Author: Mark Pickering, on 23. Feb 2018

The Düsseldorf Grand Slam, the newest Grand Slam on the IJF World Judo Tour, rewarded no less than 13 nations with honours on day one as the sport’s diversity on the elite stage was on show at the ISS Dome on Friday.

Germany’s first Grand Slam showcased the men’s -60kg and -66kg categories and the women’s -48kg, -52kg and -57kg categories with an unprecedented level of interest in the country as a roster of international champions have made the trip to Düsseldorf.

Japan have assumed their usual role as pace setters and set a marker for any nation to try and catch them in the forthcoming two days of competition. Judo’s founding nation won three gold medals courtesy of new world number one NAGAYAMA Ryuju, world champion SHISHIME Ai and the little-known TAGAWA Kenzo (JPN) who made the most of his first international IJF start.

Ukraine’s Daria BILODID maintained her perfect record in 2018 as she struck -48kg gold while Briton Nekoda SMYTHE-DAVIS was triumphant at -57kg.

Day two will see Olympic and double world champion ONO Shohei (JPN) compete outside of Japan for the first time since Rio 2016 while fellow Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) has been an ever-present on the tour and will be primed for more success on Saturday.



-48kg: Ukrainian wonderkid BILODID makes it three from three in 2018

Paris Grand Slam gold medallist Daria BILODID (UKR) kept up her winning record as she has now won all three IJF events in 2018. The 17-year-old sensation had a razor sharp focus as she powered through the field before defeating seven-time Grand Slam medallist CSERNOVICZKI Eva (HUN) in the -48kg final with an accomplished display. CSERNOVICZKI is a standout and stalwart in the category and offered a stern test for the Ukrainian. BILODID, who was coached by her mother, quickened the pace in golden score and caught CSERNOVICZKI, who was coached by her father, with an uchi-mata for ippon.

In the first semi-final Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Edna CARRILLO (MEX) lost out to CSERNOVICZKI by wazari-awasette-ippon with the pick of the two scores being an opening sode-tsurikomi-goshi. In the second semi-final BILODID rushed past world number 100 ERDENETSOGT Gerelmaa (MGL) in the first minute with a textbook uchi-mata.

The first bronze medal contest was won by world number five Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) who secured her sixth Grand Slam medal. Serbia won the first ever Düsseldorf Grand Slam medal in the opening contest of the final block on day one in Germany as NIKOLIC threw ERDENETSOGT, who was competing at a Grand Slam for the second time, for a waza-ari after three minutes of golden score.

The second bronze medal was won by Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist Melanie CLEMENT (FRA) after CARRILLO was penalised for a cross-grip in golden score. The Mexican defended well against the busier Frenchwoman but was second best in golden score which ended after three minutes of additional time when CARRILLO received her third and final shido.


Bronze Medal Fights
ERDENETSOGT, Gerelmaa (MGL) vs NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB) 
CARRILLO, Edna (MEX) vs CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA)

Final Results

1. BILODID, Daria (UKR) 
3. NIKOLIC, Milica (SRB) 
3. CLEMENT, Melanie (FRA) 
5. ERDENETSOGT, Gerelmaa (MGL) 
5. CARRILLO, Edna (MEX) 
7. GERSJES, Amber (NED) 
7. POP, Alexandra (ROU)


-52kg: World champion SHISHIME shows her class with 100% ippon record

World champion SHISHIME Ai (JPN) was unstoppable in the -52kg category as the Japanese livewire more than lived up to her red backpatch with a display of scintillating ippon judo. SHISHIME, who took bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December, started her 2018 campaign with gold in Germany after prevailing against former Zagreb Grand Prix winner Karolina PIENKOWSKA (POL) in the final. Former Tyumen Grand Slam winner SHISHIME recorded her second Grand Slam win after holding down the surprise finalist from Poland for ippon.

