By Paul Osborne

Madeleine MalongaMadeleine Malonga has secured a final gold for France as they top the medal table in the Baku Grand Slam ©IJF has taken gold on the final day of the Baku Judo Grand Slam as France top the medal table with three golds.

The Paris Grand Slam runner-up was back to winning ways inside the Sarhadchi Olympic Sport Centre, proving unbeatable in the -78 kilogram category as she defeated Italy's Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Assunta Galeone.

It was not all bad news for the Italian as she secured her first Grand Slam medal in a career spanning more than a decade.

Guusje Steenhuis added to the Netherlands' medal tally in Azerbaijan as she sealed the first bronze medal with a win against the United States' Samantha Bleier.

Russia were right on the heels of their Dutch counterparts in the medal standings and kept up the pressure after Anastasia Dmitrieva beat France's European Championships bronze medallist Lucie Louette to seal the second bronze.

Madeleine Malonga's gold medal in the -78kg secured France's place atop the Grand Slam medal table ©IJFMadeleine Malonga's gold medal in the -78kg secured France's place atop the Grand Slam medal table ©IJF

The home fans were left disappointed in the men's -100kg competition as reigning world champion Elkhan Mammadov lost to 2009 world champion Maxim Rakov of Kazakhstan.

Rakov remained defiant throughout the contest despite huge cheers for the local favourite and was eventually rewarded in gold as Mammadov received his fourth shido penalty for passivity.

It took just 90 seconds for Uzbekistan's Ramziddin Sayidov to secure the first bronze medal of the category as he threw Russia's Zafar Makhmadov for ippon.

Soyib Kurbonov added a second bronze for Uzbekistan as the Tashkent Grand Prix winner defeated Swiss judoka Flavio Orlik.

The final women's contest of the Grand Slam was won by South Korea's Jeju Grand Prix winner Kim Eunkyeong as she triumphed over Tunisia's former African Games winner Nihel Cheikh Rouhou in the final of the +78kg contest.

The two bronze medal finals were a battle between Lithuania and Russia as Maria Shekerova took on Sandra Jablonskyte and Ksenia Chibisova faced Santa Pakenyte.

The first final saw the Lithuanian's come out on top as Jablonskyte triumphed on shido penalties, while Russia was best in the second with victory for Chibisova.

Guillaume Elmont got the better of compatriot Noel Van T End in the final of the men's under 90kg contest ©IJFGuillaume Elmont got the better of compatriot Noël Van 't End in the final of the men's -90kg contest ©IJF

An all-Dutch encounter was on offer in the men's -90kg final as Samsun Grand Prix silver medallist Guillaume Elmont went head-to head with teammate and Düsseldorf Grand Prix silver medallist Noël Van 't End.

Elmont proved once again that experience is key at this level of competition as he bested his compatriot almost a decade on from taking world gold in 2005.

Another two teammates were set to face-off in the first bronze medal match, however, due to injury, Magomed Magomedov was forced to drop out handing the medal to fellow Russian Murat Gasiev.

Georgia's teenage powerhouse Beka Gviniashvili romped to victory in the second bronze medal matche as he secured ippon against Italy's Walter Facente.

Tunisia's world bronze medallist Faicel Jaballah continued his perilous form on this year's World Tour as he powered past Russia's junior world champion Anton Krivobokov in the +100kg final with an ippon after just 52 seconds.

The final bronze medal finals brought more disappointment for the home crowd as Vakhtangi Bitiev was beaten by Russia's Renat Saidov and Ushangi Kokauri lost to Romania's Daniel Natea.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Tour now heads to Cuba for the first Havana Grand Prix on June 6-8, which will be the first IJF competition in the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification phase.

Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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