Two-time World Judo Masters winner Beka Gviniashvili (GEO) put the U90kg category on notice in Zagreb as he struck his first IJF gold medal since 2017. The 23-year-old showed his explosive judo which gave him a reputation as one of the most feared and highly-rated judoka in the category before he switched categories in the build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Gviniashvili overpowered Düsseldorf Grand Slam silver medallist Murao Sanshiro (JPN) as the 18-year-old uchi-mata specialist was lifted up to the rafters with a ura-ange for ippon.
In the first semi-final former world silver medallist Toth Krisztian (HUN) went all out in the closing seconds as he trailed to a waza-ari against Gviniashvili but the Georgian took full advantage and dispatched his long-time Hungarian rival by ippon.
In the second semi-final Ekaterinburg Grand Slam winner Noel Van ‘t End (NED) was disqualified against MURAO after being penalised three times.
The first bronze medal was won by Van ‘t End after exactly 70 seconds after launching Marrakech Grand Prix silver medallist Eduard Trippel (GER) for ippon with a thumping ippon-seoi-nage.
The second bronze medal went to top seed Toth who squeezed past world number 53 Max Stewart (GBR) who is still without an IJF medal since 2016. Hungary’s Toth won by a waza-ari score and will expect to challenge at the World Championships next month.