Japan reigned supreme on the first day of judo in Paris with the current world champion Tsunoda Natsumi overcoming Mongolia’s Baasankhuu Bavuudorj in the under 48 kilo final. A Waza-ari early on in the contest followed by a hold down towards the end, secured Tsunoda her first Paris Grand Slam title.
And her compatriot Nagayama Ryuju triumphed in the under 60 kilo final, beating his Korean opponent Jeon Seungbeom. A counter for a Waza-ari followed by a hold down, captured Nagayama his eighth Grand Slam title and his second in Paris.
Alexandra Szentkiralyi, representing the Hungarian government, awarded them their medals.
In an all-Japan final in the under 57 kilo women’s category, it was Haruka Funakubo who applied enough pressure to edge out her compatriot Momo Tamaoki in golden score.
They were awarded their medals by the chairman of the board of Yükselir Group, Yavuz Yükselir.
The under 63 kilo women’s category was yet another all-Japanese final, with Nami Nabekura claiming an impressive fourth gold for Japan after defeating Masako Doi.
She was awarded her gold medal by International Judo Federation (IJF) guest Leo Bahadourian.
The French crowd were rewarded in the under 52 kilo women’s final as France’s Amandine Buchard overcame Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi, at almost four minutes into golden score to claim her first Paris Grand Slam title.
She was awarded her medal by the CEO of Ultima Capital, the Partner of the IJF, Max-Hervé George.
Afterwards Buchard described how much the crowd meant to her.
“In the end the power you need inside, you find it in the people and it’s like – OK – they give me power and I will fight for me but for them too,” she said.
Mongolia’s Baskhuu Yondonperenlei was victorious in the under 66 kilo final, beating the world number one and double Olympic medalist, Korea’s An Baul.
He was awarded his medal by Stefano Ricci, the owner of menswear brand Stefano Ricci.
The under 73 kilo final pitted the current world champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia against Hashimoto Soichi of Japan. The gold was clinched in golden score, with Shavdatuashvili taking the tactical victory.
He was awarded his medal by IJF ambassador Ion Tiriac.
Shavdatuashvili then also thanked the crowd. “This audience here in Paris in this city is absolutely one of a kind – they understand judo, they love judo,” he said.