Hosts Mongolia showed their immense depth in all weight categories on the opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix at the Buyant Ukhaa Sport Complex in Ulaanbaatar.
A hat-trick of gold medals came the country’s way across the five weight categories, with two-time World Judo Masters winner Sumiya Dorjsuren claiming the women’s under 48 kilogram crown and Amartuvshin Dashdavaa and Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj taking the men’s under 60kg and under 66kg titles respectively.
Mongolia have entered a maximum team of 56 judoka and their significant representation paid dividends from the beginning.
Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix poster girl Dorjsuren defeated France’s Helene Receveaux to win her second straight IJF World Judo Tour event and catapult herself into contention for honours at the World Championships in Astana next month.
The 24-year-old won on shido penalties to bring the large home crowd to their feet as Receveaux was unable to reverse the result of May's World Judo Masters final in Rabat.
“I think for the Mongolian athletes there is a home advantage, we all felt very strong today and the crowd was amazing,” said Dorjsuren.
“I am very happy to be part of such a successful day for Mongolia with three gold medals on day one for us.
“My next competition will be the World Championships in Kazakhstan where I also hope to be on the medal podium.”
The first bronze medal was won by North Korea’s Hyo Sun Ri against China’s Yang Liu before Japan’s Kaori Matsumoto beat Austria’s Sabrina Filzmoser in the second.
Meanwhile, Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Dashdavaa beat compatriot and world champion Boldbaatar Ganbat in the men’s under 60kg final as Mongolia won all four medals.
Ganbat, wearing a red backpatch as the reigning world champion from Chelyabinsk last year, and Dashdavaa could not be separated after five minutes and went into golden score with the fans gripped by seeing two of their top judoka going toe-to-toe.
Dashdavaa extended his impressive head-to-head record against Ganbat with an ouchi-gari earning ippon, having now claimed five of their seven meetings.
The first bronze medal was claimed by Kherlen Ganbold who outperformed Kazakhstan’s Gusman Kyrgyzbayev, while the second went to Tsogtbaatar Tsendochir who blasted his way past France’s Sofiane Milous.
In the men’s under 66kg category, World Judo Masters bronze medallist Davaadorj finally topped the podium at his home Grand Prix having won bronze and then silver in the two previous editions.
Davaadorj defeated 17-year-old Japanese wonderkid Hifumi Abe in the final to win Mongolia’s third gold medal of the opening day.
Tokyo Grand Slam winner Abe, who had the goal of capturing a first Grand Prix medal of his young career, achieved that with a silver medal as Davaadorj swept him with a beautiful piece of ashi-waza.
It extended Davaadorj’s head-to-head record against Abe to 2-0 having beat the Japanese starlet at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix earlier this year.
The first bronze medal was won by Russia’s Arsen Galstyan at the expense of Mongolia’s Batgerel Battsetseg, while the second went to Mongolia’s Altansukh Dovdon who was successful against Slovenia’s Andraz Jereb.
It was not all plain sailing for Mongolia, though, as home judoka Tsolmon Adiyasambuu lost out to Japan’s Ai Shishime in the women’s under 52kg final.
The first bronze medal was clinched by Mongolia’s Bundmaa Munkhbaatar against Great Britain’s Kelly Edwards, while the second was won by another Mongolian, Bat-Erdene Baljinnyam, against Finland’s Jaana Sundberg.
As for the women’s under 48kg category, France’s Laetitia Payet defeated South Korea’s Yujeong Kang in the final.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Kazakhstan's Alexandra Podryadova, who overcame China’s Yahong Jiang, with the second won by Mongolia’s Khorloodoi Bishrelt, who came from a waza-ari down to stun North Korea’s Sol Mi Kim.
The action is due to continue tomorrow on the three tatami with the women’s under 63kg and under 70kg judoka joined by the men’s under 73kg and under 81kg.
Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.
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