Grand Slam judo is back in Tel Aviv – and on the opening day, it was the sport’s rising stars who made the biggest impact.
France’s Shirine Boukli took on Ukraine’s double world champion Daria Bilodid in the -48kg final.
A throw for ippon gave her victory and our woman of the day award. Event co-host Sylvan Adams presented her with her gold.
“This match was just about feeling,” she said afterwards. “It’s about feeling good. I don’t remember what I did, or when I did it. I just feel it and now it’s finished and I won by Ippon!”
Mamadsoy wins explosive -60kg final
Azerbaijan’s Davud Mamadsoy was our man of the day. His explosive -60kg final against Georgia’s Temur Nozadze culminated in a spectacular Ouchi Gari throw for victory.
International Judo Federation guest Michael Michaely presented Mamadsoy with his first-ever grand slam gold.
Great Britain’s Chelsea Giles makes her mark
Great Britain’s Chelsea Giles had the day of her life. After spectacularly defeating Olympic Champion Majlinda Kelmendi in the qualifiers, she proceeded to take out home favourite Gili Cohen of Israel in the final with a fantastic San Gaku.
Hili Tropper, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports, awarded the medals.
Spain’s Alberto Gaitero Martin beat Belarus’s Dzmitry Minkou in a cagey -66kg final, won on shidos. Carlos Zegarra, the IJF Sports Director for PanAmerica, gave out the medals.
“Everybody wants to go out and get back to normality,” said Gaitero Martin afterwards. “Right now it’s not possible. In that sense, Tel Aviv is doing great. The organisation is great, the protocols are great. It makes sense. Everybody understands what they have to do and what they can’t do. So I’m really happy with this organisation.”
Raw power from Nelson Levy leaves home fans celebrating
Timna Nelson Levy gave Israel a home win in the -57kg category, using her raw power to overcome France’s Sarah Leonie Cysique in a simply electric moment after just 20 seconds.
Alex Gilady, IOC member and Vice-Chair for the Coordination Commission of the Tokyo Olympics, awarded Nelson Levy her medal.
Our move of the day came from India’s Saini, with a massive O Goshi right out the gate for an emphatic Ippon.