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Judo Grand Slam: Georgian judoka take early lead in Tbilisi


Slick judo displays all around leave five countries with five gold medals at the close of day 1 at the International Judo Federation’s 2021 Grand Slam in Tbilisi, Georgia.

There is no crowd at the Tbilisi Grand Slam, in keeping with the need to preserve the health of the community, but there are, however, three tatami and offensive, risky judo on offer.

After one day of competition, Georgia already takes the lead with three finals for one gold medal, but Uzbekistan and Italy are not far behind, with only one silver medal difference, while Mongolia and Kosovo are close too. The results show a great diversity of countries, with 5 countries having already won at least one gold medal. Altogether, 14 countries won a medal on day 1 and 23 were represented in the final block.

In judo circles, Georgia is sometimes known as ‘the land of Champions’ and Temur Nozadze certainly lived up to that title, showing the World what Georgian Judo is all about. The young and explosive fighter tore through the competition with one spectacular throw after another. After narrowly missing out on Gold in Tel Aviv last month, Nozadze stood atop his first Grand Slam podium, doing his home country proud.

“It is a big honour for me to fight here in my home of Georgia, it inspires me to work even harder to fight in the biggest and most epic tournaments in the World,” the under-60kg champion told reporters.


NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB) vs. NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)

Bronze Medal Contests


HUSEYNOV, Karamat (AZE) vs. SIMEONIDIS, Konstantin (RUS)

Final Results

1. NOZADZE, Temur (GEO)

2. NURILLAEV, Kemran (UZB)

3. HUSEYNOV, Karamat (AZE)


5. SIMEONIDIS, Konstantin (RUS)

5. TSJAKADOEA, Tornike (NED)

7. ENKHTAIVAN, Ariunbold (MGL)


-52kg: GIUFFRIDA Stops GILES For Gold

The under 48kg Veteran

The light categories opened the competition that will end on Sunday, with the enthusiasm of the newcomers and the determination of the old guard. There was particular interest in seeing Mongolian Urantsetseg Munkhbat who was tipped as the woman to beat in Tbilisi. Following on from her third place in Doha, during the World Judo Masters and her title in Tashkent two weeks ago, the Mongolian, world champion in 2013 and still very competitive, qualified once again for the final of a World Judo Tour event. This secured her a 39th medal on the circuit, not counting her three world medals.

Spanish rivalry and the underdog

We also expected the confrontation between the two Spaniards, Laura Martinez Abelenda and Julia Figueroa, while they still race towards an Olympic selection. It was Julia Figueroa who seemed to gain the upper hand over her compatriot on the other side of the draw, as she qualified for the semi-final, but her road to the podium was suddenly blocked when she was defeated by the Italian Francesca Milani, who was not among the seeds when warming up at the beginning of the day. With no record on the World Judo Tour so far, Milani can certainly be proud of an amazing competition day.

Unsurprisingly Urantsetseg Munkhbat won the gold medal but Milani certainly gave it her all with courage and determination. The seasoned Mongolian was too powerful for her young opponent and after several attempts on the floor, finally concluded with an immobilisation that was awarded ippon, just one second before the end of the match.

Laura Martinez Abelenda and Julia Figueroa thus eventually met for the bronze medal. Knowing one another perfectly, it took more than 2 minutes and 40 seconds for Figueroa to finally score with a beautiful o-uchi-gari, to reinforce her lead over her teammate for the Olympic qualification.


MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL) vs. MILANI, Francesca (ITA)

Bronze Medal Contests


COSTA, Catarina (POR) vs. STANGAR, Marusa (SLO)

Final Results

1. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)

2. MILANI, Francesca (ITA)

3. FIGUEROA, Julia (ESP)

3. STANGAR, Marusa (SLO)

5. COSTA, Catarina (POR)


7. PETIT, Lois (BEL)

7. UNGUREANU, Monica (ROU)

Italy versus Britain in under-52kg heat

Silver medallist at the last Olympic Games, Italian judoka Odette Giuffrida, also winner of the 2020 European Championships, 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 by chance.

Almost ten minutes were necessary for Odette Giuffrida to stop Chelsie Giles from winning her second grand slam gold medal in a row, but that was close as neither of the two champions was 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 showed they are getting ready for the Olympic rendezvous this summer and since the Italian already did it five years ago in Rio, anything is possible.


GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA) vs. GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

Bronze Medal Contests

RAMOS, Joana (POR) vs. PIMENTA, Larissa (BRA)


Final Results

1. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)

2. GILES, Chelsie (GBR)

3. PUPP, Reka (HUN)

3. RAMOS, Joana (POR)


5. PIMENTA, Larissa (BRA)

7. DELGADO, Angelica (USA)

7. VAN KREVEL, Naomi (NED)

-66kg: Georgian Judoka Surprises Everyone

In the -66kg category final we again found a Georgian athlete, Vazha Margvelashvili. This is not really a surprise since the bronze medallist of the last World Judo Masters was seeded number one in the competition. In the final, he faced the number 4 seed, Uzbek Sardor Nurrilaev, who climbed up one more level after his bronze medal in Tashkent two weeks ago.

It took only 20 seconds for Nurrilaev to score an impressive ippon after he had engaged an o-uchi-gari that went outside the fighting area, but in a brilliant change of direction, Nurrilaev transformed the backward momentum into a brilliant uchi-mata. Margvelashvili could only look at the referee with astonishment. The ippon was crystal clear and a good example of the fact that you should never relax until the referee actually says: ‘mate’.

