France earned three of the seven golds on offer on the final day ©IJF

France were the dominant force on the final day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Paris Grand Slam, claiming three of the seven gold medals available at the Accor Hotels Arena to bring the tournament to a close.

Home favourites were already delighting the crowd prior to the evening’s finals after the country’s 11 Olympic champions in the sport helped to launch the French Judo Federation’s “Gods of Olympus” tour, which will see at least four of the gold medallists host events in six cities.

The tour is aimed at allowing the public an opportunity to get closer to their sporting heroes and promote values of Olympism, with events set to be held from December to May 2016.

Several of the new generation, who will be bidding to add to the country’s tally of Olympic golds at Rio 2016, were in action on the final day of competition.

Audrey Tcheumeo, the London 2012 bronze medallist and 2011 world champion, led the gold rush, securing victory in the under 78 kilogram women’s event.

A cagey affair with Japan’s Sato Ruika saw neither player able to land a decisive blow but, having picked up less shido penalties by the end of the contest, Tcheumeo emerged victorious.

She was joined on the podium by compatriot Madeleine Malonga, who overcame Britain’s Gemma Gibbons with an ippon, while Japan’s Akari Ogata earned a shido penalty win over Slovenia’s Anamari Velensek to secure the second bronze medal.

All 11 French Olympic champions were at the final day of competition
All 11 French Olympic champions were at the final day of competition ©IJF

Emilie Andeol ensured the French crowd would not have long to wait for a second gold as the European Games champion pinned down Germany’s Franziska Konitz for 20 seconds to be awarded an ippon by the judges in the over 78kg event.

Ukraine’s Iryna Kindzerska and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Larisa Ceric won the bronze medals with shido penalty wins over Mexico’s Vanessa Zambotti and China’s Song Yu respectively.

The third and final triumph for the hosts came in the men’s under 100kg division as Cyrille Maret scored with a yuko in the dying seconds of his clash with Brazil’s Rafael Buzacarini to earn a narrow lead and ultimately defend the title he won in 2014.

Former world champion Lukas Krpalek of the Czech Republic, beaten by Maret in the semi-final, scored two waza-aris against Croatia’s Zlatko Kumric to win the first bronze medal.

A dominant display from Dutch star Michael Korrel saw him take the second bronze medal, earning an ippon win over Azerbaijan’s Elmar Gasimov.

In the men’s over 100kg division Japan’s Hisayoshi Harasawa claimed gold with an ippon against Brazil’s David Moura.

His compatriot Takeshi Ojitani and The Netherlands Roy Meyer won the respective bronze medal bouts against Ukraine’s Iakiv Khammo and Faicel Jaballah of Tunisia.

Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani denied France gold in the men's under 90kg event
Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani denied France gold in the men's under 90kg event ©IJF

The only disappointment of the night for France in the gold medal matches came in the under 90kg event as Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani defeated their hope Alexandre Iddir via a golden score.

Axel Clerget's shido penalty loss to Mongolia’s Otgonbaatar Lkhagvasuren meant France would have to be satisfied with just one judoka on the under 90kg division podium and Portugal’s Celio Dias claimed an ippon victory to deny Serbia’s Aleksandar Kukolj a maiden Grand Slam medal.

The remaining men’s gold of the tournament went to Uzbekistan’s Shaxzod Sobirov in the under 81kg event after he defeated Russia’s Sergey Ryabov by waza-ari and the two judokas were joined on the podium by Uuganbaatar Otgonbaatar of Mongolia and Dutch judoka Frank de Wit, after they overcame Japan’s Goki Maruyama and Spain’s Adrian Lorenzo.

Japan’s Haruka Tachimoto maintained her unbeaten record in 2015, winning the women’s under 70kg gold, beating Germany’s Laura Koch by ippon.

The Netherlands’ Kim Polling and France’s Margaux Pinot earned bronze.

To watch the latest action on Judo TV click here

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