Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 - Japan DAY THREE



Women: -78kg | +78kg 
Men: -90kg | -100kg | +100kg 

The IJF World Judo Tour 2016 came to a memorable conclusion on Sunday as Rio 2016 medallists and a new generation of Japanese and international judoka came to the fore with the ambition of competing here in Japan’s capital city at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Medal table of the 2016 edition of the Tokyo Grand Slam

On the occasion of the last day of the Tokyo Grand Slam, Mr. YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, IJF Development Director and Vice President of the All Japan Judo Federation said: “I am very happy to see what judo has become. In Rio, we had very dynamic judo and many ippons. This is the fruit of the IJF efforts and investment. We are in a good direction. In Rio I was particularly impressed by Rafaela SILVA of Brazil. She was born in a favela and became an Olympic champion. This is what sport is all about. Majlinda KELMENDO for Kosovo was also amazing. Those two champions are the symbol of the success of judo at the last Olympic Games.

“As a Japanese leader I was very proud of the results of our national team. Coming back home with 12 medals and the seven men on the podium was a real achievement. All athletes and coaches did a great job and our federation also did great to reach that level. After London 2012, many people were worried about Japanese judo, but now they are not worried anymore and I am happy about it.

“Many observers were also worried about the Rio Games before it started but thanks to the involvement of everyone, the Games and especially judo was a fantastic success. In four years, the Olympic family will meet here in Japan. I can assure you that the whole Japanese judo family will make everything possible to satisfy all judoka and judo lovers around the world. I am counting on the International Judo Federation and their guidance to have the best Games ever for our sport in Tokyo.

“As you know, in 2020, judo will be back in Japan and the tournament will be held in the Nippon Budokan, where the judo Olympic adventure started in 1964. Today, I remember Anton GEESINK (NED), who defeated KAMINAGA Akio (JPN). It was difficult for us, Japanese people, but Geesink’s victory opened the door to judo to the international scene. From that day on, judo really became a worldwide activity. When you see that in Rio we had more than 130 participating countries and 26 nations represented on the podium, we can say that judo has become universal. In 2020, we want to demonstrate how judo, which was born here in Japan, has become such a worldwide activity. It’s not only about winning and losing, but it’s about the values and the respect. We are ready to take more comments from outside of Japan, to make it even stronger.“

Being asked if he still goes regularly on the tatami, Mr. YAMASHITA said: “I often say to people that today’s judogi for me is mainly a suit and a tie. But Jigoro Kano was focussing on human education. Through judo you can develop your physical and mental capacities in order to ultimately contribute to the society. This is judo, so although I’m not wearing a judogi that often, throughout my life I remain a judoka and I want to be a judoka.“ 

Before the start of the final block, Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, presented the International Judo Federation Expert diploma to Mr. MURAKAMI Kiyoshi.

Mr. MURAKAMI said: “I am a judoka. I have worked during twenty years in France, before coming back to Japan. Now, I am working with the Italian Judo Federation and I hope they are happy with my work. I have been involved in judo for more than forty years, so receiving a diploma from the hands of the President of the IJF himself means a lot to me. It is a great honour. I am 66 years old but for me age doesn’t count. What counts is the number of mistakes you make or don’t make. I want zero mistakes. I have a contract with Italy until 2020 and I know that I don’t want to stop working for judo and for the benefit of the sport.“

Then Mr. Jean-Luc ROUGE, General Secretary of the International Judo Federation presented the International Judo Federation Expert diploma to IJF Hall of Famer Mr. Neil ADAMS, who declared: “I am honoured. It is nice when what you are doing is recognised. What Mr. VIZER has been doing for many years for the development of judo is fantastic. We are here to promote our beloved sport and it is amazing to be part of the process.“

Mr. Marius VIZER said: “Judo is a family, which so many members and all of them are doing a fantastic job to promote and develop our sport. Mr. MURAKAMI and Mr. ADAMS have achieved a lot either by being great champions or great coaches. They are still very involved. It is important for us to award personalities like those two experts and to reward all the efforts they make and the commitment they have. Without them and the work of everyone judo would not be where it is now.“

Mr. Juan Carlos Barcos and Mr. Jan Snijders, both IJF Head Refereeing Directors, presented diplomas to seven International Judo Federation referees who are retiring from their activity: Ms. Cathy Mouette (FRA), Mr. Vladimir Vostrikov (RUS), Mr. Jose Manuel Cortes (ESP), Mr. Andreas Hempel (GER), Mr. Vladimir Hnidka (CZE), Mr. Nuno Carvalho (POR), Mr. Akinoku Osaka (JPN). 

IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER will take part in a live Twitter question and answer session on Monday 5 December at 5pm Japanese time.

Use the hashtag #AskVizer to submit your question as Mr. VIZER will be ready to engage with all members of the judo family and the media during the open forum live from Tokyo. Follow the IJF President on Twitter at @MariusVizer


-78kg: SATO outshines world champion to win third Grand Slam title              

SATO Ruika (JPN) won her home event for the second time as she returned to the top of the podium in Tokyo for the first time since 2012 by beating Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist PARK Yujin (KOR). SATO, who has now won three Grand Slam gold medals with her other Grand Slam victory outside of Japan coming in 2010 in Rio de Janeiro. A shido against PARK was the difference after four minutes as Japan almost cleaned up the -78kg category with three of the four medals staying in Tokyo. 


