Judo Grand Slam Antalya, Lombardo show: he is silver at his debut in 73 kg

Back on the mat after fifth place at the Olympics, the blue makes his debut in the new weight category by winning five matches: the defeat in the final at the hands of the surprise of the tournament, the 19-year-old Georgian Terashvili

Two hundred and fifty-one days after that cursed final for the bronze of 66 kg in Tokyo 2020, won by South Korean An Baul, Manuel Lombardo returned to the international tatami in Antalya as one of the protagonists of his new weight category of -73 kg, conquering a splendid silver. The blue, former number one in the world ranking of 66 kg, has collected five clear and convincing victories one after another, which immediately put pen to paper what the credibility of his project is in the new weight: after getting rid of the Uzbek Shakram Akhadov and the Mongolian Uranbayar Odgerel, scored three successes with leading athletes who already sail in the high rankings, namely the Canadian Arthur Margelidon (16th in the ranking), the Bulgarian Mark Hristov (21st) and the Spanish Salvador Cases Roca (23 °). The final epilogue is anything but predictable: to great surprise Giorgi Terashvili, a nineteen year old Georgian at the first Grand Slam of his life, manages to get the better of Lombardo, ruining his party: “I made a mistake and he was good at take advantage of it ”, commented the blue, who then immediately made it clear:“ I don’t think it will happen again, next time I’ll be the winner ”.


In addition to the important result, what counted for Manuel was to be able to return to the race feeling positive feelings: “I’m really very happy to be back on the mat and I’m sure I can do even more”. A return postponed for various reasons: “They were difficult months, one after the other happened to me and my participation in yesterday’s race was anything but obvious. The people who have been close to me during this time know how hard the last few months have been for me. I was supposed to compete in the Grand Slam in Paris, but I had a health problem that prevented me from doing so; therefore, I should have competed in the Grand Slam in Tbilisi, but the race was canceled ”. The change in category, on the other hand, came after the Tokyo Olympics and that outburst on Instagram in which Lombardo showed excessive weight loss and the great effort to stay in weight: I don’t feel I have done anything exceptional. I’ve always been told that if someone is strong, they are strong in any weight category, and that’s what I repeated to myself yesterday, throughout the day ”. And this silver is absolutely the confirmation.


Positive return also for Antonio Esposito in the 81 kg who, after shoulder surgery, won with the Czech Jan Svoboda and the Moldovan Nicon Zaborosciuc before stopping in front of the German Dominic Ressel, fifth in Tokyo 2020. “I don’t I felt so good for a long time – Esposito pointed out – maybe the merit goes to the shoulder that finally works! Ressel was in particularly good shape and it wasn’t easy, but it will be for next time. Anyway, I’m leaving here with good feelings and the certainty that the next one will be better ”. Also yesterday Irene Pedrotti and Giacomo Gamba were eliminated respectively by the Dutch Hilde Jager and the German Tim Gramkov, while today Christian Parlati’s legitimate ambitions were extinguished by an at least questionable evaluation of the 90 kg in the third round that saw him opposed to the Dutch Jesper Smink after the victories over Alexis Mathieu (Fra) and Robert Florentino (Dom). Nicholas Mungai, in the same category, overtook Erlan Sherov (Kzg) and Alexander Wieczerzak (Ger) before stopping with Cuban Ivan Felipe Silva Morales. In 78 kg Alice Bellandi overtook Kazakh Assel Bissembay before being defeated by Madeleine Malonga, silver in Tokyo. One victory each for Lorenzo Agro Sylvain in the +100 kg over Mircea Croitoru (Rou) and Enrico Bargamelli in the 100 kg over Zlatko Kumric (Cro), before being knocked out by Ushangi Kokauri (Aze) and Zsombor Veg (Hun).


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