which shook the Shlomo stadium and the race for a place in the Tokyo Olympics.