In the first semi-final Qingdao Grand Prix winner TAKAYAMA Rika (JPN) was beaten by PARK in golden score when the Japanese fighter was penalised with a shido. In the second semi-final world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) also suffered defeat as SATO defeated her by a yuko from a tani-otoshi.

The first bronze medal was won by UMEKI over Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Klara APOTEKAR (SLO). The home judoka and her Slovenian rival were both penalised with a shido for passivity and continued their battle into golden score for two added minutes until UMEKI took control of her opponent for a yuko score.    

The second bronze medal contest was won by TAKAYAMA who submitted 20-year-old Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Anna Maria WAGNER (GER). WAGNER lifted up her opponent with an uchi-mata but could not get enough purchase on the technique and that was the best attack from the young German. TAKAYAMA executed an intricate ne-waza turnover while maintaining control of the arm of her opponent and forced the submission with a ude-garami after 12 seconds. 

SATO, Ruika (JPN) vs PARK, Yujin (KOR)

Bronze Medal Fights
UMEKI, Mami (JPN) vs APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO)
WAGNER, Anna Maria (GER) vs TAKAYAMA, Rika (JPN)

Final Results 
1. SATO, Ruika (JPN)
2. PARK, Yujin (KOR)
3. UMEKI, Mami (JPN)
5. APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO)
5. WAGNER, Anna Maria (GER)
7. OGATA, Akari (JPN)
7. LEE, Jeongyun (KOR)

+78kg: Former Junior ace ASAHINA strikes gold for Japan with more expected in 2017

Kodokan Cup winner ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) defeated 16-year-old cadet world champion SONE Akira (JPN) to win her first Grand Slam gold medal having won silver and bronze in Japan in previous years. Tokai University member ASAHINA, who started judo at the Kodokan, won in golden score when 16-year-old revelation SONE, who was almost 30kg lighter than her opponent, was penalised for passivity after 40 seconds of extra judo.    


In the first semi-final Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist YAMABE Kanae (JPN) lost out to ASAHINA by ippon in a huge result for the powerful 20-year-old heavyweight. In the second semi-final SONE drove past Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist LEE Eun-Ju (KOR) by the maximum score as her incredible run continued at her first senior competition.

The first bronze medal was won by debutant SU Xin (CHN) who surged past LEE with a ko-soto for a waza-ari and osaekomi for 15 seconds. The Chinese heavyweight applied kuzure-kesa-gatame gold and LEE was powerless to resist it as her medal hopes evaporated inside 20 seconds.

The second bronze medal was won by YAMABE as Pan American Championships bronze medallist Rochele NUNES (BRA) was penalised with a shido on four occasions to receive hansoku-make. The throw-shy contest produced no scores but rather a flurry of shidos as NUNES left her famous coach Rosicleia CAMPOS with her head in her hands at the end of the contest.                         
SONE, Akira (JPN) vs ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
LEE, Eun-Ju (KOR) vs SU, Xin (CHN)
YAMABE, Kanae (JPN) vs NUNES, Rochele (BRA)


Final Results
1. ASAHINA, Sarah (JPN)
2. SONE, Akira (JPN)
3. SU, Xin (CHN)
3. YAMABE, Kanae (JPN)
5. LEE, Eun-Ju (KOR)
5. NUNES, Rochele (BRA)
7. INAMORI, Nami (JPN)


-90kg: Serbia’s KUKOLJ wins back-to-back Grand Slam gold            

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB) won his second Grand Slam on the trot as he repeated his victory over Axel CLERGET (FRA) from the final in U.A.E. The rematch of the Abu Dhabi -90kg gold medal contest ended with the same outcome as KUKOLJ scored a waza-ari with a yoko-otoshi and then won it in style by ippon with a tai-otoshi with 49 seconds remaining. KUKOLJ will now chase continental and world honours next year while for CLERGET, who crucially outperformed teammate Alexandre IDDIR, has the chance to win his first Grand Slam gold in the next IJF event at the Paris Grand Slam in February.  

In the first semi-final top seed KUKOLJ (SRB) bested Paris Grand Slam winner NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) by a yuko – the only score of the contest - to move into the gold medal contest. In the second semi-final Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Axel CLERGET (FRA) defeated Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist NAGASAWA Kenta (JPN) as he anticipated the uchi-mata of the Japanese and countered for waza-ari in golden score. The contest was scoreless at the end of regulation time as both judoka went toe-to-toe in an epic battle which the Frenchman won after three minutes of golden sore and could not hold back his joy as he punched the air and pointed to his teammates in the stands.  

The first bronze medal was awarded to NAGASAWA who saw off 24-year-old IJF World Judo Tour newcomer KUGIMARU Taichi (JPN). NAGASAWA won a lively contest, which was more than the scoreboard suggested, with a margin of 2:3 on shido penalties to capture a first Grand Slam medal.
The second bronze medal went to world number 12 NISHIYAMA who beat World Judo Masters silver medallist Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS). The Russian judoka, whose twin brother Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) is the Rio 2016 Olympic champion at -81kg, failed to make an impression as he received is fourth shido for passivity. NISHIYAMA is prolific on the Grand Slam stage as this win handed him his 10th Grand Slam medal.
CLERGET, Axel (FRA) vs KUKOLJ, Aleksandar (SRB)

Bronze Medal Fights

Final Results
1. KUKOLJ, Aleksandar (SRB)
2. CLERGET, Axel (FRA)
3. NAGASAWA, Kenta (JPN)
5. KUGIMARU, Taichi (JPN)
7. IDDIR, Alexandre (FRA)
7. MUKAI, Shoichiro (JPN)

-100kg: Russia’s DENISOV goes two from two in his new weight             

Qingdao Grand Prix winner Kirill DENISOV (RUS) made it two wins from two -100kg outings as his gold in China was a sign of things to come. The Russian met one of the most established judoka in the category as he opposed Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Cyrille MARET (FRA) in the final. DENISOV turned three-time Grand Slam winner MARET for a yuko score and their showed their mutual respect for each other at the end of the contest with a hug and were all smiles. France’s wait for a -100kg winner in Tokyo will go on having not claimed this title for 17 years and MARET remains the best equipped judoka to alter that in 2017.  

