Monday, February 27, 2017

Düsseldorf Grand Prix 2017 - Germany DAY THREE


The Düsseldorf Grand Prix 2017 cast Germany as the centre of the judo world one final time on Sunday as the Mitsubishi Electric Halle was transformed into the land of the giants for some colossal ippons which contributed to some first-class judo.  

The first Grand Prix of 2017 featured five categories on the final day as the men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories were joined in action by the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories.

 David TEKIC (GER) and father Slavko TEKIC 

During the preliminaries there was a special moment in the -90kg category which produced an all-father and son contest. Qingdao Grand Prix winner Max STEWART (GBR) had his father and Seoul 1988 Olympic bronze medallist Dennis STEWART coaching him while his opponent David TEKIC (GER) had his father and former German international Slavko TEKIC giving him instructions from the coaching chair.

Great Britain's STEWART (white) won the contest against TEKIC (GER) in the -90kg opening round 

Mr. Florin Daniel LASCAU, IJF Sports Director, said: “This moment shows that judo is continued through families and generations and in this case it as at the elite level. It is pleasing to see both Max and David follow their family’s judo path and they are two very exciting young judoka.

“We say that judo is more than a sport and you could see an incredible amount of respect and natural camaraderie between the two duo’s who have contributed a great to judo in Great Britain and in Germany.”

Max STEWART (GBR) was urged on by his father Dennis STEWART

After France and Germany, the IJF World Judo Tour will now head for Azerbaijan and the 2018 World Championships host city of Baku. The second Grand Slam of 2017 will be held in Baku from Friday 10 – Saturday 12 March.

Watch #JudoBaku2017, the third event on the IJF World Judo Tour 2016, live and free at

Japan's WOLF Aaron (blue) throws Great Britain's Ben FLETCHER (white) for ippon in golden score during their -100kg semi-final with uchi-mata 

Medal Table after DAY 3


-78kg: World champion UMEKI justifies red backpatch after barren spell            

World champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) won her first international gold medal since claiming world gold in 2015 as her red backpatch reserved only for world winners finally looks fitting for the young judoka. Former Baku Grand Slam winner Madeleine MALONGA (FRA), a two-time Grand Prix winner, was unable to capture a third title despite leading with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata. UMEKI, 22, defeated MALONGA, 23, on the ground as she held down the Frenchwoman with a yoko-shiho-gatame hold to win her first Grand Prix gold medal.

In the first semi-final world number five Natalie POWELL (GBR) was beaten by UMEKI. Welsh judoka POWELL attacked with ouchi-gari but was countered by the Japanese for a waza-ari score and then the former was trapped in osaekomi and elected to tap out after three seconds. In the second semi-final Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Karen STEVENSON (NED) fell to MALONGA who used her long frame to take down her Dutch opponent with an ouchi-gari for ippon.

The first bronze medal was won by Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Klara APOTEKAR (SLO) who defeated STEVENSON to secure a spot on a Grand Prix medal podium for the first time. A waza-ari for the former was the difference after four minutes as STEVENSON is still finding her feet at this level and will be relatively content with a fifth-place finish.
The second bronze medal contest was won by Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist TAKAYAMA Rika (JPN) who toppled. Walsall-based Olympian POWELL was thrown for a waza-ari score and the Japanese judoka moved into the osaekomi while also applying the ude-garami and the Commonwealth Games winner was powerless to escape on the ground.

UMEKI, Mami (JPN) vs MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA)          
Bronze Medal Fights
APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO) vs STEVENSON, Karen (NED)                                           
POWELL, Natalie (GBR) vs TAKAYAMA, Rika (JPN)                                                          

Final Results 
1. UMEKI, Mami (JPN)
2. MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA)
3. APOTEKAR, Klara (SLO)
5. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)
7. TURCHYN, Anastasiya (UKR)

+78kg: Ukraine’s KINDZERKSKA conquers the Grand Prix stage          

Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR) defeated five-time world medallist TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN) to make sure that her country’s only medal in Germany was of the golden variety. World number 24 TACHIMOTO, 28, was making her return from a lengthy injury lay-off and that showed as the 25-year-old Ukrainian, who was fifth at the London 2012 Olympics, drove over the accomplished Japanese heavyweight in golden score with a tani-otoshi for a match-winning waza-ari score and her first Grand Prix gold prize. 

In the first semi-final TACHIMOTO defeated Pan American Championships bronze medallist Rochele NUNES (BRA) by a waza-ari score to guarantee one more medal for Japan whose women’s team were on fire in Germany all weekend. In the second semi-final KINDZERSKA held down Madrid European Open silver medallist Kristin BUESSOW (GER) for 20 seconds and ippon in the closing stages of their contest.

