Italy’s Elios Manzi wins his first-ever Grand Slam title on day one in Abu Dhabi

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It’s been just a week since the Tashkent World Championships – where, in an electric atmosphere, fourteen champions were crowned, local heroes made and an amazing mixed-team competition held – creating unforgettable memories for judo fans in Uzbekistan and around the world.

Now the World Judo Tour is back in Abu Dhabi with champions battling it out for prestigious podium places.

Gold for Georgian youngster Giorgi Sardalashvili

Yang Yung Wei faced Georgian youngster Giorgi Sardalashvili in the -60kg final. And a well-timed sode-tsurikomi-goshi gave Sardalashvili waza-ari – and gold for Georgia.

IJF President Marius Vizer awarded the medals.

“Yang is a very high level judoka,” Sardalashvili said. “But before this contest, my coaches and I learnt his techniques and I was ready. I did everything my coach advised and the result was gold.”

An o-uchi-gari masterclass from Gneto

The experienced Astride Gneto of France arrived in Abu Dhabi looking to take the top spot, and throughout the day she delivered an o-uchi-gari masterclass to her opponents.

Uzbekistan’s Diyora Keldiyorova faced her in the final, but Gneto was too strong, and with yet another amazing o-uchi-gari for waza-ari and gold.

Mohammed Bin Thaaloob Al Derie, UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation President, presented the medals.

“I’m very happy, because my first Grand Slam medal was in Abu Dhabi when I was a junior and today was a good day, so I’m happy,” said Gneto.

A fantastic sacrifice move

At -48kg Julia Figueroa of Spain claimed gold with a fantastic sacrifice move, catching her opponent completely by surprise.

Juan Carlos Barcos, IJF Director for International Relations, handed out the medals

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A first-ever grand slam gold for Manzi

In the -66kg contest, Italian Elios Manzi scored two nearly identical waza-aris against Serbia’s Strahinja Buncic to claim victory and his first-ever grand slam gold medal.

IJF Vice President Obaid Al Anzi presented the medals.

Youth triumphs over experience

In the -57kg final, Korea’s 19-year-old Huh Mimi defeated Kosovo’s Nora Gjakova – a huge upset on a day where youth triumphed over experience.

IJF Vice President Mr Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko gave out the medals.

An amazing day of judo and Abu Dhabi will have more in store for us tomorrow.


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