Dutchman Tornike Tsjkadoea defeated Minsk European Open silver medallist Luka Mkheidze (FRA) to win the U60kg title of the Grand Prix in Cancun. Mkheidze took the lead with a waza-ari score after 89 seconds before his rival fought back. Tsjkadoea is finally a lightweight who breaks through,a long wish of the Dutch team.
Both judoka were in their first IJF World Judo Tour final and were guaranteed their first medals at this level but went all-out in search of gold. Former Junior European Championships gold medallist Tsjkadoea scored ippon with 19 seconds left on the clock with his koshi-waza to give the Netherlands a dream start in Mexico.
In the first semi-final Tsjakadoea scored twice to defeat Pan American Championships gold medallist Lenin Preciado (ECU). In the second semi-final Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist David Pulkrabek fell to Mkheidze. The Czech judoka led by a waza-ari before Mkheidze restored parity with a tai-otoshi and then walked right onto a seoi-nage from the Frenchman who made sure of his first IJF medal.
The first bronze medal was won by world number 35 Pulkrabek who ended a miserable day for number one seed Francisco Garrigos (ESP). The Czech judoka broke the balance of his opponent with a reverse seoi-nage and followed through for ippon and a key result towards his Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification ambitions.
The second bronze medal went to Preciado who threw European champion Islam Yashuev (RUS) for ippon with 54 seconds left on the clock. Ecuador’s world number 22 Preciado earned his first and his country's first IJF World Judo Tour medal to his immense satisfaction and to the delight of his coach and teammates with a sensational ippon as he come from being a waza-ari down to take the final spot on the U60kg podium.