The first bronze medal was won by World Judo Masters bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) as her home opponent BUESSOW received a third shido for passivity and was disqualified. The second bronze medal was won by 16-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist SONE Akira (JPN) who, having had a morote-seoi-nage countered for a waza-ari score, was powerful for her vastly more experienced opponent. SONE scored three waza-ari to take command of the contest and held down NUNES for 20 seconds to make a mockery of her level of inexperience and the 11-year age gap between the two.


Bronze Medal Fights
BUESSOW, Kristin (GER) vs CERIC, Larisa (BIH)
NUNES, Rochele (BRA) vs SONE, Akira (JPN)

Final Results
2. TACHIMOTO, Megumi (JPN)
3. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)
3. SONE, Akira (JPN)
5. BUESSOW, Kristin (GER)
5. NUNES, Rochele (BRA)
7. KUELBS, Jasmin (GER)
7. IAROMKA, Svitlana (UKR)


-90kg: Five-star GVINIASHVILI shows guts and guile in Germany            

Former World Judo Masters winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) may only be 21 years old but he is one of the most decorated and talented judoka in the sport and is just getting started. The Georgian won his fifth Grand Prix gold medal on Sunday with a mercurial display that illustrated why he is the golden boy of Georgian judo. World Judo Masters runner-up Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS), who himself is 23 years old, absorbed the power and tenacity of his foe until the last 10 seconds when the Rio 2016 Olympian had plenty in reserve and threw with a huge makikomi effort for a waza-ari before seizing the osaekomi in the form of a kuzure-ushiro-kesa-gatame for gold. 

In the first semi-final 19-year-old Eduard TRIPPEL (GER), who defeated Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) in the quarter-finals in golden score, came undone against former World Judo Masters winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO). A flashy piece of ashi-waza from the Georgian was worthy of a waza-ari score and former Cadet European Championships bronze medallist gave everything but could find a way onto the scoreboard. In the second semi-final Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) succumbed to World Judo Masters runner-up Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS) by ippon as the Spaniard slipped into the repechage and the Russian moved into the final.

The first bronze medal was awarded to world number 20 NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) who telegraphed a ko-soto attack from world number 31 SHERAZADISHVILI and countered for a waza-ari before pinning the latter in osaekomi for ippon.               

The second bronze medal went to Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Mihael ZGANK (SLO) as TRIPPEL was denied a home medal after a breakthrough performance. TRIPPEL, who was fighting to become the first German man to medal this weekend, took the lead with a waza-ari from an osoto-makikomi before ZGANK restored level terms with 30 seconds remaining from a koshi-guruma. ZGANK was not done there as he threw the young German with a sumi-gaeshi for a second waza-ari with eight seconds left on the clock. 


Bronze Medal Fights
TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER) vs ZGANK, Mihael (SLO)

Final Results
3. ZGANK, Mihael (SLO)
5. TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER)
7. USTOPIRIYON, Komronshokh (TJK)
7. MAJDOV, Nemanja (SRB)

-100kg: NIKIFOROV bounces back for second Grand Prix title after early Paris exit             

World bronze medallist Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL) lost his opening contest in Paris a fortnight ago but bounced back like a true champion to register his second Grand Prix career victory on Sunday. The Belgian fighter, whose last international medal was silver at the European Championships almost a year ago, needed just 35 seconds to defeat two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist and Tokai University member WOLF Aaron (JPN) who had no choice but to tap out to the shime-waza.  

In the first semi-final former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Ben FLETCHER (GBR) matched WOLF in regulation time before being launched with an uchi-mata for ippon after two minutes of golden score. In the second semi-final Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Kazbek ZANKISHIEV (RUS) was below-par against world bronze medallist Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL) as the Russian was penalised three times to receive hansoku-make and send his Belgian adversary into the gold medal contest.

The first bronze medal was won by ZANKISHIEV who returned to winning ways against Johannes FREY (GER), the younger brother of two-time world medallist Karl-Richard FREY (GER). The Russian pressed from the outset and scored a waza-ari without reply which boosted his country’s medal count on the last day in Germany.

The second bronze medal was won by European bronze medallist Michael KORREL (NED) who held down FLETCHER for 20 seconds and ippon. The Dutch judoka won his fourth Grand Prix medal by pinning down Pinewood Judo Club product FLETCHER who was coached by England-based Juergen KLINGER who comes from Hannover, Germany.

