On the final day of the Brasilia Grand Slam, the focus was on one man alone – Teddy Riner of France.
First up was Kokoro Kageura of Japan. He finally succumbed to a huge Ashi guruma. Next up was Inal Tasoev of Russia, which was another close fight edged by a Wazari. The semi-final saw World champion Lukas Krpalek penalised out before he could even get going. But it was David Moura who had the pleasure of taking on Riner in the final. The fight could not have been more different. A fantastic Osoto makikomi in the first exchange saw Riner sitting in his rightful spot as king of the heavyweights.
“I feel good,” said Riner, “But today was a big day, but it’s important I compete in grand slams and tournaments like this because if I want to win the Olympic Games in Tokyo, first I need to win these tournaments and I train for this.”
He was presented his medal by International Judo Federation Competition Manager, Dr. Lisa Allan.
An all-Brazilian final happened in the over 78kgs, as Maria Suelen Altheman and Beatriz Souza went head to head for the top spot.
A clever Ashi Waza counter meant that Souza took the spoils and emotional scenes followed for our woman of the day
“It’s very important to have a big event in Brazil,” said Souza, “Especially because you have the support of friends and family, this energy is very important and it makes the difference to me and all the athletes. For sure it’s the most positive thing to have a great event here.”
The medals were presented by 9th Dan, Mr Takeshi Miura.
The under 90kg final provided a rerun of the 2018 world championship final. World number one Nikoloz Sherazadishvili once again came out on top against Iván Felipe Silva Morales, throwing for Wazari with his trademark Uchi mata continuing his dominance at the top of the category.
Cuba’s Kaliema Antomarchi took her first Grand Slam Gold medal in the under 78Kg category with a well-earned victory over the highly decorated Natalie Powell of Great Britain. A huge Ura nage securing the title.
lida Kentaro of Japan was outstanding all day in the under 100kg final. He faced off against home favourite Rafael Buzacarini. A beautiful drop Sode tsurikomi goshi capped a brilliant day for the Japanese fighter.
Finally, our move of the day was an epic Harai goshi from Russia’s Kirill Denisov, which earned him a bronze medal.