Tsukasa Yoshida was one of five Japanese gold medallists on the opening day of the IJF Grand Slam in Tokyo ©IJF

Hosts Japan won all five gold medals available on the opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

In the first of three all-Japanese finals, Ami Kondo beat Haruna Asami to secure the women’s under 48 kilogram title.

Neither judoka was able to make their mark in the first three-quarters of the contest and only a few penalties had been distributed when Kondo launched her right foot to catch Asami’s leg for a o-soto-gari for waza-ari before concluding with a traditional hon-keza-gatame immobilisation for ippon.

It secured a third Grand Slam victory for Kondo, while double world medallist Asami had to settle for silver despite having overcome reigning Olympic champion Sarah Menezes of Brazil in the semi-finals.

The first bronze medal fight of the day saw Turkey’s Ebru Sahin concede defeat to Russia’s Nataliya Kondratyeva due to injury, after which Menezes won her 11th Grand Slam medal at the expense of Spain’s Julia Figueroa to rank her as the third best performer in the history of the series.

Before a crowd that included IJF President Marius Vizer and Romania's Minister of Sport Gabriela Szabo, the Olympic 5,000 metres champion at Sydney 2000, Japan’s second gold medal came courtesy of world champion Misato Nakamura, edging compatriot and Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Ai Shishime in the women’s under 52kg final.

Number two seed Nakamura controlled the entire contest against Shishime, who was penalised three times, and duly ensured a sixth Grand Slam crown.

Top seed Annabelle Euranie of France recovered from elimination at the hands of Shishime in the quarter-finals to beat Japan’s Yuka Nishida in the first bronze medal fight.

Also on the podium was Japan’s Hashimoto Yuki with Germany’s Mareen Kraeh just missing out on a medal.

A hat-trick of titles for Japan in women’s competition was completed when Tsukasa Yoshida got the better of France’s Hélène Receveaux in the under 57kg showdown.

Yoshida, winner of this year’s Tyumen Grand Slam, did not give her opponent a chance and engaged what was one of the most eye-catching uchi-mata of the day for a clear ippon.

Hungary’s Hedvig Karakas beat Germany’s Miryam Roper in the first bronze medal match and rounded off the podium along with Mongolia’s Sumiya Dorjsuren, who defeated 2013 world champion Rafaela Silva of Brazil.

Japan's Naohisa Takato beat Russia's Beslan Mudranov in the men's under 60kg final
Japan's Naohisa Takato beat Russia's Beslan Mudranov in the men's under 60kg final ©IJF

Japan’s domination continued on the men’s side as Naohisa Takato, winner of the 2015 World Judo Masters in Rabat, outdid Russia’s Beslan Mudranov in the under 60kg final.

Having defeated top seed Won Jin Kim of South Korea to reach the final, Takato did not wait long before launching his first attack.

The 2013 world champion started with a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi on only one hand and then changed direction in the middle of the movement to throw his opponent for waza-ari. 

Takato again demonstrated his impressive technical skills later on during the fight, engaging his leg to propel the 2014 world silver medallist Mudranov with a o-uchi-gari for waza-ari-awasete-ippon and seal a sixth Grand Slam title.

Kim bounced back from her semi-final disappointment to win the second bronze medal fight against Japan’s Dai Aoki after Toru Shishime had seen off the challenge of London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Felipe Kitadai of Brazil.

In the men’s under 66kg category, Japan’s Tomofumi Takajo faced team-mate Masashi Ebinuma, the three-time world champion. 

Takajo, who triumphed at the 2015 Asian Championships, registered a yuko after 15 seconds following a spectacular first attack with a kata-guruma, and it took less than two more minutes for him to launch his special movement again, but this time for waza-ari.

Ebinuma scored a yuko as well with a left handed koshi-waza technique, but it was not enough, especially after Takajo notched a final yuko with a reverse drop-seoi-nage.

Kengo Takaichi came out on top in an all-Japanese bronze medal match against Sho Tateyama, while Mongolia’s Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj earned a place on the podium ahead of Portugal’s Sergiu Oleinic.

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A minute's silence was observed before the start of the event for the victims of recent terrorist attacks and Adel Abuwarda, head of the Egyptian delegation at the Jeju Grand Prix ©IJF

Prior to the Opening Ceremony, a minute's silence was respected in the memory of the victims of the recent terrorist attacks and Adel Abuwarda, head of the Egyptian delegation at the Jeju Grand Prix and Egyptian Judo Federation Board member, who passed away suddenly last week in South Korea.

Tomorrow's action is due to feature the women's under 63kg and 70kg categories, and the men's under 73kg and under 81kg classes. 

To watch the latest action on Judo TV click here

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