Sharofiddin Boltaboev of Ukraine celebrates after winning gold in the under-81kg category at the IJF Grand Slam in Tel Aviv ©IJF

Mongolian judoka Saeid Mollaei claimed a historic silver medal in the men’s under-81 kilograms category on the second day of the International Judo Federation Tel Aviv Grand Slam.

There was a lot of attention on Mollaei heading into the day’s action, as he was representing Mongolia for the first time.

He formerly competed for Iran but severed ties with the country after claiming he had been ordered to throw a match at the 2019 World Championships - where he was defending his under-81kg title - to avoid facing the Israeli who went on to win the title, Sagi Muki.

Mollaei moved to Germany and was cleared to compete for Mongolia, and on his first appearance for the country had the potential to face Muki.

A meeting between the pair did not materialise as Muki was eliminated early but Mollaei put on a powerful display during an impressive run to the final where he came up against Paris 2020 Grand Slam finalist Sharofiddin Boltaboev of Ukraine.

Boltaboev completed two throws during the contest and it was enough to earn him the gold medal in the category.

Bronze medals went to Frank De Wit of the Netherlands who beat Matthias Casse of Belgium by sumi-gaeshi and Aslan Lappinagov of Russia who won by walkover against injured British judoka Stuart McWatt.

In the women’s under-63kg category, world and Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia produced a dominant run on route to the final where she came up against compatriot Andreja Leski.

Another five categories were decided on an exciting second day of action at the IJF Tel Aviv Grand Slam ©IJF
Another five categories were decided on an exciting second day of action at the IJF Tel Aviv Grand Slam ©IJF

World and Olympic champion Trstenjak produced a controlled attack to help her to the win and an eighth Grand Slam gold.

In the bronze medal contests, junior world champion Sanne Vermeer of the Netherlands beat Agata Ozdoba-Blach of Poland while Magdalena Krssakova of Austria beat Gili Sharir of Israel by penalties.

In the men’s under-73kg Alexandru Raicu of Romania took gold after an impressive run to the final which included defeating Israel’s top seed in the category Tohar Butbul.

In the final, Raicu defeated Italy’s Giovanni Esposito in an explosive affair to claim his first medal on the circuit.

The bronze medal contests saw Butbul defeat Georgia’s Lasha Shavdatuashvili on penalties while fellow Georgian Nuzgari Tatalashvili beat Tommy Macias of Sweden.

In the women’s under-70kg category, the gold medal went to France’s Margaux Pinot whose experience helped her edge out Germany’s Miriam Butkereit.

In the bronze medal contests, an entertaining all Dutch affair saw Sanne Van Dijke defeat Kim Polling by ippon while another all European clash saw Marie Eve Gahie of France beat Gabriella Willems of Belgium.

Competition is scheduled to continue tomorrow across five more categories - the women’s under-78kg and over-78kg and the men’s under-90kg, over-90kg and over-100kg.