The first day of the Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg delivered quite some surprises but an equal distribution of the final position among a number of strong judo nations. The Russian athletes showing good results, especially in the women’s categories where they seemed to get more grip to take some of the medals this year. Brazil and Japan are the two other outperforming nations so far in the tournament.
Amiran Papinashvili of Georgia reached the final for men U60kg. The experienced Georgian defeated Fran Garrigos in the semi final and is opposed to Ryuju Nagayama in Japan who seemed to have an injury he was hiding during the tournament. Nagayama defeated Karakizidi (RUS) in the semi.
Number one seed U66kg Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj (MGL) was defeated by Belarussian European junior champion Dzmitry Minkou in the second round. Chibana was the winner in that pool and reached the final after he beat Yakub Shamilov (RUS) in the semi final. Abdula Abdulzhalilov who won the Grand prix in Antalya in April is a good opponent for Chibana and they never fought before.
Another Brazilian is in the final, Marcelo Contini. The 28-year old is in a good shape with two victories in the PanAm Opens in March but Soichi Hashimoto is world class and after he seems to be the number one candidate for the world title in August in exactly 100 days. Hashimoto defeated Arthur Margelidon (CAN) in the semi final whilst Contini bested Sam van ‘t Westende (NED) in the other semi. It was one of the few categories were the Russian opponents didn’t get traction.
In the women’s division U48kg Russian Sabina Giliazova will fight Ami Kondo in the final. Giliazova surprised Galbadrakh Otsgontsetseg in the semi final as well Taciana Lima in the first round match. Former World Champion Ami Kondo defeated French Melanie Clement in the semi final.
Alesya Kuznetsova is in a good shape, again she reached the final. At the European Championships in Warsaw she picked up silver. In the semi final she bested Amandine Buchard of France. Natalia Kuziutina was defeated in the semi final against Erika Miranda of Brazil.
Miryam Roper of Panama is stunting in Ekaterinburg with a final spot U57kg. Roper who switched to Panama this year was the number five of the PanAm Championships but this time secured a medal after she bested Lkhagvatogoo in the semi final. Lkhagvatogoo beat number one seed Helene Receveaux in the tournament, but it was Roper who progressed with a simple and tight oseikomi. She will face favourite Nae Udaka of Japan who beat Jessica Klimkait in the golden score in the semi.
Martina Trajdos of Germany is back in a final U63kg. Trajdos who won silver in Düsseldorf in February beat British Amy Livesey in the semi final. Another Russian will be her opponent, Ekaterina Valkova. The Russian are doing well this tournament and Valkova bested Olympic number five Mariana Silva (BRA) in the semi final. Trajdos is leading 7-1 in head2heads but the last victory was for Silva, in Rio.