Bercy Paris hosts one of the most iconic stops on the World Judo tour – it’s an event steeped in over 50 years of history – and Grand Slam Day One proved as thrilling as hoped for.
Judo is energy, and IJF President Marius Vizer signed an agreement with Benjamin Lakatos, MET Group Chairman and CEO, officially partnering European energy group MET with the IJF.
The opening ceremony, led by Vizer, featured a mesmerising Kata and gymnastics demonstration highlighting the grace and precision of the sport. An inspiring start to this incredible competition!
An early gold for the hosts
And straight away France’s Blandine Pont stirred the emotions of the home crowd with victory in the -48kg category, the first event of the tournament.
FIG President & IOC Member Morinari Watanabe awarded the medals.
Azerbaijan’s Balabay Aghayev cleverly countered France’s Cédric Revol to take gold in the -60kg contest.
MET Group Chairman & CEO Benjamin Lakatos awarded the medals.
At -52kg Olympic Champion Distria Krasniqi once again displayed her dominance, a lightning-fast Osoto-gari in the opening exchange proving more than enough to best Hungary’s Pupp Reka.
OTP President Sandor Csanyi awarded the medals.
A win for Ukraine’s Bogdan Iadov
Ukraine’s Bogdan Iadov deployed Sumi-gaeshi to defeat Mongolia’s Battogtokh Erkhembayar in the -66kg contest.
IJF EC Member & Kodokan President Haruki Uemura awarded the medals.
At -57kg Priscilla Gneto brought more glory for the hosts with a tactical victory against Canada’s former World Champion Jessica Klimkait.
IJF Guest Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill awarded the medals.
“It’s amazing to fight and to get a medal and to see everybody supporting us all day,” said Gneto. “It’s giving us a lot of strength all day, so thank you for this.”
Lasha Shavdatuashvili is a true legend of Judo, and the Georgian showed that he is still on top, winning -73kg gold in style against Brazil’s Daniel Cargnin.
ANOCA President & IOC Member Mustapha Berraf awarded the medals
“I’m very happy,” Shavdatuashvili said. “Because this is a special crowd, it’s different from others and gives all the athletes a lot of motivation. It is a great feeling when you win and all the spectators are happy because of your victory.”
Israel’s Gili Sharir took a surprise Gold against Japan’s Nabekura Nami at -63kg.
IJF EC Member & IOC Member Yasuhiro Yamashita awarded the medals.
Inspiration for the next generation
And amid all the excitement there was a wonderful moment for the children in attendance who got to meet one of judo’s biggest stars, Clarisse Agbegnenou.
The next generation of French Judoka has been inspired!
Now we look forward to Day 2 in Paris, when the heavyweights take centre stage.