South Korean judokas earned two gold medals on the opening day of the Grand Prix ©IJF

South Korea’s Kim Jan-Di and Kim Won-Jin ensured the host country enjoyed a successful opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix on the island of Jeju, claiming gold in their respective divisions.

Won-Jin delivered an early boost to the home crowd, winning an entertaining gold medal bout with Mongolia’s Boldbaatar Ganbat in the men’s under 60 kilogram division.

The South Korean trailed Ganbat in the early stages of the tie after being subject to a waza-ari.

The world number one achieved the same feat to level the scores once more and eventually triumphed having accrued less shido penalties than his opponent.

Azerbaijan’s Orkhan Safarov claimed the division’s first bronze, beating Venezuela’s Javier Guedez on shido penalties, while Brazil’s Eric Takabatake defeated France’s Vincent Limare via yuko to earn a place on the podium.

Jan-Di secured South Korea’s second title of the day, defeating Britain’s Nekoda Smythe-Davis in the women’s under 57kg gold medal contest with a yuko.

Taiwan’s Chen-Ling Lien and Germany’s Viola Waechter earned bronze medals after winning their respective bouts against Brazil’s Rafaela Silva and South Korea’s Kim Minju.

Reigning women’s under 48kg Olympic champion Sarah Menezes’ mixed form continued as she failed to make the final, with her conqueror Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan going on to win gold courtesy of a waza-ari win over Hungary’s Eva Csernoviczki.

Menezes was also beaten by South Korea’s Bo Kyeong Jeong in the first bronze medal contest, with a waza-ari proving the difference, while Turkey’s Dilara Lokmanhekim also reached the podium after Cuba’s Dayaris Mestre Alvarez was disqualified for an illegal move.

The final women’s event of the day saw World Championship silver medallist Andreea Chitu of Romania beat Japan’s Mako Uchio to gold in the under 52kg event with an ippon, while Israel’s Roni Schwartz and France’s Priscilla Gneto earned bronze medals after overcoming France’s Annabelle Euranie and South Korea’s Mi-Ri Kim in their respective ties.

Romania's Andreea Chitu claimed gold in the women's under 52kg event
Romania's Andreea Chitu claimed gold in the women's under 52kg event ©IJF

Another world silver medallist reached the top of the podium as Russia’s Mikhail Pulyaev overcame youngster Taroh Fujisaka in the men’s under 66kg final with a yuko proving enough to prevent the Japanese judoka winning on his World Judo Tour debut.

Golan Pollack produced an excellent ippon to beat Kazakhstan’s Azamat Mukanov to the first bronze and the Israeli was joined on the podium by his team-mate Tal Flicker, who beat Italy’s Fabio Basile on shido penalties.

Prior to competition, Kim Byungrip spoke on behalf of the Governor of the Jeju Province to welcome the judoka and officials to the final Grand Prix event of 2015.

“Judo athletes, coaches, referees, guests from home and abroad, welcome to an international treasure of the world,” he said.

“We are proud to host the Judo Grand Prix here in Jeju, one of the biggest events towards qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“Participants have come from all over the world and I would like to express my gratitude to Marius Vizer, IJF President and everyone who has supported this event.”

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