The 2023 season for the IJF World Tour kicked off in sunny Portugal, and the stadium was full to the brim of fans ready to witness the first tournament of the year.
Under 48 kgs class
At under 48kg class, it was an all-Kazakh final. Abiba Abuzhakynova scored a decisive waza-ari on her compatriot Galiya Tynbayeva, but the two athletes displayed true judo values, with a great display of friendship and sportsmanship.
Mr. Vlad Marinescu, IJF Director General, was on hand to award the medals.
Under 60 kgs class
In the under 60kg category Japanese youngster Yamato Fukuda stormed through his first-ever Grand Prix appearance.
Defeating the experienced Francisco Garrigos with an excellent transition to groundwork.
He was awarded his medal by Mr. Juan Carlos Barcos, Director for International Relations of the IJF.
“Rather than this result giving me more confidence,” said Fukuda, “what this really means is that in the future I will be sent to various competitions around the world, and I will represent Japan in each of these events. This makes me more determined to work harder and more diligently so that I can bear the burden.
Olympic and World Medallist Chelsie Giles started her year incredibly well – coming to Portugal as World Number 1, she cemented her place at the top with a fantastic performance.
She was awarded her medal by Dr. Lisa Allan, Events Director of the IJF
“It’s so good just to get a medal anywhere you go,” explained Giles, “I’ve not picked up many gold medals as a senior, so getting a gold medal is amazing, especially as it’s the first competition of the year.”
Under 66 kgs class
At under 66kg class, Uzbekistan’s Mukhriddin Tilovov shocked Former World Champion An Baul, and his legendary coach Ilias Iliadis was thrilled!
The medals were awarded by Mr. Armen Bagdasarov, Head Referee Director of the IJF
Under 57 kgs class
In the under 57kg category Huh Mimi of Korea defeated current World Champion Rafaela Silva of Brazil with what seemed like pure determination! She was thrilled to celebrate with her coach
She was awarded the gold medal by Mr Neil Adams, IJF Refereeing Supervisor.
The home team was on fire all day, executing some of the slickest judo on display in Almada! This tournament is a fantastic chance for the young Portuguese team to demonstrate to the rest of the world, how strong Portuguese Judo is becoming. The next two days look set to be breathtaking.