World number 11 Gusman Kyrgyzbayev of Kazakhstan struck Grand Slam gold for the first time in his career as he won the first men’s final at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. The Kazakh finds himself behind teammate and former world champion Yeldos Smetov on the IJF World Ranking List with the latter holding fourth place. Kyrgyzbayev took top spot with the narrowest of wins over world number 19 Walide Khyar (FRA) by way of a waza-ari score from a ko-soto-gake.
Kyrgyzbayev was dangerously close to picking up a third shido in the final minute but Khyar did not muster enough attacks to merit a penalty for his adversary.
In the first semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix winner Yago Abuladze (RUS) lost out to Kyrgyzbayev by a waza-ari score as the Kazakh progressed to the final.
In the second semi-final Khyar surprised Olympic bronze medallist Diyorbek Urozboev (UZB) as the European judoka prevailed over the Asian standout by coming up with a single waza-ari score which settled the contest after four minutes.
The first bronze medal was emphatically won by Urozboev who defeated four-time Grand Prix medallist Phelipe Pelim (BRA) with a ko-soto-gake for ippon.
The second bronze medal went to Abuladze who triumphed over former world champion Yeldos Smetov (KAZ) with a timely waza-ari score. The Russian threw with a low uchi-mata after a highly-competetive and highly-exciting contest which saw both men try to impose themselves in the contest with positive judo.