In Paris Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo won her third consecutive Judo Grand Slam in a row. Despite her injury last year, Paris seems to be her record destiny. In today’s final she could come back and defeat the World Ranking leader Andreea Chitu of Romania.
The suspense of the U52kg final between Andreea Chitu and Majlinda Kelmendi was shortcut as the double world champion from Kosovo showed her power by counterattacking the first attempt of Chitu for a yuko score. Kelmendi immediately controlled the Romanian on the floor, with no possible escape and concluded the contest with an armlock for ippon and a look of pure satisfaction.
In the first semi-final Chitu raced to victory against Havana Grand Prix winner Mareen Kraeh from Germany by ippon after just 25 seconds while in the second semi-final Kelmendi produced two waza-ari scores to beat Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Annabelle Euranie of France.
The first bronze medal contest opposed Euranie and former Asian Championships bronze medallist Kim Mi-Ri of Korea and the home fighter left it all on the tatami as she fought her way to bronze. The veteran French fighter took the lead with a waza-ari and was rarely threatened as she accumulated two shido and showed her wealth of experience and tactical acumen. In the second bronze medal fight Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Gneto of France was opposed to Kraeh. The French fighter didn’t give any openings to her opponent and after having scored with a reverse sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, she pinned the German for ippon. Gneto was joined in action by her 19-year-old younger sister Astride Gneto who fell in the opening round to Ma Yingnan of China.
30 Women were competing in this category U52kg, more than in last years (29), but much lower than the record in the previous Olympic year 2012. In the Olympic year Yuka Nishida won the title in Bercy, but not an Olympic medal, no guarantee for Kelmendi today.