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


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-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  


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-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)

Tokyo Grand Slam 2016, Japan PREVIEW


Champions return as judo comes home

What better place than Tokyo in Japan to conclude a particularly successful Olympic season for judo! After a busy and amazing year of judo, the best athletes will again be present on the tatami of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, from December 2-4, for the last IJF event of the 2016 calendar. Judo, Japan and Tokyo, these three words perfectly link together as the next Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place in the Japanese capital in 2020. But before that, judo will regularly return to its homeland as, in addition to the annual Grand Slam, the All Japan Judo Federation will also organise the World Championships in 2019 in the mythical venue of the Budokan which in 1964 hosted for the first time judo at the Olympic Games.

Mr. Naser Al Tamimi, General Treasurer of the International Judo Federation welcomed the delegates of the 41 nations present in Tokyo: “Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, in the name of the International Judo Federation, I am glad to be in the land of judo. I wish to all of you and to the organisers a successful event. I want to thank to All Japan Judo Federation and everyone who is involved in the organisation of this Grand Slam.“

Mr. Yamashita Yasuhiro, Vice-President of the AJJF and IJF Executive Committee Member, said: “I want to address you the warmest welcome to Tokyo. It is an honour to host the Tokyo Grand Slam again and I want to thank everyone who made it possible. Following the fantastic success of judo in Rio, we are ready to organise this event as well as the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I wish good luck to all participants.“

The period immediately following the Olympic Games is always a period of transition between a cycle that ends, which saw the crowning of 14 new Olympic Champions, and a new one that begins. In between the athletes, who are still in the recovery phase, those who want to position themselves in the best way possible for years to come, between the young talents who want to be among the favourites in four years from now and the reigning Olympic Champions who are making their comeback on the international stage, this 2016 Grand Slam of Tokyo promises to be very exciting. As a symbol, while all eyes are now turned towards Tokyo 2020 and as international judo is present in Tokyo for this final event of 2016, which will be the fireworks of the previous Olympic cycle, all judoka want to show that one must count on them in the near future. It is not impossible that some of the medallists of the Tokyo Grand Slam 2016, will again write their names in Golden letters within four years.


Use #JudoTokyo2016 to join in with the social media discussion 



Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist JEONG Bo-Kyeong (KOR) makes her first start since the Games and will be confident of improving on her already impressive haul of three Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medals (2011, 2012, 2014). The 25-year-old world bronze medallist, who lost the Olympic final to Paula PARETO (ARG) on a waza-ari score, will have it all to do as she prepares for a reunion with Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists KONDO Ami (JPN) and Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) while former world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) will also be among the top seeds.  


Tyumen Grand Slam winner SHISHIME Ai (JPN) has medalled at every IJF World Judo Tour event she has competed and her reward is selection for the Tokyo Grand Slam. SHISHIME, 22, in unbeaten in 2016 on the international stage with victories at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix, Asian Championships and in Siberia. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Astride GNETO (FRA) is now finding her feet on the senior stage as older sister Priscilla has vacated the category with her sister in mind and with a set of new goals at -57kg. Astride GNETO, 20, will be joined in action by veteran and London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Charline VAN SNICK (BEL) who will make her -52kg debut with her new coach. 


Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL), who has had a biopic released in Mongolia since becoming her country’s first female Olympic medallist, will step back onto the IJF tatami in Tokyo. World number one DORJSUREN has never won a Grand Slam and could put that right on day one in Japan. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Helene RECEVEAUX (FRA) is joined by World Judo Masters bronze medallist KIM Jan-Di (KOR), defending Tokyo Grand Slam champion YOSHIDA Tsukasa (JPN) and former Tokyo Grand Slam runner-up. Former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) is unseeded which is also the case for -57kg newcomer Priscilla GNETO (FRA). 


Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) remarkably kept the -63kg title in Slovenia this summer as the world and European champion became Olympic champion and traded her red backpatch for a gold backpatch. TRSTENJAK currently holds every major honour in the sport and the world number one will be the scalp that every other judoka is aiming to take including Japans four youngsters. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) and Almaty Grand Prix winner Margaux PINOT (FRA) will be targeting a clash against the returning Slovenian champion. 


Tyumen Grand Slam winner ARAI Chizuru (JPN) is tasked with winning the -70kg title for the hosts as Olympic champion TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN) is yet to return and will be a spectator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. ARAI, 23, has won her country’s Grand Slam twice and will be put under threat in her title defence by judoka such as World Judo Masters bronze medallist KIM Seong-Yeon (KOR), Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) and world and European bronze medallist Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA).