In the first semi-final world number three MARET saw off surprise package Grigori MINASKIN (EST) on shidos 1:3 as the French star grinded out win that was becoming of a champion with true grit and determination. In the second semi-final DENISOV denied Joakim DVARBY (SWE) a place in the -100kg final as he won a scoreless contest 0:2 on shido penalties.

The first bronze medal was won by 2012 Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist SHIMOWADA Shohei (JPN) who defeated DVARBY by two shidos. The Swedish fighter, who arm-locked WOLF Aaron (JPN) in the quarter-finals,  was twice penalised for going out while his second JApanese opponent recorded an unblemished record to grace the medal podium four years after taking his last Grand Slam honours.                          

The second bronze medal was won by18-year-old hotshot IIDA Kentaro (JPN) who pinned down MINASKIN for 20 seconds and ippon. The uchi-mata specialist won his share of plaudits with an eye-catching display at his first senior event as he overpowered his Estonian opponent on the ground to break through on the IJF stage.  

DENISOV, Kirill (RUS) vs MARET, Cyrille (FRA)

Bronze Medal Fights
DVARBY, Joakim (SWE) vs SHIMOWADA, Shohei (JPN)
MINASKIN, Grigori (EST) vs IIDA, Kentaro (JPN)
Final Result
1. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)
2. MARET, Cyrille (FRA)
3. SHIMOWADA, Shohei (JPN)
3. IIDA, Kentaro (JPN)
5. DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)
5. MINASKIN, Grigori (EST)
7. WOLF, Aaron (JPN)

+100kg: Home comforts lifts OJITANI who tops Grand Slam medal podium for the first time        

Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist OJITANI Takeshi (JPN) gave Japan and Tokai University a second heavyweight triumph on the final day having seen his teammate ASAHINA Sarah win the women’s title. OJITANI, 24, also celebrated his first gold medal success at a Grand Slam and had to overcome domestic opposition to achieve it. World number 28 OJITANI, who saves his best performances for his homeland, defeated 21-year-old Asian Championships winner KAGEURA Kokoro (JPN) on shido penalties 2:3. 

In the first semi-final top heavyweight seed SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) was humbled by newboy KAGEURA by a yuko score while in the second semi-final OJITANI shaded the little-known OTA Hyoga (JPN) on shido penalties 2:3.

The first bronze medal went to 18-year-old tyro OTA who dismissed fellow rookie JU Youngseo (KOR) after 68 seconds with an o-guruma earning ippon.               

The second bronze medal went to SHICHINOHE who defeated Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Sven HEINLE (GER) to salvage a spot on the podium. The double world runner-up spurned an opportunity to top the heavyweight field in the absence of Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN). The world number 16 ran out with a 1:3 win on shido penalties.                      
OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN) vs KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
OTA, Hyoga (JPN) vs JU, Youngseo (KOR)

Final Result
1. OJITANI, Takeshi (JPN)
2. KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)
3. OTA, Hyoga (JPN)
5. JU, Youngseo (KOR)
5. HEINLE, Sven (GER)
7. LEE, Po Yen (TPE)
7. KIM, Kyeongtae (KOR)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 - Japan DAY TWO



On this second day of competition at the Judo Grand Slam Tokyo 2016 in Japan, four categories were in action: Women’s -63kg and -70kg and men’s -73kg and -81kg. Once again the day proved that being an Olympic champion is not a guarantee of victory on the IJF World Judo Tour.

Fabio BASILE (ITA) realised that yesterday after having been eliminated during his first round contest and today it was the turn of Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) to suffer defeat in quarter final of the -63kg. The beauty of judo comes from the fact that nothing is written in advance and that all champions have to stay humble. The quality of the judo displayed today at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium was outstanding for the full enjoyment of Her Imperial Highness Princess TOMOHITO of Mikasa. The President of the All Japan Judo Federation, Mr. Shoji MUNEOKA, was also present.

 Her Imperial Highness Princess TOMOHITO of Mikasa (right) alongside IJF Education Commission member and 1984 Olympic champion HOSOKAWA Shinji

The opening ceremony was held prior to the final block on day two as opening speeches were made following an introduction of the distinguished guests in attendance.

Mr. Shoji MUNEOKA (above), All Japan Judo Federation President, said: “Hello everyone, I am the President of AJJF, dear distinguished guests from IJF, the judo family from all over the world, it is a pleasure to welcome you here for the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

“This prestigious tournament will feature the best judoka in the world including Rio 2016 Olympic champions and medallists. We will see many great contests here in what is already a special event once again this year.

