By Michael Pavitt

Sharafuddin Lutfillaev won one of two gold medals for Uzbekistan ©IJFUzbekistan secured both golds on offer in the men's events on the opening day of the International Judo Federation Samsun Grand Prix, at the Yaşar Doğu Sports Arena in Turkey today. 

Sharafuddin Lutfillaev continued his good form by securing the men's under 60 kilogram title, his second consecutive Grand Prix triumph, having won last weekend, in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

The Uzbek star had progressed through to the final after achieving four victories and made the most of mistakes by second seed Orkhan Safarov of Azerbaijan, firstly counter-attacking when Safarov missed an opportunity to score, before adding to his score with a yuko, on his way to victory.

"I felt good all day long, as last week in Tbilisi," Lutfillaev said.

The Yasar Dogu Sports Arena provided a stunning venue for the Samsun Grand Prix ©IJFThe Yasar Dogu Sports Arena provided a stunning venue for the Samsun Grand Prix ©IJF

Mongolia's Tsogtbaatar Tsendochir and Georgia's Lukhumi Chkhvimiani earned the two bronze medals on offer in the division, with wins over Russia's Robert Mshvidobadze and Diyorbek Urozboev of Uzbekistan respectively.

Uzbekistan's success continued with Rishod Sobirov storming from behind to beat Mongolia's Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj in the men's under 66kg event.

Sobirov trailed after receiving a series of penalties in the opening stages but secured gold with an ippon, while Russia's Abdula Abdulzhalilov and Portugal's Sergiu Oleinic completed the podium after winning their bronze medal bouts.

Three women's classes also took place on the opening day of the three day Grand Prix, with Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi and Belgium's Ilse Heylen meeting in the final of the under 52kg class.

Youth prevailed over experience on this occasion, as 19-year-old Kraniqi saw off the challenge of 38-year-old veteran Heylen, while there was also glory for Argentina's 2014 IJF World Championship silver medallist Paula Pareto as she defeated Nathalia Brigida of Brazil in the under 48kg final.

Krasniqi's emergence means that Kosovo has another world-class judoka who can dream of competing at Rio 2016 following the decision last December to admit Kosovo as a full member of the International Olympic Committee. 

She will be a strong rival for Majlinda Kelmendi, the Kosovan winner of the World Championship gold medal in this category in 2013 and 2014.  

Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi overcame Belgiums Ilse Heylen to win gold in the women's under 52kg class ©IJFKosovo's Distria Krasniqi overcame Belgiums Ilse Heylen to win gold in the women's under 52kg class ©IJF

The women's under 57kg division saw a number of surprise results with top seed athlete Sabrina Filzmoser of Austria being eliminated in the early rounds.

Filzmoser exit paved the way for The Netherlands Sanne Verhagen and Germany's Viola Waechter to meet in the final, with the German ultimately taking the contest with an ippon, while Romania's Corina Caprioriu and Britain's Nekoda Smythe Davis earned bronze medals.

"Technically and mentally speaking I was on top all day long," Waechter said after her victory.

"It was hard, tough and very long, but I remained focused throughout the day."

Four medal events are due to take place tomorrow with preliminaries and finals of the women's under 63 and 70kg classes, in addition to the men's under 73 and 81kg events.

Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.

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