ALMADA (PORTUGAL) – The 2023 season ofIJF World Tour started from sunny Portugal, with the Grand Prix Portugal al Municipal Sports Complex of Almadawith many fans and enthusiasts ready to attend the first tournament of the year.
Kazakhstan: immediately at the top of the medal table
In the -48kg women category it was an all Kazakh final.
Abiba Abuzhakynova scored a decider waza-ari on compatriot Galiya Tynbayeva, but – at the end of the final – the two athletes showed the true values of judo, with a demonstration of friendship and great sportsmanship.
Bronze for Israeli Shira Tishony and Spaniard Mireia Lapuerta Comas.
Medals delivered by Vlad Marinescu, IJF General Director.
Yamato Fukuda: A star is born!
In the -60kg men, the young Japanese Yamato Fukuda, just 18 years old, competed in his first race in a Grand Prix, winning it. By defeating the expert Spanish judoka Francisco Garrigos.
Double French bronze: for Cedric Revol and Luka Mkheidze.
The gold medal was awarded to him by Juan Carlos Barcos, Director of International Relations of the IJF.
Yamako Fukuda recounts her emotion:
“Rather than this result which gives me more confidence anyway, what is really important is that in the future I will participate in various competitions around the world and represent Japan in each of these events. This makes me more determined to work harder and harder diligently, so that we can bear the responsibility.”
Chelsie Giles: the return of the number 1
The Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, the Briton Chelsie Gilesstarted his 2023 well, arriving in Portugal as number 1 in the world and consolidating his first place with a fantastic performance, defeating the Spanish Estrella Lopez Sheriff in the final.
Bronzo per Julia Weiln Dit Morey (Francia) and Naomi van Krevel (Olanda).
Medal awarded by Lisa Allan, IJF Director of Events.
“It’s so nice to get a medal wherever you compete. I didn’t win many gold medals as a senior, so getting a gold medal is great, especially since it’s the first competition of the year,” says Chelsie Giles.
In the -66kg men category, Mukhriddin Tilovov (Uzbekistan) surprisingly defeated former world champion, South Korean An Ba-ul.
And his legendary coach Ilias Iliadis is thrilled!
Bronze for the French Daikii Bouba and the Moldovan Radu Izvoreanu.
The medals were awarded by Armen Bagdasarov, Chief Director of Referees of the IJF.
Bronze and record for Thauany David Capanni Dias
In the women’s -57kg category, the South Korean Huh Mimi she defeated the current World Champion, the Brazilian Rafaela Silva, thanks to sheer determination and grit!
Bronze for the Italian judoka Thauany David Capanni Dias, 19 years and 91 days old, the youngest blue athlete (including men) ever to get on the podium of the Judo Grand Prix.
The Italian-Brazilian judoka, Roman by adoption, in her second participation in a round of the Grand Prix, first beat the Kazakh Dana Abdirova (in just 47 seconds!) and then, with a ipponthe Polish Julia Kowalczyk and finally with a waza-ari the Kosovar Flaka Loxha, qualifying for the semifinals, where she was defeated – only after 7 minutes of Golden Score – by the Brazilian Rafaela Silva, world champion of the category.
However, Thauany David Capanni Dias made up for 3rd place in the final, beating the Serbian Marica Perisic by ippon, winning a fantastic bronze.
The medals were presented by Neil Adams, IJF Referee Supervisor.
Medal table: other 9 titles to be assigned
In the medal table after the first day, they command Kazakhistan e South Korea with one gold and one silver each. Then a gold for Great Britain, Japan and Uzbekistan.
A grudge for Italy.
The home team was protagonist all day long, with good performances by its athletes (excellent 5th place by Catarina Costa in the women’s -48kg).
This tournament is a fantastic opportunity for the young Lusitanian team to show the rest of the world how Portuguese judo is growing.
And two breathtaking days of judo await us, with 9 titles still to be awarded…
Grand Prix Portugal: all results