After hosting a thrilling World Championship last year, the World Judo Tour returns to Tashkent.
On Friday, the Yunusohbud Sport Arena was full of enthusiastic judo fans who came to support their local heroes.
At 60 kilogrammes, Korea's Kim Won Jin showed great tenacity, beautifully changing direction, to overpower Serikbayev of Kazakhstan to take the second Grand Slam gold of his career.
The president of the Kazakhstan Judo Federation, Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev, was on hand to award the medals
“As I got a great result today, I will enjoy it as much as I can and prepare for the next competition. I will try my best to get the gold medal again for the next event. This is how I’m feeling,” said Kim Won Jin.
Stojadinov wins for injured friend
In the 48kg category, Serbia’s Andrea Stojadinov displayed great judo throughout the day, facing Portugal’s judoka Cristina Costa in the final.
During the intense contest, Stojadinov leveled the score with just four seconds to go, forcing a golden score and then claiming her first World Judo Tour gold.
The medals were awarded by International Judo Federation (IJF) guest, Xinjian Zhou.
“My best friend found out seven days ago that he can't continue doing judo because of some medical issues and I promised him that I would fight for both of us. And I’m really happy that it ended up with a gold medal because I really wanted to give my best now that I know what people are going through and what can happen in life,” said Stojadinov.
Mascha Ballhaus made a statement in the 52kg final. Scoring an early waza-ari against two time World Champion, Shishime Ai, and maintaining the pressure to take what was an emotional victory and a first World Judo Tour gold medal.
IJF Vice President, Dr Laszlo Toth, presented the medals.
Tajikistan’s Nurali Emomali pulled off an impressive ko-uchi ippon to defeat the local hopeful Nurillaev in the 66kg category, leaving the home crowd stunned.
Uzbekistan’s Minister of Youth Policy and Sports, Dr Adkham Ikramov, awarded the medals.
Georgian wins eighth gold
In the 57kg category, the experienced Tamaoki Momo of Japan displayed great strength to hold down Georgian Eteri Liparteliani, winning her eighth gold medal on the World Judo Tour.
IJF guest, Saken Mussaibekov, was on hand to award the medals
As the first day of judo in Uzbekistan comes to a close, it’s clear that the crowd has been treated to an unforgettable display of skill and sportsmanship from their home grown talent.
The Uzbek judoka have delivered stunning moments, leaving the audience in awe.