Italian European Champion Odette Giuffrida captured her third victory at the Grand Slam in Tbilisi. She is the first woman to win the triple in the Georgian capital. The silver medallist at the last Olympic Games perfectly fulfilled her role as the favourite at this Grand Slam. She qualified for the final against the Brit Chelsie Giles, gold medallist in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, thus demonstrating that her victory in Israel was not taken by chance.
Almost ten minutes were necessary for Odette Giuffrida to stop Chelsie Giles from wining a second grand slam gold medal in a row, but that was close as neither of the two champions were able to find the slightest throwing opportunity, between the failed tai-otoshi attempt of the Italian and the no more successful uchi-mata of Giles. Both Giuffrida and Giles are showing that they are getting ready for the Olympic rendezvous this summer and as the Italian already did it five years ago in Rio, everything is possible.
Giuffrida confirmed her status as a big favourite. Her toughest fight was against the Russian Polikarpova. She has fought with very solid judo and has resolved her semi-final against the Georgian with her favourite move, the o-uchi-gari. Her technical skills are exquisite.
Giles is an interesting case. She is difficult to catch because she is very tall and does not make mistakes. Tactically she is very good and she has good ne-waza.
It was a very tactical -52kg final; not the most beautiful but a real pleasure for experts. Giuffrida won because she produced more attacks.
We found Joana Ramos (POR) in the first bronze medal contest, already three times a grand slam medallist and Larissa Pimenta (BRA), who failed at the foot of the podium two weeks ago in Tashkent. Using her experience at that level of competition, Joana Ramos pushed Larissa Pimenta into golden score, where the Brazilian was penalised for the third time, offering the medal to the 39-year old Ramos who managed to move forward in the repechage by defeating youngster Naomi van Krevel (NED).
For some time now, we have been announcing the rise of the Georgian women's team, on whom we will have to rely more and more in the near future. With the advantage of being at home, Tetiana Levytska-Shukvani (GEO) qualified for the second bronze medal contest, against the Hungarian Reka Pupp. The Hungarian delivered a very good match, scoring two waza-ari to win the medal, with an especially beautiful uchi-mata for the second waza-ari.
We make a small note in addition to the performances of the medallists; 20 year old European junior medallist Naomi van Krevel, made a strong statement, finishing the day just inside the final block. She has no credentials on the World Judo Tour but it is clear the young Dutch woman is a new name to add to the list of those to watch out for in the future.