“Before judo became recognised as an Olympic sport, professor Jigoro Kano devoted himself to the principle of human education through one’s lifelong practice of judo. Confidence, etiquette and dignity are fundamental values of our sport. Our MIND (Manners, Independence, Nobility, Dignity) project has been promoted by our Federation as a way to develop judo’s global reach and visibility which is improving every year.

“Victory over defeat is something we obtain from our training and control of the mind. Do not be arrogant in victory or discouraged in defeat, I wish you to represent all judo family members, show results of your daily efforts and inspire fans all over the world.

“Moreover I sincerely hope you nurture close friendships here and your stay will be a memorable one in the host city of the next Olympiad. Last but not least I express my gratitude to all who contribute to the success of this prestigious event.”

Mr. Marius VIZER (above), IJF President, said: “Your Imperial Highness Princess TOMOHITO, President MUNEOKA, guests, spectators, media, ladies and gentlemen, I want to congratulate the Japanese Judo team for achieving the best results at Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“Judo is one of the highest and greatest ambassadors of Japan for education, culture and sport. Thank you very much to Japan for the organisation of the Grand Slam and for the organisation of 2019 Worlds and in 2020 of the Tokyo Olympic Games. I wish all of you a successful competition and all of the best, thank you.”

A ju-no-kata demonstration followed the welcoming speeches as tori TAKANO Megumi and her uke SHIRANO Hikaru demonstrated their specialty in front of a receptive audience of judo purists.

Japan’s 13 medallists from day one of the Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 took part in an autograph session during the break as fans of all ages and from Japan and beyond had a chance to meet the starts of the Japanese team including Rio 2016 bronze medallists TAKATO Naohisa and KONDO Ami (JPN).

Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 silver medallist TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) poses with a young fan 

The Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 concludes on Sunday with the heavyweights as the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories bring the final event of the season to a high octane close.

IVANOV (BUL) throws HARUYAMA (JPN) to win -81kg bronze with one of the ippons of the day


Use #JudoTokyo2016 to join in with the social media discussion 


-63kg: Austria’s UNTERWURZACHER exposes inexperience of Japanese youngster     

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) won her second career Grand Slam gold medal as she defeated former Junior World Championships winner MINEI Miho (JPN) for -63kg gold. MINEI, who ruled the world as a junior in 2014, has had limited exposure to the IJF World Judo Tour while UNTERWURZACHER is a household name with Grand Prix, Grand Slam and World Judo Masters honours to her name. UNTERWURZACHER was almost countered from a sumi-gaeshi attack but quicly recovered and continued to attack until she broke the deadlock with a yuko from a ko-soto-gake. The Austrian was penalised for going out of the area but maintained her advantage with her tactical nous to record the biggest victory of her career.

The -63kg gold medallist said: “I’m very proud to win this gold medal today, this event is very special and it has always been my ambition to win in Tokyo. It is very difficult fighting Japanese judoka here but I prepared very well for this event and I am absolutely thrilled.”

In the first semi-final MINEI, who shocked Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) by a yuko  in their quarter-final, required added time to find a way past Almaty Grand Prix winner Margaux PINOT (FRA). MINEI and PINOT were even at the end of regular time with a single shido to their names and no scores distributed and moved into the unlimited period of golden score where the first score or penalty decides the winner. A reaching osoto-gari from the Japanese fighter sent her into the final with a yuko score. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix winner Daria DAVYDOVA (RUS) fell to UNTERWURZACHER. The Austrian submitted the Russian with a koshi-jime strangle having led by a waza-ari.

The first bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) who bounced back from her unexpected quarter-final defeat to beat DAVYDOVA. The European, world and Olympic champion took the lead with a yuko from an ipon seoi-nage and added a second as she outscored her Russian opponent to take an important medal on her first outing as Slovenia’s -63kg Olympic kingpin.

The second bronze medal was won by former Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist PINOT who defeated Tyumen Grand Slam winner NOUCHI Aimi (JPN) by a single shido in a scoreless contest. Frenchwoman PINOT, 22, entered the Grand Slam medal podium for the second stage in her career which is on the rise with every competition and she could be a prominent feature of the next IJF event, the 2017 Paris Grand Slam in February.                                          
Bronze Medal Fights
PINOT, Margaux (FRA) vs NOUCHI, Aimi (JPN)

Final Results
2. MINEI, Miho (JPN)
3. PINOT, Margaux (FRA)
5. DAVYDOVA, Daria (RUS)
5. NOUCHI, Aimi (JPN)
7. HAECKER, Katharina (AUS)

-70kg: Kodokan Cup winner makes perfect IJF World Judo Tour debut in Tokyo

Kodokan Cup gold medallist NIIZOE Saki (JPN) made a dream start to life on the IJF circuit as she beat her nearest rival in Tyumen Grand Slam winner ARAI Chizuru (JPN) to top the podium. The 20-year-old former Junior Asian Championships winner put ARAI under pressure from the outset and the latter was penalised with a shido for breaking the grip of her opponent with both hands. Both judoka were penalised with a shido for passivity as NIIZOE won a deserved gold with Rio 2016 Olympic champion at this weight TACHIMOTO Haruka among the interested parties in the considerable crowd. 


In the first semi-final ARAI held down former world number one Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) for osaekomi for 17 seconds and applied particular pressure to the left arm of the Canadian who conceded the contest. In the second semi-final Taipei Asian Open winner MAEDA Naeko (JPN) succumbed to NIIZOE on shido penalties with three against the former and one only against the 20-year-old.

