After a 6-year absence, the International Judo Federation (IJF) world tour returned to one of the world’s judo’s powerhouses.
Brazilian Ketelyn Nascimento looked focused heading into the under 57kgs final. She met Great Britain’s double world medalist Nekoda Smythe-Davis who launched a double stab Osoto gari attack that scored an emphatic ippon.
“I tried it a couple of times in the fight and it just didn’t come off, so just at that moment, same as I always do, I just went for it and I actually didn’t know it was ippon because by the time I looked up she was already back on her feet, so I didn’t know it was ippon so I was looking at the referee and they gave the ippon so I thought job done,” said Smythe-Davis.
In the 60kg category, the relatively unknown Brazilian World number 202 Allan Kuwabara was having arguably the best day of his career. In the final, he was met by his compatriot, the widely experienced world number 11 Eric Takabatake, who he overcame in a tense encounter to take his first-ever world tour gold.
Kuwabara said, “I knew about the difficulty of this competition, and I knew I was facing top level athletes of the world. I tried to do my best and now I’m going up in the world ranking list and who knows, I might be a top seed in the next competitions!”
He was congratulated and presented his medal by the president of the Brazilian Judo Confederation, Mr Silvio Acacio Borges.
The under 48 kgs final saw Brazilian Gabriela Chibana attempt to bring joy to her home fans, but Catarina Costa of Portugal had other plans. The Portuguese fighter managed to power her opponent over for wazari claiming her first grand slam title. Her medal was presented by Mr Leandro Cruz, State Secretary of Sport and Leisure of Brasilia.
At under 66kg, home fighter Daniel Cargnin came up against Italy’s Manuel Lombardo. A low seoi otoshi halfway through the contest from the Brazilian proved to be the difference between the two fighters, it was enough for a first Grand Slam Gold.
The medals were presented by Mr Joao Derly, Ambassador of the International Judo Federation, Member of Parliament in Brazil and double Judo world champion.
In the under 52kg final, Italy’s Giuffrida rose to the occasion, capitalizing on a failed dropping attack from her Brazilian opponent, swiftly transitioning into newaza to end the contest via submission from a strangle and claim a second grand slam title. It’s more success in Brazil for the Italian, who picked up Olympic silver at the Rio 2016 games.
The move of the day came from Russian Olympic champion Mudranov who produced a huge Ura nage in his opening contest against Matteo Medves of Italy.