February 22 - Morocco's Assmaa Niang has won the first World Judo Tour medal of her career with a commanding performance at the Düsseldorf Grand Prix in Germany.
The African champion bounced back from her seventh place finish at the Paris Grand Slam just a few weeks previous to secure the title in front of a 2,800 strong crowd inside the Mitsubishi Electric Halle in the women's under 70 kilogram weight category.
Niang, who had earned silver at the Samsun Grand Prix last year, threw her opponent, Great Britain's Rome European Open bronze medallist Sally Conway, for a waza-ari score before transitioning into osaekomi-waza to earn the biggest result of her career at the age of 31.
South Korea's world number seven Hwang Ye-Sul was handed the first bronze medal after losing semi-finalist Linda Bolder of The Netherlands was force to withdraw due to injury.
Japan's Tokyo Grand Slam winner and Junior World Championships bronze medallist Arai Chizuru silenced the crowd in the second bronze medal match, beating home favourite Iljana Marzok for the last spot on the podium.
The women's under 63kg contest saw Russia's European silver medallist Marta Labzaina upstage Israeli world champion Yarden Gerbi to capture the gold medal.
Gerbi had taken an early exit at the Paris Grand Slam in early February after being knocked out in the first round.
Her run in Germany, although considerably longer, was cut short again as she was thrown for waza-ari from a uki-goshi by Labzaina as the former Russian champion sealed her first title of the year.
The first bronze medal was won in style by Dutch judoka Anicka Van Emden as she ruthlessly dispatched 21-year-old European under-23 champion Kathrin Unterwurzacher of Austria by ippon from a sasae-tsurikoni-ashi.
The German crowd were left to rue yet another Japanese judoka in the second bronze medal match as Tokyo Grand Slam winner Abe Kana held down local favourite Trajdnos Martyna with a kesa-gatame for the win.
Japan's good run of form continued in the men's under 73kg category as former world champion Akimoto Hiroyuki threw Israel's Sagi Muki with a rapid drop seoi-nage with just eight seconds remaining to earn the applause of the crowd and well deserved gold medal.
Russia added to their medal tally in the first of two bronze medal matches as former world bronze medallist Musa Mogushkov edged past Kazakh judoka Dastan Ykbayev with a yuko from a ko-uchi-gari.
The second bronze medal was won by Slovkia's Rok Draksic as he overcame the United States' world number 12 Nicholas Delpopolo in a highly-entertaining contest.
The final contest of the day saw America's Tashkent Grand Prix winner Travis Stevens dominate the under 81kg division as he laid siege to his opponents in a bid to regain his place atop the Judo World Tour podium.
In the final, Stevens flipped world number six Sven Maresch with a sumi-gaeshi and, despite the German turning and avoiding landing on his back, managed to pin his opponent with a mune-gatame to secure the gold.
The two bronze medals in this final category were won by Uzbekistan's Shukhratjon Arslanov and Germany's Alexander Wieczerzak as they beat the Russian duo of Stanislav Semenov and Sirazhudin Magomedov.
Competition continues tomorrow as the final five weight categories - women's under 78kg and over 78kg, and the men's under 90kg, under 100kg and over 100kg - get underway.
Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.
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