The first bronze medal was claimed by MAEDA who outlasted 2015 Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist ONO Yoko (JPN) in golden score. ONO was penalised for passivity after two minutes of additional time to end the duelling chants from the companies behind their respective judoka.

The second bronze medal was captured by two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) who has spent the last couple of weeks training at Tokai University. RODRIGUEZ, who is still only 19, won an all-Pan American contest against ZUPANCIC with a must-see de-ashi-barai for ippon after 17 seconds of golden score. The Venezuelan spent several weeks at the IJF Training Centre in Budapest to prepare for Rio 2016 and was financially supported to compete at Olympic qualification events by the IJF. 
NIIZOE, Saki (JPN) vs ARAI, Chizuru (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
MAEDA, Naeko (JPN) vs ONO, Yoko (JPN)
ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN) vs RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)

Final Results
1. NIIZOE, Saki (JPN)
2. ARAI, Chizuru (JPN)
3. MAEDA, Naeko (JPN)
3. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)
5. ONO, Yoko (JPN)
5. ZUPANCIC, Kelita (CAN)
7. POSVITE, Fanny Estelle (FRA)


-73kg: HASHIMOTO delivers in the absence of Olympic champion ONO

World Judo Masters winner HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN) showed the enviable depth of the hosts as the absence of Olympic champion ONO Shohei did not change the destination of the -73kg gold medal. ONO has missed his home Grand Slam with a right ankle injury but two Japanese judoka still fought their way to the final to compete for the top place on the podium. HASHIMOTO showed that he is nobody’s deputy but rather a world-class fighter in his own right as he beat Grand Slam debutant DOI Takeshi (JPN) 0:2 on shido penalties for the victory and can look forward to a potential world title tilt in 2017.

In the first semi-final 19-year-old TATSUKAWA Arata (JPN) was bested by HASHIMOTO by the smallest of margins as the contest was decided on shidos with two against the former and one against the top seed. In the second semi-final DOI upset Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Dirk VAN TICHELT (BEL) by ippon with a stunning sode-tsurikomi-goshi with 90 seconds left on the clock. 

The first bronze medal contest saw two-time world bronze medallist VAN TICHELT slip to defeat against 23-year-old Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Giyosjon BOBOEV (UZB). The Uzbekistan fighter, who had a taste of Grand Slam silverware in Azerbaijan when he took silver in Baku, threw his Belgian opponent with uchi-mata sukashi for ippon with two minutes remaining.                                    

The second bronze medal went to TATSUKAWA in his first senior event as he surprised Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Musa MOGUSHKOV (RUS). The Japanese teen defeated one of the grittiest judoka in the category with a sumptuous sasae-tsurikomi-ashi after two minutes of golden score.                      
DOI, Takeshi (JPN) vs HASHIMOTO, Soichi (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
VAN TICHELT, Dirk (BEL) vs BOBOEV, Giyosjon (UZB)

Final Results
1. HASHIMOTO, Soichi (JPN)
2. DOI, Takeshi (JPN)
3. BOBOEV, Giyosjon (UZB)
7. IARTCEV, Denis (RUS)

-81kg: World champion NAGASE follows Rio 2016 bronze with home win 

Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist NAGASE Takanori (JPN) triumphed at the Tokyo Grand Slam for the third time in four years as he bested Glasgow European Open winner Dominic RESSEL (GER) in the -81kg final. NAGASE, 23, who could be identified as the reigning world champion by his red backpatch, rolled his German opponent over for a yuko score and moved straight into ne-waza where he finished the contest in osaekomi with a tate-shiho-gatame hold for 20 seconds.


NAGASE said: “I’m very pleased to win today as everyone cheered for me and I was happy to give them this win. After Rio 2016 I was not able to concentrate at all but after I was entered for this event I became focused and determined to show the world my best judo.”

In the first semi-final NAGASE resisted the advances of Taipei Asian Open silver medallist HARUYAMA Yuki (JPN) to eke out a win over his countryman. Two shidos against HARUYAMA settled the scoreless contest after five minutes and the red backpatch of NAGASE was guaranteed to be on display in the final. In the second semi-final RESSEL ousted Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Damian SZWARNOWIECKI (POL) with two scores as Europe had a rare finalist amid Asia and particularly Japan’s dominance.

The first bronze medal was won by Tyumen Grand Slam winner Aslan LAPPINAGOV (RUS) who sealed a return to a Grand Slam medal podium by beating SZWARNOWIECKI. The 23-year-old Russian fighter submitted the Pole with shime-waza following a failed failed harai-makikomi by the latter who had to settle for fifth-place.

The second bronze medal went to former Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL) who lived dangerously for all five minutes of regulation time but still found himself in the contest with HARUYAMA as both judoka had received a single shido. HARUYAMA had attacked with o-guruma, sode-tsurikomi-goshi and seoi-nage against the world number five IVANOV who weathered an onslaught before producing a moment of brilliance with a unique counter for a waza-ari after 32 seconds of golden score. 


