Tommy Macias of Sweden was the best performer in the U73kg category on Saturday at the Grand Prix in Antalya as he won all four of his contests to reign for Sweden. World Judo Masters bronze medallist Macias had won four Grand Prix medals before today (three silver, one bronze) and finally achieved that elusive Grand Prix gold on a rewarding day for the Swedish team.
Double world bronze medallist An Changrim (KOR) was a joy to watch in the preliminaries but may have been guilty of underestimating his Swedish foe who threw the South Korean with a sumi-gaeshi for ippon after only 50 seconds. A favourite losing decisively in the opening minute is exactly what judo is about. Anything can happen to any athlete at any time.
In the first semi-final An defeated World Judo Masters bronze medallist Hidayat Heydarov (AZE) by a waza-ari score in their first ever meeting. AN came out on top with a sumptuous o-guruma for the only score of the contest to take his place in the final. In the second semi-final Macias bested 20-year-old David Lima (BRA) by a single waza-ari score from a yoko-tomoe-nage.
The first bronze medal was won by world number 21 Mohammad Mohammadi (IRI) who defeated Lima by a waza-ari score which was the only score in the four minute contest. Mohammadi protected his advantage, which came from an osoto to osoto counter with a mature performance as 20-year-old gave a valiant effort in his first appearance in an IJF final block.
The second bronze medal went to Heydarov who beat world number 166 Nikola Gusic (MNE) by a waza-ari score. Gusic was in a great shape though winning a strong pool with Biloglu, Van Tichelt but lost to the later winner Macias. Azeri star Heydarov scored with a reverse seoi-nage and then adopted a more cautious approach which is uncharacteristic of the flamboyant Junior world champion as he was content to win by a single score after four minutes of action.