February 21 - Japan's Olympic champion Kaori Matsumoto showed class is definitely permanent as she returned to action to take gold at the Düsseldorf Judo Grand Prix in her first competitive appearance since victory at London 2012.
Matsumoto overcame World Masters champion Sumiya Dorjsuren of Mongolia in the under 57 kilogram category final as her opponent was penalised twice for passivity, handing the title to the Japanese.
Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Ketleyn Quadros of Brazil and Russia's Irina Zabludina, who upset the home crowd by defeating Miryam Roper, took the bronze medals.
Matsumoto's was one of three gold medals for a dominant Japanese team on the first day of action at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle.
World champion Masashi Ebinuma proved to be another party-pooper in Düsseldorf as he saw off the challenge of European Open bronze medallist Rene Schneider with two quick-fire wazi-aris in the men's under 66kg final, while 2013 Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Toru Shishime prevailed in the all-Japanese under 60kg clash against Junior World Championship bronze medal winner Yuma Oshima.
In the women's under 48kg category, China's Wu Shugen caused an upset as she claimed the title ahead of reigning world champion Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia.
Qingdao Grand Prix silver medallist Wu overcame her more vaunted opponent by virtue of accruing fewer penalties in what was a close contest.
Minsk European Open silver medallist Sonja Wirth was another home athlete who failed to deliver a medal as she lost out to Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi in the bronze medal match, while a hane-goshi after 26 seconds saw Ami Kondo of Japan secure the other podium place against South Korean Jeong Bo Kyeong.
A late shido penalty for passivity cost Japan's Yuki Hashimoto gold in what was an extremely close final in the women's under 52kg category.
Russian Natalia Kuziutina was the beneficiary as she continued her impressive start to the season after taking bronze in Paris earlier this month.
Mareen Kraeh finally provided the home crowd with something to cheer about as she overcame Gili Cohen of Israel, while World Championhip runner-up Erika Miranda of Brazil defeated Finland's Jaana Sundberg in the bronze medal matches.
Tomorrow sees another four categories up for decision as competitors in the men's under 73kg and under 81kg, and the women's under 63kg and under 70kg classes take to the tatami.
The Düsseldorf Grand Prix is due to run through until Sunday (February 23).
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