Judo

Russia sweeps men's heavyweights at Hungary Judo Grand Slam

A Russian heavyweight hattrick dominated the men's action while France and Turkey came up big on the women's side at the grand finale in Budapest

By Ken Browne ·

Mikhail Igolnikov (24), Niyaz Ilyasov (25), and Inal Tasoev (22), proved what a heavyweight judo force Russia will bring to Tokyo 2020 next summer by winning all three of the -90, -100, and +100kg categories on the final day of action at the 2020 Hungary Judo Grand Slam.

It was a fantastique final day for France too as Rio 2016 silver medallist Audrey Tcheumeo won an all-French -78kg final and Kayra Sayit claimed the +78kg title for Turkey.

While there was individual joy and team celebrations on the last day of action, plenty of plaudits went to the collective action that made an international tournament of this dimension possible in the middle of a pandemic.

Judoka were delighted to be able to get back on the mat and engaging in randori with a chance to compete with some of the best in the world.

With the clock ticking down to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics, every minute on the mat counts.

A zarei to everyone involved.

2020 Hungary Grand Slam Highlights

Men's -90kg: Igolnikov sets Russia on a roll

It was a day to remember for Russia in the Hungarian capital.

First up on the men's side was the -90kg category, and the field looked fierce with the last three World Champions warming up: Serbian Nemanja Majdov (2017), Spain's Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (2018) and Dutch judoka Noel Van T End (2019).

By the time the final came around not one was left standing, revealing the unpredictability and the lack of a dominant star at this category.

Russia's Mikhail Igolnikov faced Mongolian Altanbagana Gantulga to decide it and it was over in 21 seconds, Igolnikov ending Gantulga's challenge with one of the ippons of the tournament, turning an uchi-mata into a winning throw with some fleet-footed magic.

Mammadali Mehdiyev and Sherazadishvili won the two bronze medals.

Women's -78kg: Audrey Tcheumeo on top

In the absence of French master Teddy Riner there were still plenty of positives for France.

Look no further than the final of the -78kg for evidence with Audrey Tcheumeo facing Fanny Posvite in the final.

Tcheumeo looks back to her blistering best, rejuvenated and invigorated by the time off, she dominated the final and let out a roar at the end of the fight that showed us all where her focus and energy is right now.

Bronze at London 2012, silver at Rio 2016, could Tcheumeo complete an Olympic medal full house with gold at Tokyo 2020?

Natascha Ausma (NED) and Loriana Kuka (KOS), took home the bronze medals in this category.

Men's -100kg: Russian revelry continues

Back on the men's side it was Niyaz Ilyasov and Arman Adamian's turn to roll over the competition to make it an all-Russian final.

Portugal's reigning world champion from Tokyo 2019 Jorge Fonseca found out that wearing the red patch on his back did not grant him immunity to the Russian onslaught, Adamian disposing of him in the semi-final.

The final was tense and taught, two men who know each other so well trying to execute almost identical moves, but in the end Ilyasov managed to manoeuvre himself into position to immobilise Adamian with an ushiro-kesa-gatame hold. 

Russia 2-0 World.

Fonseca and Canadian Shady Elnahas bagged bronze.

Women's +78kg: Sayit does Turkey proud

When at the semi-final stage the two heavily fancied Brazilians Beatriz Souza and Maria Suelen Altheman were still in the running, an all-Brazil final looked likely.

But Turkey's Kayra Sayit and Tunisia's Nihel Cheikh Rouhou had other ideas.

These two seasoned contenders made the final their own and it was Sayit who just did enough, she was awarded gold after a false attack by Cheikh Rouhou in golden score.

Consolation for the Brazilians who took home a bronze medal each.

Men's +100kg: Russia's golden treble

With 'King of the Superheavyweights' Teddy Riner absent, there were plenty of pretenders to the throne more than willing to take his place.

Once again Russia proved that they plan a judo takeover in Tokyo by making it an all-Russian final between 22-year-old prodigy Inal Tasoev and 24-year-old Tamerlan Bashaev.

Both judoka went for it to provide a thrilling finale, a failed seoi-nage from Bashaev opening the doort to Tasoev who masterfully flipped his opponent over to then immobilise him for the win.

The two third-place prizes went to the two Georgians Levani Matiashvili and Gela Zaalashvili.