WOLF, Aaron (JPN) vs NIKIFOROV, Toma (BEL)
Bronze Medal Fights
FREY, Johannes (GER) vs ZANKISHIEV, Kazbek (RUS)
FLETCHER, Ben (GBR) vs KORREL, Michael (NED)

Final Result
2. WOLF, Aaron (JPN)
3. KORREL, Michael (NED)
5. FREY, Johannes (GER)
7. FREY, Karl-Richard (GER)

+100kg: Japan’s KAGEURA takes the limelight and spoils ahead of teammate            

Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist KAGEURA Kokoro (JPN) won the final contest of the first Grand Prix of the year as he unexpectedly defeat Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN). KAGEURA, 21, of Tokai University, is still relatively unknown on the IJF circuit but introduced himself to a new audience in his first senior competition outside of Asia. The 21-year-old, who is now right in the mix for Japan along with Paris Grand Slam winner and fellow Tokai University member OJITANI Takeshi (JPN), countered a weak uchi-mata attempt from HARASAWA for a waza-ari which proved decisive. 

In the first semi-final -100kg Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) was scored on for the first time today and it was ippon as 21-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist KAGEURA Kokoro (JPN) conjured up a highlight reel moment in golden score. KRPALEK moved forward and almost caught his Japanese opponent with a ko-uchi-gari but neither judoka could produce a score in regulation time. After 12 seconds of golden score KAGEURA got under his Czech opponent to throw with a drop-seoi-nage and a place in the gold medal contest.

In the second semi-final HARASAWA bided his time before forcing Asian Championships bronze medallist Iurii KRAKOVETSKII (KGZ) over with an ouchi-gari for ippon in the final 30 seconds.

The first bronze medal went to Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist BOR Barna (HUN) after an epic duel against KRAKOVETSKII. With no scores after four minutes the medal contest continued into golden score for another four minutes before the Hungarian threw with an ippon-seoi-nage for a waza-ari score. The crowd was eight behind both judoka and stayed with them throughout golden score as they received a pleasing score to finish a memorable bout.         
The second bronze medal went to Tashkent Grand Prix winner Yerzhan SHYNKEYEV (KAZ) as KRPALEK endured a frustrating start to life at +100kg on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Czech star looked flatfooted in the early stages and was thrown for a waza-ari with an uchi-mata. KRPALEK, who was on a roll in the preliminaries as he won his first three contests on the ground – including a notable dismissal of 180kg World Judo Masters winner Daniel NATEA (ROU) – saw the contest get away from him as SHYNKEYEV did just not enough to hold onto his avtange and not to receive a third shido.

HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN) vs KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)
Bronze Medal Fights
KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE) vs SHYNKEYEV, Yerzhan (KAZ)
Final Result
1. KAGEURA, Kokoro (JPN)
2. HARASAWA, Hisayoshi (JPN)
3. BOR, Barna (HUN)
3. SHYNKEYEV, Yerzhan (KAZ)                          
5. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE)
7. HARMEGNIES, Benjamin (BEL)
7. KHAMMO, Iakiv (UKR)        

Düsseldorf Grand Prix 2017 - Germany DAY TWO


The Dusseldorf Grand Prix 2017 continued to provide a veritable feast of world-class judo as the middleweights graced the Mitsubishi Electric Halle on Saturday.

Day two at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix 2017 


The IJF World Judo Tour’s first Grand Prix on the 2017 calendar featured four categories on day two as medallists were crowned in the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories and the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories.

Preliminary action in the -81kg category as eventual winner LAPPINAGOV  goes all out 

Russia dominated the men’s divisions as they won -73kg and -81kg gold while France took the -63kg title and Japan clinched the -70kg gold to remain out in front.

The Düsseldorf Grand Prix 2017 will come to an explosive finale on Sunday with the heavyweights in action. The men’s -90kg, -100kg and +100kg categories will feature on the three mats in addition to the women’s -78kg and +78kg categories. Rio 2016 Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) is fresh off a lengthy training camp in Japan and is ready to start a new chapter in his illustrious career as moves up to the +100kg category on Sunday.   

Japanese men's coach KANAMARU Yusuke looks on as his athlete (white) goes on the attack 

Medal Table after two days of competition


Use #JudoDdorf2017 to join in with the social media discussion 


-63kg:  Seventh heaven for AGBEGNENOU as the Frenchwoman rushes to glory  

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) was back on top of an IJF podium for the first time in over a year with a straightforward win over European Games winner Martyna TRAJDOS (GER). AGBEGNENOU lead her head-to-head series with TRAJDOS 6-1 coming into the final and extended her one-sided rule over the German judoka by throwing spectacularly for ippon with an osoto-makikomi after 32 seconds. AGBEGNENOU, who has medalled at every IJF event she has entered since 2012, shut out TRAJDOS – who came up short in her quest to win her home event for the first time – and now has arch—rival Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) in her sights. 

