By Gary Anderson

Maxim Rakov (left) won gold for Kazakhstan on the final day of action at the judo Grand Prix in Astana ©IJFKazakhstan's former world champion Maxim Rakov was the most popular winner on the final day of the judo Grand Prix in Astana, taking gold in the men's under 100 kilogram event, while Komronshoh Ustopiriyon created history by winning a first ever title for Tajikistan.

The third and final day of action at the Cycle track "Saryarka" saw five categories decided, but it was the finals involving Rakov and Ustopiriyon that created the most interest for home fans.

Rakov duly delivered on the high expectation by claiming the fifth Grand Prix title of his career against Germany's Dimitri Peters.

It was a scrappy affair and the gold medal was eventually decided on shido penalties, with London 2012 bronze medallist Peters accruing three to Rakov's one, thus handing the win to the Kazakh.

In the bronze medal contests, Hungarian Miklos Cirjenics and Ramadan Darwish of Egypt emerged victorious after defeating Russia's David Bitiev and Sweden's Martin Pacek respectively.

Asset Akhmetzhanov had the opportunity to make it two gold medals for Kazakhstan on the day when he squared up against Ustopiriyon in the men's under 90kg final.

But Ustopiriyon put in a nerveless display despite appearing in his first final at this level to become Tajikistan's first Grand Prix gold medallist.

Frenchman Alexandre Iddir defeated Russian Khusen Khalmurzaev for bronze, as did Ukraine's Quedjau Nhabali in his contest with Walter Facente of Italy.

In the other men's final today, Hungary's Barna Bor triumphed against Asian Championship silver medallist Iurii Krakovetskii of Kyrgyzstan.

A harai-makikomi with 36 seconds left was enough to seal the deal for Bor in the over 100kg final.

Germany and Israel secured the bronze medals in the form of Andre Breitbarth and Or Sasson who overcame Soslan Bostanov of Russia and Austrian Daniel Allerstorfer respectively.

Komronshoh Ustopiriyon (second from left) won Tajikistan's first ever gold medal at an IJF Grand Prix event in Astana ©IJFKomronshoh Ustopiriyon (second from left) won Tajikistan's first ever gold medal at an IJF Grand Prix event in Astana ©IJF

Meanwhile, there was gold for Germany in the first women's final today as Franziska Konitz needed just over a minute to lock-up Ukrainian Iryna Kindzerska, pinning her with a yoko-shiho-gatame to secure ippon and the under 78kg crown.

Zarina Abdrassulova came out on top in the all Kazakhstan battle with Gulzhan Issanova to ensure another bronze medal for the hosts, while Ukraine's Svitlana Iaromka got the better of Great Britain's Sarah Adlington to claim the last podium spot.

There was better news for Britain in the women's under 78kg category as Natalie Powell continued her fine form with victory over Luise Malzahn of Germany.

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games champion was involved in a free-scoring contest with the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist.

Malzahn went in front with a waza-ari before Powell levelled with a waza-ari from an ouchi-gari.

The German was then penalised for going out of the area before Powell took the lead for the first time with a yuko and added a second with 21 seconds left.

The bronze medal contests saw Italy's Assunta Galeone get the better of Russian Vera Moskalyuk, while Victoriia Turks of Ukraine denied home favourite Albina Amangeldiyeva.

Commonwealth Games champion Natalie Powell (blue) had too much for Luise Malzahn in the final of the women's under 78kg category ©IJFCommonwealth Games champion Natalie Powell (blue) had too much for Luise Malzahn in the final of the women's under 78kg category ©IJF

Uzbekistan capital Tashkent is the next stop on the Grand Prix tour and Judo Federation of Uzbekistan President Armen Bagdasarov was in Astana and is looking forward to welcoming the world's top judoka next weekend.

"It is our great pleasure to host the second International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan," said Bagdasarov, winner of an Olympic silver medal at Atlanta 1996.

"We look forward to welcoming all honourable guests, officials and athletes from all over the world to participate in our event, which is part of the Olympic qualification and we hope that the future champions of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be present.

"We would like to acknowledge the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the IJF and we thank them for their continued support and contribution.

"We are ready to welcome and host everyone in Tashkent."

Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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