TAKAYAMA Rika (JPN) won the Qingdao Grand Prix two weeks ago while world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) is back in action after being one of only two member of Japan’s 14-strong team to miss the podium at Rio 2016. Two-time Grand Slam winner SATO Ruika (JPN) is also seeded while Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA) will compete in Japan for the first time. 


Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist YAMABE Kanae (JPN) is the top seed in the +78kg category. Japan will be expected to run away with this category with world bronze medallist YAMABE featuring alongside Tyumen Grand Slam winner INAMORI Nami (JPN) and Jeju Grand Prix winner ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) who won the Kodokan Cup in November. 



Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) is back in action on Friday as the 23-year-old former world champion will aim to retain his 2015 Tokyo title. Tokai University’s TAKATO will have his hands full with former world silver medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) among Asia’s best while Felipe KITADAI Felipe (BRA) – who produced a sensational flying juji-gatame at this event a year ago – leads the way for the Pan Americas and European champion Walide KHYAR (FRA) will lead the charge for his continent. 


Rio 2016 Olympic champion Fabio BASILE (ITA) showed moments of brilliance and flair before the Games but few expected what came next as he had one of the greatest days in the history of Olympic judo. Unseeded Italian BASILE, 22, has never won an IJF event and yet won four of his five contests in Brazil by ippon including the final over world champion AN Baul (KOR). BASILE has deservedly landed numerous endorsement deals and is a hot commodity in the Italian media but his stunning victory has assured that he will be one of the most studied judoka in the competition and fans will be keen to see the Olympic champion in his gold backpatch for the first time. Tyumen Grand Slam winner ABE Hifumi (JPN) is the most talked about teenager in the sport and the Tokyo 2020 candidate will be hopeful of repeating his 2014 win at home if he can overcome judoka such as double world silver medallist Mikhail PULIAEV (RUS) who suffered a second round exit in Rio.  


Rio 2016 Olympic champion ONO Shohei (JPN) misses his home event with an ankle injury and will need to wait until 2017 to wear his new gold backpatch for the first time. Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Dirk VAN TICHELT (BEL) was one of the big winners in 2016 with an unexpected podium in Brazil as he eliminated world bronze medallist AN Changrim (KOR). The Belgian will be restored to IJF World Judo Tour duty in Japan as World Judo Masters winner and top seed HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN) is the judoka with the most to gain and should be fighting for a place on the podium.  


Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist NAGASE Takanori (JPN) looks set to vie for top spot in Tokyo. World champion NAGASE is the number one seed and will be confident of reclaiming the title he won in 2013 and 2014. A lot was expected of European bronze medallist and IJF supported Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL) and he gave his all to finish seventh on his Olympic debut. The 22-year-old could be a totally different force in this city in 2020 and will be eager to make an impression on his Japanese debut. 


Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist GWAK Donghan (KOR) is the number one seed in the -90kg category. The Olympics did not go as planned for South Korea but world champion GWAK again showed that he is a big stage performer and will need to be at the same level to shine at the Tokyo Grand Slam. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medaliist Axel CLERGET (FRA) missed out on selection for Rio 2016 but is the top-ranked Frenchman at this weight and fittingly starts his Tokyo 2020 quest in the same city. Paris Grand Slam winner NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) will be a major contender at home and will fight along with World Judo Masters silver medallist Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS). 


Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Cyrille MARET (FRA) could dictate the -100kg category on Sunday. Three-time Grand Slam winner MARET will aim to tower over the world-class opposition on the last day of IJF World Judo Tour action for 2016. Qingdao Grand Prix winner Kirill DENISOV (RUS) eased into his new weight category two weeks ago in China and will be there or thereabouts at the fifth Grand Slam of the year as his power looks set to transfer into the -100kg category with immediate effect. 


Top heavyweight seed SHICHINOHE Ryu (JPN) needs to win to re-establish himself as Japan’s number one heavyweight having twice lost in World finals to RINER and therefore was overlooked for the Olympics in favour of the injured HARASAWA Hisayoshi who fought the Frenchman for the first time in the Rio 2016 heavyweight final. Russian great Alexander MIKHAYLIN (RUS) has shocked judo fans by announcing a comeback for the Tokyo Grand Slam having retired in 2014. The three-time world champion and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, 37, feels he is still ahead of Russia’s current crop of +100kg judoka and is as well-placed as anyone to challenge RINER. MIKHAYLIN won the Russian Championships on his return in September and will now be a fascinating opponent for Japan’s top heavyweights in Tokyo.