Dutch judoka Juul Franssen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam with a victory over Austrian European Championships silver medallist Kathrin Unterwurzacher in the U63kg final. Paris Grand Slam silver medallist and World Judo Masters silver medallist Franssen will now break into the top 10 on the world ranking list as she tied up Unterwurzacher in osaekomi for 20 seconds to win her maiden gold medal on the Grand Slam stage.
The awareness of Franssen was evident both on and off the tatami as she blew a kiss to the camera as she left the field of play and is now focused on continental and World honours in 2017.
In the first semi-final Unterwurzacher bested Almaty Grand Prix winner Margaux Pinot (FRA) by a single shido in a scoreless contest as the top seed safely progressed into the gold medal contest. In the second semi-final Franssen defeated Rio 2016 Olympian Mariana Silva (BRA). Franssen, who was left at home during Rio 2016 in favour of eventual Olympic bronze medallist Anicka Van Emden (NED), beat Silva who was unable to assert herself in the contest. The Brazilian finished fifth at her home Olympics and was undone today by two scores from Franssen who made sure of a spot in the gold medal contest by ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by Silva as she defeated Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Marijana Miskovic Hasanbegovic (CRO) in the opening contest of the final block on day two in Abu Dhabi. The Brazilian made a poor start as she was penalised twice for cross-gripping without immediately attacking. Miskovic Hasanbegovic was unable to muster any scoring opportunities and was caught for a yuko which turned out to be the only score after four minutes. The second bronze medal was won by Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Ketleyn Quadros (BRA) to match the result of her teammate. Quadros, 29, scored a yuko with a left-sided drop seoi-nage on the edge of the area to defeat Pinot who failed to threaten the scoreboard during any stage of the four minute contest.