Hosts Cuba have stormed to an early lead in the inaugural Havana Judo Grand Prix, securing two gold medals, one silver and a bronze on the opening day of action inside the City Sport Coliseum.
The Ceremony was attended by International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer who took the opportunity to award an IJF gold medal to José Ramón Fernández Álvarez, who accepted the award on behalf of the Cuban Government, as well Christian Jimenez Molina, President of Cuba's National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation.
Álvarez, who is President of the Cuban Olympic Committee, also received a gold plaque to recognise the body's contribution to judo.
"Cuba is one of the most important countries in the judo world and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Grand Prix," Vizer said during the Ceremony.
"I wish everyone a successful competition and I wish the Cuban people good health and a nice future.
"I declare the 2014 Havana Grand Prix open."
The enthusiastic crowds did not have to wait long for the medal rush to get underway, with six-time Pan Maria Celia Laborde taking gold in the very first final.
Competing in the lightest of all weight categories, the women's 48 kilogramme, Laborde was up against fellow Cuban and six-time Pan American Championship medallist Dayaris Mestre Alvarez, meaning gold was a guarantee for the host nation.
The final itself came down to a battle of shido penalties with Mestre Alvarez accumulating three to Laborde's one.
After a surprise defeat at the hands of Mestre Alvarez in the semi-final, Brazilian Olympic champion Sarah Menezes bounced back in the bronze-medal finals, comprehensively beating Israel's Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Amelie Rosseneu in the closing seconds of the contest.
The other bronze medal final saw Spain's Madrid European Open bronze medallist Julia Figueroa defeat Chinese world number 26 Wu Figueroa.
There was yet more success for the hosts in the second contest of the day, the women's under 58kg event, as double Olympic silver medallist Yanet Bermoy Acosta was handed the gold medal following the withdrawal of Brazilian world silver medallist Erika Miranda in the final due to injury.
Israeli European bronze medallist Gili Cohen sealed the first bronze of the two bronze medals as she stunned Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Gneto with an ippon after just 21 seconds.
Germany's world bronze medallist Mareen Kraeh fought back from the brink to best Russia's Natalia Kuziutina in the second bronze medal final, landing an impressive ko-uchi-gari for waza-ari after suffering three shido penalties.
The final women's contest of the day, the under 57kg competition, found success for French European champion Automne Pavia.
She was unmatched all-day and it was no different in the final, pouncing on Austrian Baku Grand Slam winner Sabrina Filzmoser for ippon to seal the best possible start on her road to Rio 2016.
Just one shido penalty for passivity was the difference in the first bronze medal final as Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Hedvig Karakas got the better of Romanian 21-year-old Loredana Ohai.
The second bronze medal was won by little-known 22-year-old Cuban Aliuska Ojeda who, to the delight of the home crowds, shocked German world number one Miryam Roper.
Georgian world number two, world silver medallist and top seed Amiran Papinashvili lived up to the billing in the first of the men's contests, the under 60kg event, as he defeated Brazil's Miami Grand Prix silver medallist Eric Takabatake in just 55 seconds.
The two playoff finals saw a first medals for both Switzerland and Great Britain as Ludovic Chammartin got the better of Mexican second seed Nabor Castillo and Ashley McKenzie defeated Israel's Artiom Arshanski.
Russia's European bronze medallist Mikhail Pulyaev secured the final gold medal of the day in the men's under 66kg event as he defeated former world silver medallist Sugoi Uriarte of Spain with an ippon in the final three seconds of action.
Former European champion Alim Gadanov added a second medal of the category for Russia as he held firm against a spirited effort from local favourite and former Cuban Championships silver medallist Gilberto Solar.
Patrick Gagne sealed the final medal of the day as he beat teammate Antoine Bouchard in an all-Canadian bronze medal final.
Action is due continue in the Cuban capital tomorrow as the women's under 63kg and under 70kg, and men's under 73kg and under 81kg categories take place.
Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.
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