In the first semi-final four-time world medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA) was surprised by PIENKOWSKA. The Polish judoka produced the only scores of the contest to win by wazari-awasette-ippon with a modified kata-guruma opening the scoring. In the second semi-final SHISHIME defeated Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Astride GNETO (FRA) by wazari-awasette-ippon as she sealed the win with a uchi-mata.

The first bronze medal was awarded to The Hague Grand Prix Estrella LOPEZ SHERIFF (ESP) when GNETO was penalised for the third time as both judoka failed to trouble the scoreboard.

The second bronze medal was won by London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Charline VAN SNICK (BEL) as MIRANDA pulled out from the match due to a back injury.


Bronze Medal Fights
GNETO, Astride (FRA) vs LOPEZ SHERIFF, Estrella (ESP) 
MIRANDA, Erika (BRA) vs VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)

Final Results

2. PIENKOWSKA, Karolina (POL) 
3. LOPEZ SHERIFF, Estrella (ESP) 
3. VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL) 
5. GNETO, Astride (FRA) 
5. MIRANDA, Erika (BRA) 
7. TSCHOPP, Evelyne (SUI) 
7. PERENC, Agata (POL)


-57kg: Strong-willed Brit SMYTHE-DAVIS continues to prosper in 2018 

Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Nekoda SMYTHE-DAVIS (GBR) started as the number one seed in Germany in a category which housed two Japanese judoka and a host of world medallists. Londoner SMYTHE-DAVIS, 24, who hails from Ealing Judo Club, took her career to a new level last year with bronze at the World Championships and has made a blistering start to the new season. The battling British judoka topped a Grand Slam podium for the first time by defeating Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist KARAKAS Hedvig (HUN). World number four SMYTHE-DAVIS had won four Grand Slam medals before today but never gold and that changed in golden score as the Rio 2016 Olympian fought back from trailing to by a waza-ari to win in Germany.

“I knew that gold was possible today but I simply took it one fight for a time,” said the British champion.

In the first semi-final SMYTHE-DAVIS pinned down Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist Sarah Leonie CYSIQUE (FRA) with a tate-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon.

In the second semi-final KARAKAS defeated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Anastasiia KONKINA (RUS) by ippon to book a place in the second Grand Slam final of her career.

The first bronze medal was won by 19-year-old Junior world silver medallist LKHAGVATOGOO Enkhriilen (MGL) who was lethal on the ground as she submitted 21-year-old KONKINA with a juji-gatame. Mongolia are slowly but surely blooding a new generation of judoka on the IJF World Judo Tour and teenager LKHAGVATOGOO, who celebrated her first IJF honour, is one of the country’s top prospects.

The second bronze medal was won by 19-year-old CYSIQUE who captured her first Grand Slam medal by defeating Tashkent Grand Prix winner Anna BOROWSKA (POL) by a waza-ari score which came from a harai-makikomi.


Bronze Medal Fights
KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS) vs LKHAGVATOGOO, Enkhriilen (MGL) 
BOROWSKA, Anna (POL) vs CYSIQUE, Sarah Leonie (FRA)

Final Results
1. SMYTHE-DAVIS, Nekoda (GBR) 
2. KARAKAS, Hedvig (HUN) 
3. LKHAGVATOGOO, Enkhriilen (MGL) 
3. CYSIQUE, Sarah Leonie (FRA) 
5. KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS) 
5. BOROWSKA, Anna (POL) 
7. UDAKA, Nae (JPN) 
7. ROPER, Miryam (PAN)



-60kg: World Judo Masters winner NAGAYAMA takes pole position from teammeate

World Judo Masters winner NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) took the world number one ranking from his club and national colleague TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) who looked on from the stands at the ISS Dome. Former Junior World Championships winner NAGAYAMA, 21, won his third Grand Slam title by defeating Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Robert MSHVIDOBADZE (RUS) in the -60kg final. NAGAYAMA bested the world number five with an all-out attacking exhibition. The first and only score of the contest, a ura-nage for a waza-ari, ensured that Japan won the lightest men's titles at stake on day one. World champion TAKATO Naohisa (JPN), who won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, watched on with interest from the stands. TAKATO is in Germany for the post-event training camp and will compete at the Prague European Open next week at -66kg to keep active and to help control his weight.

