Japanese judokas were on fine form on the opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam in Düsseldorf as they earned three of the five gold medals on offer.
Reigning world champion Uta Abe led Japan’s medal charge on the opening day of competition at the ISS Dome in the German city.
Abe achieved ippon scores in her first four competitions to progress to the women’s under-52 kilogram final, where she faced France’s Amandine Buchard.
A perfect competition for Abe concluded with another ippon score, as the pre-event favourite lived up to expectations by topping the podium.
United States’ Angelica Delgado came through the repechage to beat Germany’s Verena Thumm in the first bronze medal bout.
The second bronze medal was earned by Mongolia’s Khorloodoi Bishrelt, who bounced back from her semi-final defeat by overcoming her compatriot Sosorbaram Lkhagvasuren.
Three-time world champion Naohisa Takato celebrated victory in the men’s under-60kg competition.
The Japanese judoka won all five of his bouts by ippon, including the gold medal bout against Chinese Taipei’s Yang Yung Wei.
South Korea’s Kim Won Jin, beaten by Takato in the semi-finals, won the first bronze medal.
He secured an ippon win over Belgium’s Jorre Verstraeten to secure a podium spot.
The Netherlands’ Tornike Tsjakadoea won the second bronze medal, beating Georgia’s Temur Nozadze with an ippon score.
Hifumi Abe sealed a hat-trick of Japanese gold medals, as the two-time world champion won the men’s under-66kg title.
Abe took the lead in the gold medal bout with a waza-ari score against Georgia’s Vazha Margvelashvili, before sealing victory by earning a match winning ippon.
Spain’s Alberto Gaitero Martin secured the first bronze in the division with an ippon triumph against Bulgaria’s Bozhidar Temelkov, while a waza-ari score was enough for Russia’s Yakub Shamilov to beat Bagrati Niniashvili in the final medal contest.
Japan were denied a fourth title when Funa Tonaki suffered a surprise defeat in the women’s under-48kg final.
France’s Shirine Boukli, a silver medallist at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix, earned triumphed in the final with a waza-ari score.
Russia’s Sabina Giliazova and Spain’s Julia Figueroa won the division’s bronze medals, courtesy of ippon victories over Germany’s Katharina Menz and Serbia’s Milica Nikolic, respectively.
Jessica Klimkait earned the second Grand Slam title of her career, as the Canadian won the women’s under-57kg title.
Klimkait achieved an ippon after two minutes of the final against France’s Sarah Leonie Cysique to add to her triumph at last year’s Osaka Grand Slam.
Russia’s Anastasiia Konkina beat home favourite Theresa Stoll win an ippon in the first bronze medal bout, with Mongolia’s Sumiya Dorjsuren replicating the feat in the final medal contest against Timna Nelson Levy of Israel.
The Grand Slam is due to continue tomorrow.
Watch all the action on Judo TV.