AGBEGNENOU said: “I came here with the hope of fighting Tina again but it was not to be today. I know we will meet again soon and I will be ready. I know I can work harder and I need to if I want to win European and world medals again.

“I was pleased to use a familiar technique to again beat Martyna but if that did not work then I was ready with many more. It is great to win again and be on top of the podium. I am happy and looking forward to more challenges in 2017.”

In the first semi-final Junior world champion NABEKURA Nami (JPN) was topped by home opposition as TRAJDOS won by a waza-ari from a ko-uchi-gari. In the second semi-final AGBEGNENOU picked up Qingdao Grand Prix silver medallist Lucy RENSHALL (GBR) with her trademark ura-nage for a waza-ari and the Brit tapped out just as her opponent moved into the osaekomi.

The first bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 Olympic champion and world champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) as RENSHALL could not compete having picked up an elbow injury in her semi-final loss at the hands of AGBEGNENOU.  

The second bronze medal was won by NABEKURA who beat teammate and former Tokyo Grand Slam winner TSUGANE Megumi (JPN) after two minutes of golden score. TSUGANE, 21, who last won an IJF medal in 2014 when she captured bronze at the Qingdao Grand Prix in 2014, finished the four minutes with a shido against her name but a contest cannot be decided on shidos in regulation time. After a couple more minutes and a continued lack of attacking intent from both judoka the referee issued a shido for passivity to both judoka which made the younger judoka NABEKURA the winner. 
TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER) vs AGBEGNENOU, Clarisse (FRA)                                                                                     
Bronze Medal Fights
RENSHALL, Lucy (GBR) vs TRSTENJAK, Tina (SLO)          
NABEKURA, Nami (JPN) vs TSUGANE, Megumi (JPN)                                           

Final Results
1. AGBEGNENOU, Clarisse (FRA)                                                                                             
2. TRAJDOS, Martyna (GER)                                           
3. TRSTENJAK, Tina (SLO)                                   
3. NABEKURA, Nami (JPN)                                             
5. RENSHALL, Lucy (GBR)             
5. TSUGANE, Megumi (JPN)                                                                                           
7. DOBRE, Stefania Adelina (ROU)
7. SILVA, Mariana (BRA)                                          

-70kg:  ARAI cements world number one ranking en route to Budapest 2017 

Paris Grand Slam winner ARAI Chizuru (JPN) won her second IJF World Judo Tour event in the month of February to maintain a 100% record in 2017. ARAI, 23, broke the deadlock with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata against Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA). The Japanese judoka added a second waza-ari and wrapped up her young French foe with a mune-gatame hold to win gold.  

In the first semi-final ARAI Chizuru (JPN) drove Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) over with a picturesque uchi-mata for ippon. In the second semi-final GAHIE (FRA) threw former Cadet European Championships winner Giovanna SCOCCIMARRO (GER) with a ura-nage for ippon at the halfway point of their contest.

The first bronze medal was claimed by former Warsaw European Open bronze medallist Lola MANSOUR (BEL) who derailed the plans of 19-year-old German Championships bronze medallist COCCIMARRO as the former won the first Grand Prix medal contest of her career by a waza-ari.                                           

The second bronze medal was captured by 20-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam winner NIIZOE Saki (JPN) who defeated VAN DIJKE, 21, with a waza-ari score in golden score from an uchi-mata on the edge of the contest area. 
ARAI, Chizuru (JPN) vs GAHIE, Marie Eve (FRA)                                                                                         

Bronze Medal Fights
MANSOUR, Lola (BEL) vs COCCIMARRO, Giovanna (GER)                                          
VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED) vs NIIZOE, Saki (JPN)               

Final Results
1. ARAI, Chizuru (JPN)                                                
2. GAHIE, Marie Eve (FRA)                                               
3. MANSOUR, Lola (BEL)           
3. NIIZOE, Saki (JPN)                                                              
5. COCCIMARRO, Giovanna (GER)                                                                                        
5. VAN DIJKE, Sanne (NED)      
7. DIEDRICH, Szaundra (GER)
7. RODRIGUEZ, Sara (ESP)                                                                          


-73kg: Invincible IARTCEV starts his year with convincing victory in Germany                

Former World Judo Masters winner Denis IARTCEV (RUS) ruled the -73kg category in Dusseldorf as he defeated Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and London 2012 Olympic champion Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) in the final. IARTCEV, who was trying to avenge a Rio 2016 repechage defeat to the Georgian, went ahead with a waza-ari from a nice piece of ashi-waza and concluded a fine outing by ippon from a ko-soto-gake. 