In the first semi-final NAGAYAMA bested Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Lukhumi CHKHVIMIANI (GEO) by a by ippon with a ko-uchi-gari. In the second semi-final African Championships winner Fraj DHOUIBI (TUN) lost out to MSHVIDOBADZE in golden score when the African judoka picked up his third shido during golden score.

The first bronze medal was won by Pan American Championships winner Eric TAKABATAKE (BRA) who floored DHOUIBI with a beautifully executed ko-uchi for ippon.

The second bronze medal went to world number 22 CHKHVIMIANI who had graced a Grand Slam podium once previously back in 2015 when he won bronze in Baku. Georgia’s CHKHVIMIANI had scouted the repeated tai-otoshi attempts from Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Ashley MCKENZIE (GBR) to counter the effort in golden score with a match-winning waza-ari.


Bronze Medal Fights

Final Results

1. NAGAYAMA, Ryuju (JPN) 
3. CHKHVIMIANI, Lukhumi (GEO) 
5. DHOUIBI, Fraj (TUN) 
5. MCKENZIE, Ashley (GBR) 
7. SHIRINLI, Vugar (AZE) 
7. VERGNES, Richard (FRA)


-66kg: Japanese newcomer tastes his first IJF gold with the scalp of ZANTARAIA

Former Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist TAGAWA Kenzo (JPN) stamped his name on the IJF World Judo Tour on Saturday by pipping European champion Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) to -66kg gold. World number 205 TAGAWA, 21, attained IJF gold for first time on his first Grand Slam assignment outside of Japan as he held firm against human highlight reel ZANTARAIA who was at his mercurial best for the majority of the day. In golden score the Japanese loaded his Ukrainian foe onto his hip and over for a waza-ari score in the finest moment of his burgeoning career.

In the first semi-final TAGAWA used the momentum of Yakub SHAMILOV (RUS) to throw for a match-winning waza-ari score in added time. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) was dispatched by an in-form ZANTARAIA. The Ukranian ace took the lead with a ura-nage and wrapped up a comprehensive win with an o-goshi.

The first bronze medal was won by world number 126 BATTOGTOKH Erkhembayar (MGL) who earned his first IJF medal at the expense of his countryman and 2016 Asian Championships winner DOVDON. Rank outsider BATTOGTOKH pinned down his older and more accomplished teammate in osaekomi to seal his spot on the podium.

The second bronze medal went to World Judo Masters bronze medallist Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR) who beat SHAMILOV in golden score. In a contest that pitted the world number six from Israel against the world number 15 from Russia, both judoka gave their all in a battle of attrition. SHMAILOV led with a waza-ari from a modified kata-guruma before his adversary restored level terms with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi. SHMAILOV countered an error from SHAMILOV in added time as his weak sutemi-waza attempt saw him finish up underneath his opponent who held on for 20 seconds and ippon.

ZANTARAIA, Georgii (UKR) vs TAGAWA, Kenzo (JPN)

Bronze Medal Fights
DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL) vs BATTOGTOKH, Erkhembayar (MGL) 

Final Results

1. TAGAWA, Kenzo (JPN) 
2. ZANTARAIA, Georgii (UKR) 
3. BATTOGTOKH, Erkhembayar (MGL) 
3. SHMAILOV, Baruch (ISR) 
5. DOVDON, Altansukh (MGL) 
5. SHAMILOV, Yakub (RUS) 
7. FLICKER, Tal (ISR) 



Saturday 24 February

Preliminary rounds - 10:00 (Three tatami)
Final block - 17:00 (One tatami)

Men: -73kg, -81kg
Women: -63kg, -70kg

Sunday 25 February

Preliminary rounds - 10:00 (Three tatami)
Final block - 17:00 (One tatami)

Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Women: -78kg, +78kg