Day 1 of the 2024 Judo Baku Grand Slam brings big surprise. IJF

The Baku Grand Slam 2024 kicked off on 16 February with 62 participating nations from around the world. Mrs Mariana Vasiliyeva, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport, opened the welcome speeches: "Dear guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan, I welcome you to Baku."

"Judo is one of the traditional sports of our country and this is the tenth time that our capital has hosted this Grand Slam tournament. Our athletes have been pleasing us with their successes for many years," she added. 

All this is the result of the special care and attention paid to sport by the President of the country and President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, Mr Ilham Aliyev. 404 judokas from 62 countries have gathered here and the competition is extremely important on the eve of Paris 2024," she added.

President of the Azerbaijan Judo Federation Nabiyev commented: "With the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics approaching, athletes are trying to build their luck in a number of international competitions and this is good for the sport," Vasiliyeva concluded.

President of the Azerbaijan Judo Federation Rashad Nabiyev. IJF
President of the Azerbaijan Judo Federation Rashad Nabiyev. IJF

"President Ilham Aliyev plays a special role in the development of sports in Azerbaijan. We are doing our best to develop judo in our country. This year, our judokas of different ages have successfully performed in international competitions. Over the past two years, the number of girls and boys involved has reached 10,000. I am sure that our judokas will make us happy at the Olympic Games."

IJF President Mr Marius Vizer then stepped forward, "I would like to congratulate the Azeri federation, including the previous federation leaders, especially for the opening of the new training centre which will be an important place for national and international training and also as a partner venue for the IJF Academy."

Russian Abdulayev was the best in the -60 kg category. IJF
Russian Abdulayev was the best in the -60 kg category. IJF

The first day of competition brought perfect performances from some favourites such as Christa Deguchi of Canada (women's -57kg) and Ramazan Abdullaev (men's -60kg), and a big surprise from 18-year-old Tara Babulfath of Sweden, who won the women's -48kg event.

Medallists at the first day of Baku Grand Slam:

Final Results (-48 kg)
1. Tata Babulfath (Sweden).
2. Milica Nikolic (Serbia),
3. Khalimajon Kurbonova (Uzbekistan).
3. Abiba Abuzhakynova (Kazajistan).

Final Results (-52 kg)
1. Diyora Keldiyorova (Uzbekistan).
2. Odette Giuffrida (Italy).
3. Ariane Toro Soler (Spain).
3. Roza Gyertyas (Hungary).

Final Results (-57 kg)
1. Christa Deguchi (Canada).
2. Nora Gjakova (Kosovo).
3. Daria Bilodid (Ukraine).
3. Eteri Liparteliani (Georgia).

Final Results (-60 kg)
1. Ramazan Abdulaev (Individual Neutral Athletes).
2. Luka Mkheidze (France).
3. Balabay Aghayev (Azerbaijan)
3. Doston Ruziev (Uzbekistan).

Final Results (-66 kg)
1. Alberto Gaitero Martín (Spain).
2. Daikii Bouba (France).
3. Rufat Aleskerov (Individual Neutral Athletes).
3. Yashar Najafov (Azerbaijan).