In the first semi-final SHAVDATUASHVILI defeated Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Tohar BUTBUL (ISR) after the Israeli received three shidos and hansoku-make. In the second semi-final Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Tommy MACIAS (SWE) was thrown with a beautiful osoto-makikomi by IARTCEV (RUS) for ippon after one minute of action.

The first bronze medal contest saw MACIAS return to winning ways at the expense of home judoka and Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Igor WANDTKE (GER). The Swede’s sutemi-waza earned a waza-ari score and that was the difference at the end of the four minute contest.

The second bronze medal went to former Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Guillaume CHAINE (FRA) who prevailed against rising contender BUTBUL. CHAINE won his first Grand Prix medal by throwing with his ippon seoi-nage for a waza-ari as France continued their climb up the medal table on day two.  
SHAVDATUASHVILI, Lasha (GEO) vs IARTCEV, Denis (RUS)                        

Bronze Medal Fights
WANDTKE, Igor (GER) vs MACIAS, Tommy (SWE)                                            
BUTBUL, Tohar (ISR) vs CHAINE, Guillaume (FRA)                             

Final Results
1. IARTCEV, Denis (RUS)                
2. SHAVDATUASHVILI, Lasha (GEO)                                     
3. MACIAS, Tommy (SWE)                                                 
3. CHAINE, Guillaume (FRA)                                                             
5. WANDTKE, Igor (GER)  
5. BUTBUL, Tohar (ISR)  
7. CONTINI, Marcelo (BRA)
7. ESTRADA, Magdiel (CUB)                                                                      

-81kg: LAPPINAGOV wins his first Grand Prix title as Russia hit golden medal trail   

World number 15 Aslan LAPPINAGOV (RUS) struck in Germany as he received -81kg gold with a battling performance. The Russian, who has a whole star-laden roster to compete with at this weight in his homeland – including the reigning Olympic champion Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) – was spared from a meeting against Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist UNGVARI Attila (HUN) in the final as the Hungarian could not compete having sustained a right knee injury from a tai-otoshi attempt in his semi-final. 

In the first semi-final former Junior European Championships bronze medallist Dorin GOTONOAGA (MDA) was subdued by UNGVARI Attila (HUN) via shime-waza as the Hungarian showed his effective ne-waza once again having also won his quarter-final on the ground. In the second semi-final a clash of the Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallists saw Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL) lose out after 30 seconds of golden score to LAPPINAGOV. The Russian opened the scoring with a waza-ari with 37 seconds left but IVANOV restored parity with 20 seconds remaining. LAPPINAGOV came up with a match-winning score in added time and advanced to the final.    

The first bronze medal was won by IVANOV who bested Glasgow European Open silver medallist Benjamin MUENNICH (GER) by a waza-ari score. World number five IVANOV, 22, who was funded to compete in Germany by the IJF, threw his rival beautifully with a sumptuous drop seoi-nage.

The second bronze medal was claimed by GOTONOAGA in dramatic fashion as he switched his body cleverly to throw 21-year-old Junior European Championships silver medallist Anri EGUTIDZE (POR) for ippon. EGUTIDZE, who moved with his family when he was growing up from the Western side of Georgia to Portugal, was caught with a tani-otoshi with five seconds left for the maximum score. 
LAPPINAGOV, Aslan (RUS) vs UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)                                               

Bronze Medal Fights
IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL) vs MUENNICH, Benjamin (GER)                                    
GOTONOAGA, Dorin (MDA) vs EGUTIDZE, Anri (POR)                                        

Final Result
1. LAPPINAGOV, Aslan (RUS)  
2. UNGVARI, Attila (HUN)                                                                           
3. IVANOV, Ivaylo (BUL)  
3. GOTONOAGA, Dorin (MDA)                                            
5. MUENNICH, Benjamin (GER)                                          
5. EGUTIDZE, Anri (POR)                                            
7. BRIAND, Etienne (CAN)                            
7. AVALIANI, Ambako (GEO)       

10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

LocationMitsubishi Electric Halle

Düsseldorf Grand Prix 2017 - Germany DAY ONE


The Düsseldorf Grand Prix 2017, the first IJF Grand Prix of the year, opened on Friday with Rio 2016 Olympic medallists and world champions in action at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle. 

The IJF World Judo Tour 2017 opened in France with the Paris Grand Slam earlier this month and has now settled in Germany for one of the most established events on the circuit.

Germany’s annual Grand Prix has called Düsseldorf home since 2010 and has attracted the top judoka and nations from all continents. This year the three-day event is the most important Grand Prix in the history of the IJF World Judo Tour as the reward for winning gold is a record-breaking 700 points towards the World Ranking List.