NAGASE, Takanori (JPN) vs RESSEL, Dominic (GER)

Bronze Medal Fights
HARUYAMA, Yuki (JPN) vs IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)

Final Result
1. NAGASE, Takanori (JPN)
2. RESSEL, Dominic (GER)
3. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)
7. HONG, Suk Woong (KOR)
7. LEE, Hui-Jung (KOR)

Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 - Japan DAY ONE


Women: -48kg | -52kg | -57kg 
Men: -60kg | -66kg


There are events that nobody wants to miss and the Tokyo Grand Slam is one of those. Winning a medal here in Japan, where judo was invented in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, has always had a special taste and it is the dream of every top level judoka to step on the podium of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The 2016 edition of the Grand Slam is even more special as it is the very last event of the season, which shone brightly with the Rio Olympic Games a few months ago. Thus several Olympic medallists made their comeback here in Tokyo after their last summer’s performance. A new generation of champions is also rising and boldly trying to access the top place of the tournament to gain precious points for a better world ranking position. But coming back to Tokyo has also a special flavour this year and the years to come since the next Olympic Games will be held in the city in 2020 as well as the 2019 World Championships.

Mr. Francesco RICCI BITTI (left) together with Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President (right)

Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Visits the Grand Slam

At the end of the first day of competition, Mr. Marius Vizer declared: “It is always a great honour for our sport to come back to Japan and this year to conclude and launch a new Olympic cycle at the same time. It was also our great pleasure to welcome the IOC Coordination Commission of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, on the occasion of this first day of competition. I want to underline the motivation and enthusiasm of all the athletes who participated today and who are now starting a new adventure towards Tokyo 2020. The judo was of a very high level and I hope that it will be even more spectacular in the next two days.“

Mr. Alex GILADY (left) and Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President (right)

On the occasion of this first day of competition at the Tokyo Grand Slam 2016, the IOC Coordination Commission of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games paid an important visit to the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and enjoyed the beautiful judo displayed on the tatami. The delegation was composed of: Alex GILADY (IOC Member), Francesco RICCI BITTI (ASOIF member), Habu Ahmed GUMEL (IOC Member), Nicole HOEVERTSZ (IOC Member), Irena SZEWINSKA (IOC Member), Andrew PARSONS (COCOM Member), Andrew RYAN (ASOIF member), and Kit McCONNELL (IOC Director). The Coordination Commission was welcomed by the International Judo Federation President, Mr. Marius Vizer.

From left to right: Mrs. Irena SZEWINSKA, Mrs. Nicole HOEVERTSZ and Mr. Marius VIZER

Mr. Francesco RICCI BITTI said: “Judo is very popular in Japan. I want to congratulate Mr. Vizer and his team. They do a tremendous job to promote judo and it works. There are more and more TV interested by the sport and I am sure that judo at the Tokyo Olympic Games will be a fantastic success. I am very impressed by the universality of judo. Of course Japan is very strong and especially in their country, but there are many other countries on the podium. The organisation is very good and judo is regularly progressing.“

Education through judo is the key

After a successful live Facebook tour of the Kodokan held on Wednesday November 30, Mr. Haruki Uemura, President of the Kodokan and IJF World Promotion Director commented: “I myself followed the visit online. The Kodokan is the home of all judoka around the world and we are always happy to welcome people here in Tokyo. It’s important that judo lovers know that it’s possible to come and practice judo in the Kodokan, but we also have a great museum to visit. Today judo is not anymore only a Japanese activity. It belongs to everyone. Our responsibility is to promote judo worldwide and to offer it to the next generations. It’s really an honour to see that judo has spread on all continents and for us it is really important that our sport spreads properly. To see 26 countries on the podium in Rio, during the last Olympic Games is a good indicator. Education through judo is the key. We practice judo together and through judo you can make friends.“

ABE siblings stand out as Japan promotes Tokyo 2020 generation

Tyumen Grand Slam winner ABE Hifumi won -66kg gold while his younger sister took -52kg silver as four of the five finals on day one were all-Japanese contests. The hosts are already out of sight at the top of the medal table with four gold, four silver and five bronze medals. Mongolia are second after the first day with one gold medal and two bronze medals with South Korea in third place having earned one silver and one bronze medal.

The season-ending Tokyo Grand Slam 2016 continues on Saturday with four weight categories set the contested as the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories and the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories will be settled. Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) returns to IJF duty on Saturday but will have four Japanese judoka among those with the goal of defeating the second person to wear the new gold backpatch at Toyo 2016.

The IOC Coordination Commission of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with IJF Executive Committee members  


Use #JudoTokyo2016 to join in with the social media discussion 



-48kg: Mongolia’s former world champion wins abroad for the first time in 2016      

Former world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) ousted Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist JEONG Bo-Kyeong (KOR) to win her first event outside her homeland in 2016. The -48kg category was the only one out of the five contested on day one which did not feature a Japanese finalist. While there was not Japanese representation, the first final of the competition was still an all-Asian affair. Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner MUNKHBAT won her fourth Grand Slam gold medal on shido penalties 1:2 as JEONG was twice reprimanded for being passive.   


In the first semi-final Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) fell to JEONG who dictated the pace of the contest and offered the greater attacking threat. The Asian rivals were all-square after four scoreless minutes and golden score was required to produce a finalist. After an additional one minute and 48 seconds the South Korean fighter caught GALBADRAKH with ashi-waza for a yuko score and a place in the gold medal contest.   

In the second semi-final Tyumen Grand Slam winner TONAKI Funa (JPN), who defeated teammate and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist KONDO Ami (JPN) in their quarter-final by ippon in golden score with a tani-otoshi, narrowly lost out to MUNKHBAT. A shido against the young Japanese judoka settled the scoreless contest as the experienced Mongolian prevailed.

