Japan’s Funa Tonaki announced herself on the world senior stage in style as she stunned top seed Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia to take women’s under 48 kilograms gold on the opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix in Qingdao, China.
Tonaki, recently crowned world champion at junior level, produced an excellent display in the final, shutting out Munkhbat before claiming two scores to secure her maiden senior international medal.
Turkey’s Ebru Sahin clinched the first bronze on offer while the other went to Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan.
Tonaki’s compatriot Yuka Nishida also struck gold in the Chinese city as the 2010 world champion sealed victory in the women’s under 52kg event by ousting Tashkent Grand Prix winner Gulbadam Babamuratova of Turkmenistan.
Nishida, who also won the 2012 World Judo Masters competition in Almaty, dominated the contest from start to finish and was able to secure a deserved triumph by virtue of scoring ippon.
Ma Yingnan, 2015 Asian Championships gold medallist, gave the home crowd something to cheer as she took home bronze along with Mongolian Tsolmon Adiyasambuu.
Elsewhere on the first day of the competition, the eighth IJF Grand Prix of the season, world number one Sumiya Dorjsuren of Mongolia was able to succeed where compatriot Munkhbat had failed as she justified her ranking by topping the podium in the women’s under 57kg competition.
Dorjsuren came up against experienced campaigner Miriam Roper of Germany in the final and faltered early on before recovering to secure victory in what was an intriguing match-up.
Anzu Yamamoto of Japan won bronze after teammate Momo Tamaoki was disqualified for an illegal leg-grabbing manoeuvre, with Liu Yang also ending the event on a positive note by also finishing on the podium.
The men’s under 66kg category provided a rarity on day one as the final pitted the two top seeds against each other, with Baku Grand Slam winner Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan edging world number two Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj of Mongoilia to gold.
Despite being under constant pressure throughout his bronze medal bout with Italian Elio Verde, Kengo Takaichi of Japan was able to emerge victorious and he was joined on the podium by South Korea’s Limhwan Kim.
Ilgar Mushkiyev of Azerbaijan, ranked at number 27 in the world, had earlier reigned supreme in the men’s 60kg weight category thanks to beating Jeroen Mooren of The Netherlands in a topsy-turvy affair.
Walide Khyar of France and Uzbekistan’s Sharafuddin Lutfillaev both earned bronze.
The event in Qingdao continues tomorrow with action in the women’s under 63kg and under 70kg competitions as well as men’s under 73kg and under 81kg.
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