Bogdan Iadov won a gold medal on the opening day of the European Judo Championships ©Getty Images

Ukraine’s Bogdan Iadov secured a popular gold medal on the opening day of the European Judo Championships in Sofia, winning the men's under-66 kilograms title.

The three-time Grand Slam bronze medallist tasted victory after achieving an ippon through a damaging o uchi gari against Spain’s Gaitero Martin in the final.

Italy’s Elios Manzi beat Yashar Najafov of Azerbaijan and Moldova’s Denis Vieru defeated Baruch Shmailov of Israel to secure bronze medals.

In the other men’s event of the day, the under-60kg, Spain did manage seal victory via Francisco Garrigos, who claimed his second European title against the home favourite Yanislav Gerchev.

The Spaniard used the roaring Bulgarian crowd's support for Gerchev to his advantage and claimed victory following four minutes of fighting.

Jorre Verstraeten of Belgium and Frenchman Cédric Revol also obtained podium places, defeating Balabay Aghayev of Azerbaijan and Lukhumi Chkhvimiani of Georgia for bronze medals, respectively.

Chelsie Giles, who achieved bronze at Tokyo 2020, was one of the starring performers in the women’s events.

The Briton faced a staunch challenge in the under-52kg final against France’s Amandine Buchard - the Tokyo 2020 runner-up - and Giles' full range of offensive and defensive skills were put to good use.

In the end it was a waza-ari in Giles' favour that separated the two fighters, and it is Giles' first triumph over the world number one.

Croatia’s Ana Viktorija Puljiz and Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi - an Olympic champion down a weight class - won bronzes following their respective successes against Gefen Primo of Israel and Mascha Ballhaus of Germany.

France’s lone gold medal of the day came through Shirine Boukli defeating Portugal’s Catarina Costa by a waza-ari in the women’s under-48kg.

Julia Figueroa of Spain and Shira Rishony of Israel also secured podium spots.

Israel’s Timna Nelson Levy secured the last gold of the day in the women’s under-57kg.

She defeated France’s Tokyo 2020 runner-up Sarah-Léonie Cysique thanks to throwing her opponent to score a waza-ari.

The winners of the bronze medals were Georgia’s Eteri Liparteliani and Belgium’s Mina Libeer, who pulled off triumphs against Vera Zemanova of the Czech Republic and Pauline Starke of Germany, respectively.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow at Armeets Arena.