The first bronze medal contest was clinched by TONAKI who pipped Budapest Grand Prix winner ENDO Hiromi (JPN) to the podium. Pocked-sized TONAKI and ENDO, one of the tallest judoka in this weight category, cancelled each other out in regular time and had to go golden score to determine a winner. The opening contest of the final block was a key domestic clash as not only did it earn the winner a Grand Slam medal but by beating a teammate the result will impact international selections for 2017 as both chase a spot at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. TONAKI came away with the medal as ENDO was penalised with a shido after 40 seconds. The second bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist KONDO Ami (JPN) who turned the contest on its head in the last 25 seconds to beat GALBADRAKH. The latter led with a yuko and defended a juji-gatame attempt from KONDO as she looked on course for the podium. However, with 25 seconds left KONDO was generating one-way traffic and sent the Kazakh over with a ouchi-gari for a yuko. GALBADRAKH had already received a shido and that error ensured that KONDO compelted a dramatic comeback to match the result of TONAKI Funa.           
MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL) vs JEONG, Bo-Kyeong (KOR)
Bronze Medal Fights
TONAKI, Funa (JPN) vs ENDO, Hiromi (JPN)
KONDO, Ami (JPN) vs GALBADRAKH, Otgontsetseg (KAZ)

Final Results
1. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)
2. JEONG, Bo-Kyeong (KOR)
3. TONAKI, Funa (JPN)
3. KONDO, Ami (JPN)
5. ENDO, Hiromi (JPN)
5. GALBADRAKH, Otgontsetseg (KAZ)
7. NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)
7. KANG, Yujeong (KOR)

-52kg:TSUNODA wins all-Japanese battle to take gold on IJF World Judo Tour debut              Kodokan Cup winner TSUNODA Natsumi (JPN) won gold on her IJF debut as she defeated teenage starlet ABE Uta (JPN) in the -52kg final. TSUNODA, 24, faced ABE, 16, in the gold medal contest as two new names came to the fore in Tokyo. The former fought her way to the top of the podium as she tapped out the teenage sister of ABU Hifumi with a juji-gatame.

In the first semi-final Tyumen Grand Slam winner SHISHIME Ai (JPN) fell to Kodokan Cup winner TSUNODA Natsumi (JPN). The IJF World Judo Tour debutant opened the scoring with a yuko from a seoi-nage off to the side before submitting her countrywoman with a juji-gatame. In the second semi-final 16-year-old IJF World Judo Tour debutant ABE Uta (JPN) defeated 20-year-old former Cadet World Championships bronze medallist TATSUKAWA Rina (JPN) with an emphatic osoto-gari for ippon.

The first bronze medal was won by TATSUKAWA who marked her first appearance on the IJF World Judo Tour by taking the scalp of -52kg newcomer Charline VAN SNICK (BEL). TATSUKAWA attacked early with an uchi-mata and her volume of work exceeded that of her Belgian opponent who was penalised for passivity and that determined the winner after the four minutes elapsed. The second bronze medal was won by SHISHIME who held down Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Diyora KELDIYOROVA (UZB) in osaekomi for 20 seconds as Japan kept both bronze medals in Tokyo.                                                                           
ABE, Uta (JPN) vs TSUNODA, Natsumi (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
TATSUKAWA, Rina (JPN) vs VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)
Final Results
1. TSUNODA, Natsumi (JPN)
2. ABE, Uta (JPN)
5. VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)
7. HA, Ju Hee (KOR)
7. KWON, Aerim (KOR)

-57kg: Five-star YOSHIDA retains Tokyo gold after 11 minute domestic duel      

YOSHIDA Tsukasa (JPN) retained her Tokyo Grand Slam title with a win against former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) to capture her fifth Grand Slam gold medal after a lung-busting 11 minute final. YOSHIDA, who is still only 21, opposed 2014 world champion UDAKA, who was followed a year later by 2012 Olympic champion MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN). After six energy-sapping yet engrossing minutes of added time UDAKA was penalised for passivity as the younger fighter struck home hold one more time.


Japan's YOSHIDA (blue) in -57kg semi-final action against DORJSUREN (MGL)

In the first semi-final Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) was beaten by YOSHIDA who registered a full house of scores. The home fighter scored a waza-ari with a osoto-gari before topping up the scoreboard with a yuko and then put the Mongolian top seed out of her misery by submitting her with a juji-gatame. In the second semi-final Budapest Grand Prix winner TAMAOKI Momo (JPN) succumbed to the animated UDAKA who roared with victory as after throwing her compatriot by ippon with a tai-otoshi.

The first bronze medal was won by TAMAOKI over Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist ISHIKAWA Megumi (JPN). Ne-waza master ISHIKAWA wanted to take the contest to the ground at every opportunity but TAMAOKI was not playing that game and established her own rhythm a she won a crucial medal to keep her name in the domestic discussion at -57kg. After two minutes of golden score ISHIKAWA was guilty of being passive and was promptly penalised to send her colleague onto the medal podium. The second bronze medal was won by DORJSUREN who extended her one-sided head-to-head lead over Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Helene RECEVEAUX (FRA) to 6:1. DORJSUREN looked a spent force in the last 60 seconds but had the resolve to protect her slender yuko advantage and see out the closing stage of the four minute contest. 