Japan's ABE Uta (white) in semi-final action against Romania's Alexandra-Larisa FLORIAN (blue)

Three women’s categories and two men’s categories were settled on day one as the women’s -48kg, -52kg and -57kg judoka and the men’s -60kg and -66kg athletes aimed to scoop the new points windfall and catapult themselves up the rankings.

The IJF’s new rules, which were adopted for the first time on the IJF World Judo Tour 2017 at the Paris Grand Slam, are being used throughout the year until this year’s World Championships in August.

Mr. Vladimir BARTA (below - left), IJF Head Sport Director, said: “Good afternoon Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be here in Dusseldorf for the first Grand Prix of the 2017 season.

“This year we have 346 judoka competing from 50 nations and the reward for a gold medal is now 700 points which is a record for a Grand Prix event.

“We are delighted to see Olympic and world champions here among the participants and I would like to wish you all good luck and a successful competition. On behalf of the IJF President Mr. Marius VIZER, I declare the German Grand Prix 2017 open.”

Mr. Peter FRESE (above - right), German Judo Federation President, said: “I thank you all for your support and it is great to see you here in Germany. I hope for the best ippons and fantastic judo. I wish you all good luck and a wonderful competition.”

IJF Hall of Famer, Mr. Neil ADAMS, was one of the most influential figures in the shaping and application of the changes, and is present in Germany in his new role as an IJF Referee Supervisor.

ADAMS, who is working alongside fellow Referee Supervisors Mr. Florin Daniel LASCAU and Alexander JATSKEVITCH and the IJF Refereeing Commission, explained his new role and its challenges.

“It is not a contest between us and the referee’s or the commission, we are here to help with the implementation of the rules and to make sure they are implemented in the right way. We look for mistakes and hope to make the job easier for referees.

“What we want is for judoka and coaches to have a goal of having to score and have to throw for victory as opposed to playing for negative scores.”

The double Olympic silver medallist said that the changes are universal in that everyone has to adjust to them and Adams himself is getting to grips with his new position.

“My new role presents new challenges and different responsibilities,” said Adams. 

“We have to find the positive way forward, make adjustments and promote more technical skills as opposed to teaching tactics and this is vital for our sport.”

“We want judoka and coaches to share the same mentality as part of the team, to have a positive outlook and I am pleased to say that the work of the Referee Supervisors has been well received and supported by all parties.”

Medal table after Day 1

Day two of the Düsseldorf Grand Prix will see four weight categories in action as the men’s -73kg and -81kg categories will compete alongside the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories with four more winners set be crowned in Germany. 


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-48kg:  TONAKI on verge of Worlds debut after sealing Grand Prix treble    

Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist TONAKI Funa (JPN) moved one step closer to World Championships selection after winning the third Grand Prix gold medal of her career. The 21-year-old was unbeatable in Dusseldorf as she won all four contests by ippon including the final against Glasgow European Open bronze medallist Melanie CLEMENT (FRA). TONAKI, who like many of her lighter Japanese colleagues is masterful on the ground, was able to wrap up her opponent with a mune-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon in the opening minute. 

In the first semi-final CLEMENT bested European bronze medallist Monica UNGUREANU (ROU) by a waza-ari to guarantee a career-best result. In the second semi-final TONAKI proved too much for Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Noa MINSKER (ISR) to contend with as the latter received hansoku-make for three shidos with no scores registered.

The first bronze medal contest was won by MINSKER who frustrated top seed and u23 European champion Milica NIKOLIC (SRB). The Israeli was penalised for not taking a grip but finished with a flurry of attacks before countering her in-form opponent for a ura-nage which earned a waza-ari score with 35 seconds left on the clock. There was not enough time left for the Serbian to mount a comeback as the aggressor MINSKER deserved to win the second Grand Prix medal of her career.                                                 

The second bronze medal was won by UNGUREANU who dismissed Casablanca African Open bronze medallist Melodie VAUGARNY (FRA). The French judoka was in a Grand Prix medal contest for the first time and was confidently dispatched by her Romanian opponent who, having been penalised with a shido for a leg grab, shaped up for a tani-otoshi attack but also lifted her rival for ippon after just a minute of action.               
TONAKI, Funa (JPN) vs CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA)                                      
Bronze Medal Fights
MINSKER, Noa (ISR) vs NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)                                             
VAUGARNY, Melodie (FRA) vs UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)                    

Final Results
1. TONAKI, Funa (JPN)                                             
2. CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA)                     
3. MINSKER, Noa (ISR)                                               
3. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)                                              
5. NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB)                                              
5. VAUGARNY, Melodie (FRA)                           
7. CHERNIAK, Maryna (UKR)
7. RISHONY, Shira (ISR)          

-52kg: ABE becomes the youngest ever IJF World Judo Tour gold medallist at 16 years old                       

Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist ABE Uta (JPN) wrote her name into the record books as she became the youngest ever winner at an IJF World Judo Tour event. ABE, 16, the younger sister of 19-year-old Paris Grand Slam winner ABE Hifumi, saw off former European silver medallist Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) with a low uchi-mata for a waza-ari. World number 46 ABE, who turns 17 in July, utilised her favourite technique for a waza-ari which was the difference after four minutes. World number 73 BUCHARD will be delighted to be back on the podium after a testing run which saw her move back and forth between the -48kg and -52kg categories. ABE has a high school competition in March and the All Japan Championships in April and will certainly be a major player on the IJF World Judo Tour for the remainder of 2017.  


In the first semi-final ABE defeated Alexandra-Larisa FLORIAN (ROU) by the maximum score with a uchi-mata. In the second semi-final former Baku Grand Slam winner Gili COHEN (ISR) was held down by BUCHARD with a tate-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon.

The first bronze medal was clinched by Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist SHISHIME Ai (JPN) who responded to her semi-final blip with a routine win over COHEN. Number one seed SHISHIME, who won in Germany last year, was unable to successfully defend her title but did enough for a bronze medal as she had total upper body control over her opponent who was trapped in a mune-gatame for 20 seconds.  

The second bronze medal was won by FLORIAN who floored former Rio Grand Slam winner Eleudis VALENTIM (BRA) with a stunning piece of ashi-waza. The young Romanian caught her opponent with a de-ashi-barai for a wonderful finish after 75 seconds.                                          
ABE, Uta (JPN) vs BUCHARD, Amandine (FRA)                                                            

Bronze Medal Fights
COHEN, Gili (ISR) vs SHISHIME, Ai (JPN)                                         
FLORIAN, Alexandra-Larisa (ROU) vs VALENTIM, Eleudis (BRA)                                           
Final Results
1. ABE, Uta (JPN)                                    
2. BUCHARD, Amandine (FRA)                                
3. SHISHIME, Ai (JPN)                                                                                     
3. FLORIAN, Alexandra-Larisa (ROU)                                             
5. COHEN, Gili (ISR)          
5. VALENTIM, Eleudis (BRA)                                           
7. GUICA, Ecaterina (CAN)                            
7. NORDMEYER, Nieke (GER)                                                 

-57kg: Home heroics steers STOLL to German gold     

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Theresa STOLL (GER) stunned Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) for a sensational home victory in the -57kg final. World number 27 STOLL, 21, an ippon seoi-nage specialist, was a surprise finalist but the greatest shock was still to come as the game German not only took DORJSUREN into golden score but countered the Ulaanbaatar judoka after one minute for a match-winning waza-ari. Five-time Grand Prix winner DORJSUREN, 25, whose life story has been told in a special film in Mongolia, has extended her lead at the helm of the -57kg rankings but 700 points for STOLL and a maiden Grand Prix crown is a dream start to 2017.  

STOLL said: “It all feels like a dream to me, I could not believe I was in the final against DORJSUREN. I talked to my sister after my semi-final win and was able to regain my composure to come out for the final. It is difficult to put into words what I am feeling right now but I cannot wait for my next event and I hope to challenge at the European Championships this year.” 

In the first semi-final DORJSUREN bested former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) who received a third shido for passivity and therefore hansoku-make. Both judoka had two shidos and no scores to their names until the Japanese committed one mistake too many to be relegated into the repechage while DORJSUREN advanced into the final. In the second semi-final home judoka STOLL defeated Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Jovana ROGIC (SRB) after a minute of golden score with a ko-soto-gake yielding ippon. Neither judoka had the edge in regulation time but the German STOLL took the initiative in added time to seal a place in the gold medal contest. 

The first bronze medal was won by ROGIC who thwarted Qingdao Grand Prix winner Anastasiia KONKINA (RUS) with a waza-ari score which was the only score in the four minute contest as Serbia got off the mark on day one in Germany.       

The second bronze medal was won by UDAKA in just 40 seconds as she blasted her way onto the podium against Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Daria MEZHETCKAIA (RUS). UDAKA drove past her opponent with her trademark osoto-gari for ippon as Russia were left disappointed in both -57kg bronze medal contests.                            

DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL) vs STOLL, Theresa (GER)                        

Bronze Medal Fights
ROGIC, Jovana (SRB) vs KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS)        
UDAKA, Nae (JPN) vs MEZHETCKAIA, Daria (RUS)                                            


Final Results 
1. STOLL, Theresa (GER)                                          
2. DORJSUREN, Sumiya (MGL)                                         
3. ROGIC, Jovana (SRB)                        
3. UDAKA, Nae (JPN)                                                      
5. KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS)                                           
5. MEZHETCKAIA, Daria (RUS)                                                            
7. GNETO, Priscilla (FRA)
7. BENARROCHE, Lola (FRA)                                  


-60kg: Former world king GANBAT rediscovers the winning feeling

Former world champion GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL) returned to the top of the medal podium on the IJF stage with a determined display in Germany. The Mongolian, who last claimed gold at the Baku Grand Slam last year, rolled over Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) for a waza-ari score and only his second IJF gold medal since winning the World Championships in 2014. 

In the first semi-final Glasgow European Open winner Phelipe PELIM (BRA) lost out to GANBAT by a waza-ari in golden score. In the second semi-final former world silver medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) was well beaten by PAPINASHVILI by ippon after the Georgian initially led by a waza-ari.

The first bronze medal was won by DASHDAVAA who rallied in golden score to defeat former European bronze medallist Ashley MCKENZIE (GBR). The Mongolian was off the pace in regulation time as MCKENZIE had the better of the first four minutes. With no scores registered a winner could only be determined with additional time and DASHDAVAA caught his opponent with a sumi-gaeshi for a match-winning waza-ari score and his 13th Grand Prix medal.       

The second bronze medal was won by PELIM who defeated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP) after two minutes of golden score with a quickfire te-waza movement.              
PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO) vs GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL)                                 

Bronze Medal Fights
DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL) vs MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR)                                              
PELIM, Phelipe (BRA) vs GARRIGOS, Francisco (ESP)                 


Final Results
1. GANBAT, Boldbaatar (MGL)                     
2. PAPINASHVILI, Amiran (GEO)                                    
3. DASHDAVAA, Amartuvshin (MGL)                                                 
3. PELIM, Phelipe (BRA)                                                 
5. MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR)                                                                                           
5. GARRIGOS, Francisco (ESP)                                  
7. KHYAR, Walide (FRA)
7. BESTAEV, Otar (KGZ)                                                                             

-66kg: MARGVELASHVILI shows there is no margin for error on the Grand Prix stage             European champion Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) followed up on his Paris Grand Slam bronze medal with Grand Prix gold in Germany. The gritty Georgian conquered 21-year-old Kodokan Cup winner ISODA Norihito (JPN) in the final. ISODA was a Cadet World Championships silver medallist in 2011 in a Japanese team which also included the likes of Tokyo Grand Slam winners NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) and ASAHINA Sarah (JPN). ISODA worked his way through to the final without raising any eyebrows but his coach always had complete faith in his judoka as former world silver medallist KANAMARU Yusuke was already in his suit – a requirement only for the final block – from the opening contest on Friday morning. World number 10 MARGVELASHVILI sealed gold after nine seconds of golden score with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata as he hunts down top spot on the World Ranking List. 

In the first semi-final ISODA pinned down Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR) for 20 seconds and ippon via a mune-gatame hold. In the second semi-final three-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Tal FLICKER (ISR) was overwhelmed by MARGVELASHVILI who scored three waza-ari without reply. The Georgian opened with a waza-ari from a hip throw and, as there is no longer waza-ari-awasette-ippon, added a second and third with his uchi-mata for a place in the -66kg final.

The first bronze medal was won by FLICKER who beat former Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Sergiu OLEINIC (POR) by two scores. FLICKER found his scoring touch in the final block as he threw on two occasions for waza-ari scores while OLEINIC could not trouble the scoreboard.           
The second bronze medal went to former world bronze medallist Kamal KHAN-MAGOMEDOV (RUS) who launched SHMAILOV with an emphatic o-goshi for the maximum score and bronze at the first Grand Prix of 2017.                            
MARGVELASHVILI, Vazha (GEO) vs ISODA, Norihito (JPN)                                                                            

Bronze Medal Fights
FLICKER, Tal (ISR) vs OLEINIC, Sergiu (POR)                                             
SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR) vs KHAN-MAGOMEDOV, Kamal (RUS)                             

Final Result
2. ISODA, Norihito (JPN)                                        
3. FLICKER, Tal (ISR)                                                     
3. KHAN-MAGOMEDOV, Kamal (RUS)                                                               
5. OLEINIC, Sergiu (POR)                                                                                               
5. SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR)  
7. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL)                                        
7. VIERU, Denis (MDA)                                                                            

10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg

10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

Location: Mitsubishi Electric Halle