Uta Abe secured one of Japan's two gold medals on the first day of the IJF Grand Prix in Zagreb ©IJF

Japan's Olympic champion Uta Abe earned her fourth International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix gold medal following an opening day victory in Zagreb.

Abe met fellow Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo in the women's under-52-kilograms final at the Arena Zagreb in the Croatian capital.

After a hard fought 2min 06sec, Abe was awarded the win as she notched up two waza-aris in the deciding bout against Krasniqi, winner of the under-48kg gold medal at Tokyo 2020. 

Israel's Gefen Primo and Switzerland's Fabienne Kocher picked up bronze medals with respective triumphs against Morocco's Soumiya Iraoui and Germany's Mascha Ballhaus.

A second Japanese gold came soon after as the country climbed to the top of the medals table.

Wakana Koga defeated Mediterranean Games winner Melanie Vieu of France in the women's under-48-kg final.

Koga took just 35 seconds to force her opponent into submission with a shime-waza to claim victory.

Spain's Laura Martinez Abelenda and Tuğçe Beder of Turkey were awarded bronze medals after prevailing in the repechage round against Israel's Tamar Malca and Milica Nikolic of Serbia, respectively.

Former junior world champion Magzhan Shamshadin of Kazakhstan secured the first men's gold of the event.

After a mammoth battle lasting over nine minutes, Shamshadin was awarded victory as Kim Won-jin of South Korea was penalised for a third time resulting in his forfeiture of the bout.

A stunning ippon from Georgia's Giorgi Sardalashvili against Francisco Garrigos of Spain saw him take bronze medal alongside Japan's Genki Koga, who beat France's Maxime Merlin.

Azerbaijan's Yashar Najafov celebrates his victory in the under-66kg category at the IJF Grand Prix in Zagreb ©IJF
Azerbaijan's Yashar Najafov celebrates his victory in the under-66kg category at the IJF Grand Prix in Zagreb ©IJF

Yashar Najafov of Azerbaijan was the men's under-66kg champion following a four-minute ippon win versus Italy's Matteo Piras.

The Netherlands' Ivo Verhorstert won a bronze medal courtesy of a 2-1 waza-ari count against Romania's Lucian Bors Dumitrescu.

Narmandakh Bayanmunkh of Mongolia secured the last podium place with victory against Yanislav Gerchev.

The action is set to continue tomorrow with finals in the women's under-63kg and under-70kg divisions, as well as the men's under-73kg and under-81kg classes.