UDAKA, Nae (JPN) vs YOSHIDA, Tsukasa (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights


Final Results 
1. YOSHIDA, Tsukasa (JPN)
2. UDAKA, Nae (JPN)
3. TAMAOKI, Momo (JPN)
3. DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL)
5. ISHIKAWA, Megumi (JPN)
5. RECEVEAUX, Helene (FRA)
7. MALLOY, Marti (USA)
7. KIM, Jan-Di (KOR)


-60kg: Japan’s junior world champion upstages teammate and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist      

Junior world champion NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) shocked Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) to win -60kg gold on day one in Tokyo. The teammates who train together every day at Tokai University met in one of Japan’s four finals as NAGAYAMA threw spectacularly with an uchi-mata for ippon with 44 seconds remaining as he lifted up TAKATO from his knees and over onto this back. The silver medallist gave NAGAYAMA a pat on his back after the contested was awarded and both judoka will be in contention in 2017 on the IJF World Judo Tour.


In the first semi-final Junior world champion NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) controlled London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Felipe KITADAI (BRA) for all five minutes. NAGAYAMA scored two yukos without reply and it could have been more as the Brazilian KITADAI was thrown repeatedly as only his acrobatic skills helped him to evade giving away any further scores. The fearless NAGAYAMA moved on to the final while KITADAI turned his attention to a tilt at bronze.   

In the second semi-final Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) defeated Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Robert MSHVIDOBADZE (RUS) after two minutes of golden score. The Tokai University judoka showed quick feet to wobble the Russian and followed up with his upper body strength to send MSHVIDOBADZE over for the smallest score and the familiar smile of TAKATO showed his pleasure as he advanced to the final.  

The first bronze medal was won by MSHVIDOBADZE who threw number one seed DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) for the maximum score with a drop seoi-nage in the closing seconds. The Russian fighter led by a waza-ari from a foot sweep and won his second Grand Slam bronze with a powerful shoulder throw on the edge of the tatami to become the first European medallist on day one. The second bronze medal was claimed by former Qingdao Grand Prix winner CHOI In Hyuk (KOR) who beat KITADAI by a yuko to grace a Grand Slam podium for the first time. The South Korean number two, who is behind Rio 2016 Olympian KIM Won-Jin, claimed the contest by a yuko score which was the only time the scoreboard was called into action. 
TAKATO, Naohisa (JPN) vs NAGAYAMA, Ryuju (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
MSHVIDOBADZE, Robert (RUS) vs DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)
KITADAI, Felipe (BRA) vs CHOI, In Hyuk (KOR)


Final Results
1. NAGAYAMA, Ryuju (JPN)
2. TAKATO, Naohisa (JPN)
3. CHOI, In Hyuk (KOR)
5. DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)
5. KITADAI, Felipe (BRA)
7. TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB)
7. CHEN, Yen-Lun (TPE)

-66kg: Golden teenager ABE on the verge of superstardom            

Former Youth Olympic Games winner ABE Hifumi was the star of the show in the -66kg category as he defeated former Astana Grand Prix winner HASHIGUCHI Yuuki (JPN) to win gold. ABE, 19, has been deliberately held back as Japan were reluctant to release him full-time on the circuit with 2020 in mind but that will change now. ABE has had to be patient but almost always delivers and his star shone brightest under the neon lights of Tokyo with a magical display which culminated with a beautiful sode-tsurikomi-goshi for a yuko and tai-otoshi for ippon.


ABE said: “I always fight for ippon, this is so important to me. I go forward and give everything in every contest. At London 2012 the Japanese men did not win a gold medal and it was important to change that at Rio 2016. We want to show the world that Japanese judo is the best.

“I want to compete in Europe next year and regularly on the IJF circuit. My first World Championships is my aim and from there I want to become the world number one. My sister fought well today, I am pleased for her, she offers me a lot of motivation and together I hope that we can become world number one judoka.”

In the first semi-final former Astana Grand Prix winner HASHIGUCHI Yuuki (JPN) did not have to compete as 2015 Tokyo Grand Slam winner TAKAJO Tomofumi (JPN) was injured and pulled out of their semi-final contest. In the second semi-final 21-year-old Kodokan Cup winner ISODA Norihito (JPN) lost out to wonderkid ABE. A huge seoi-nage gave the Japanese young gun a waza-ari as he beat the conqueror of Olympic champion Fabio BASILE (ITA).

The first bronze medal was won by Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) who continued his country’s bright start in Tokyo with a win over ISODA. DOVDON, a two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist, came up with the only score of the contest as his sumi-gaeshi yielded a yuko score to deny Japanese rookie ISODA a medal on his inaugural IJF World Judo Tour start. The second bronze medal went to double world silver medallist Mikhail PULIAEV (RUS) as TAKAJO again could not compete having already withdrawn before his semi-final due to injury.      
Rio 2016 Olympic champion Fabio BASILE (ITA) made a bold choice in deciding to return to action at the Tokyo Grand Slam knowing four Japanese judoka would be among the field. The fact that the Italian is in Japan speaks volumes for his confidence but the 22-year-old was off the pace and was held down by IJF World Judo Tour debutant ISODA for 17 seconds and a waza-ari as he lost his opening contest.

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist and world champion AN Baul (KOR) also had a day to forget as he lost two consecutive contests to finish a lowly seventh by his standards.
ABE, Hifumi (JPN) vs HASHIGUCHI, Yuuki (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
ISODA, Norihito (JPN) vs DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)
TAKAJO, Tomofumi (JPN) vs PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS)

Final Result
1. ABE, Hifumi (JPN)
3. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)
3. PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS)
5. ISODA, Norihito (JPN)
5. TAKAJO, Tomofumi (JPN)
7. AN, Baul (KOR)
7. GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO)