Vadzim Shoka from Belarus and Italy’s Maria Centracchio each picked up the first World Tour wins of their careers at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix in Tel Aviv.
The 24-year-old Centracchio gained hers with victory over Israel’s Inbal Shemesh in the women’s under-63 kilogram final, while Shoka gained his gold by beating another Italian, Giovanni Esposito in the men’s under-73kg event.
At what is the opening IJF Grand Prix of the year, Centracchio’s final went ahead first at the Shlomo Arena.
Having only won one medal previously on the World Tour, a silver at the Tashkent Grand Prix last year, she took gold today by waza-ari in extra time after the match initially finished scoreless.
The bronze medals in that division were then claimed by Russia’s Valentina Kostenko and Dutchwoman Sanne Vermeer.
They beat Geke Van Den Berg from The Netherlands and Brazil’s Ketleyn Quadros respectively in the repechages.
Shoka picked up the day’s other first time win with an o-soto-gari in the last 35 seconds against Esposito in the men’s under 73kg final.
Unlike Centracchio, who had won a silver before, Shoka had never previously won a medal of any kind on the IJF World Tour and initially started today's final slowly.
A late flurry at the end though saw him snatch his first win.
Hosts Israel claimed one of the bronze medals through Tohar Butbul, who beat Switzerland’s Nils Stump, while the other bronze at under-73kg went to Ukraine’s Artem Khomula, a winner over Tajikistan’s Behruzi Khojazoda.
Two other finals were contested on day two, one of which was won by the hosts.
In the last final of the night in the men’s under 81kg division Sagi Muki, winner of the European Championships gold medal in the same city last year, claimed victory once again.
He beat Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov with what the IJF described as "the throw of the tournament" to claim his fifth World Tour gold.
A textbook ode-tsurikomi-goshi won Israel their third gold.
The day’s other final was taken by two-time Swedish champion Anna Bernholm in the women’s under-70kg class.
She beat Italy’s Alice Bellandi by ippon after just 38 seconds.
In those two divisions, the bronze medals went to Belgium, Italy, Ireland and The Netherlands.
In the men’s under-81kg class the final podium spots were taken by Belgium’s Sami Chouchi and Italy’s Christian PArlati.
In the women’s under-70kg, meanwhile, they were seized by Ireland’s Megan Fletcher and Dutchwoman Sanne Van Dijke.
Tomorrow the competition is due end with five further finals.
All of them will be available to watch live via Judo TV here.