Medal, flowers and cheques were presented by Mr Giorgi Atabegashvili, President of the Georgian Judo Federation and Mr Udo Quellmalz, IJF Refereeing Supervisor, Olympic and double World Champion



Bronze Medal Contests

NINIASHVILI, Bagrati (GEO) vs. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)

PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS) vs. VIERU, Denis (MDA)

Final Results

1. NURILLAEV, Sardor (UZB)


3. GANBOLD, Kherlen (MGL)

3. PULIAEV, Mikhail (RUS)


5. VIERU, Denis (MDA)


7. TILOVOV, Mukhriddin (UZB)

-57kg: GJAKOVA Shows Strength to Win Gold

A Georgian athlete in the final illustrated once again the rise of local female competitors. Eteri Liparteliani is not a complete unknown however, having been junior world champion in 2019. She continues to assert herself on the World Judo Tour and won a beautiful bronze medal in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago. We must also remember that in the semi-final she eliminated the reigning world champion, the Canadian Christa Deguchi, who returned to competition at this grand slam. In the final, Liparteliani found Kosovan Nora Gjakova, another regular on the international circuit.

The least we can say is that both women put an incredible amount of energy and power into the final and into controlling the upper part of the body. In that game, Gjakova came out on top. After scoring a waza-ari, she controlled the rest of the match to win the gold. It is now certain that it is not the last time that we will see LIPARTELIANI at that level of competition.

Medal, flowers and cheques were presented by Dr Lisa Allan, Events Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Shengeli Pitskhelauri, World Bronze Medallist & European medallist



Bronze Medal Contests


PERISIC, Marica (SRB) vs. DEGUCHI, Christa (CAN)

Final Results

1. GJAKOVA, Nora (KOS)


3. DEGUCHI, Christa (CAN)


5. KAJZER, Kaja (SLO)

5. PERISIC, Marica (SRB)

7. KONKINA, Anastasiia (RUS)

7. NASCIMENTO, Ketelyn (BRA)

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Matic delivers Croatia a first ever World Championship gold

By Richard Good
 & International Judo Federation

Matic delivers Croatia a first ever World Championship gold

No Croatian had ever won a Judo World Championships gold medal, but Barbara Matic put that right in the -70kg contest on day five of the year’s tournament in Budapest.

Matic put in some unstoppable judo to reach the final. There she faced the Japanese veteran Ono Yoko, who herself looked in fine form with her uchi-mata throws and notorious skills on the ground.

A tense contest for gold

The Croatian won a tense contest by holding onto a waza-ari advantage, taking the title ten years after she was crowned Junior World Champion.

Husain Al Musallam, President of the International Swimming Federation, presented the medals.

“I was like, you already have a world medal, you already did a great job,” Matic said afterwards. “Now all you can do is just bring your heart to the tatami and fight to the end, and it was like that.”

A final between two attacking powerhouses

Reigning champion and world number one Nikoloz Sherazadishvili from Spain was the strong favourite in the -90kg contest, and he showed why with a fantastic uchi-mata to eliminate Nagasawa Kenta of Japan en route to the final.

Uzbekistan’s Davlat Bobonov would face him for gold, after showing that he too was a big thrower, as well as defeating home favourite Krisztian Toth in the semis.

The final between two attacking powerhouses didn’t disappoint; an o-uchi-gari for ippon sealing the contest for Sherazadishvili.

Tunde Szabo, State Secretary for Sport for Hungary, awarded the medals.

“Every time we need to improve, this is my mindset,” explained Sherazadishvili afterwards. “That I need to improve, also that I win but I want to be better and to improve more things. But I am in good shape, this is why I came here.”

The category also saw a bronze medal for Sweden’s Marcus Nyman, who defeated Nagasawa to secure his first-ever World Championship medal.

Local hero Toth took the other bronze. The scenes of jubilation involving him and his family were the highlight of the day: he’d missed out on a medal in Budapest back in 2017.

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Phil Foden happy to be called the ‘Stockport Gazza’ after pre-Euros haircut

Phil Foden has said he does not mind being called the “Stockport Gazza” after inviting comparisons to the former England midfielder by dying his hair blond.

Foden is one of the most exciting youngsters in England’s squad and he has done nothing to quell the hype by recreating Paul Gascoigne’s bleached look from Euro 96. The Manchester City midfielder posted a picture of his new haircut on Instagram on Tuesday, captioning it “Euro 96 vibes”, and he wants to emulate Gascoigne on the pitch at Euro 2020.

“I’ve had the same haircut for ages now so I thought I would try something new and woke up this morning with a lot of comparisons to Gazza and Eminem,” the 21-year-old said. “It was my own thing and people have turned it into something else.

“I remember watching highlights on the TV of Gazza – unbelievable player. The nation knows what he means for the country and what he did. I wouldn’t be too bad if I try to bring a bit of Gazza on the pitch.”

Foden was not born when Gascoigne helped England to reach the last four of Euro 96 but he understands the significance of the “Stockport Gazza” nickname. “I don’t mind that at all,” he said. “He’s a great player.”

Foden’s teammates are not planning to copy his haircut. “Not too many are as brave as me,” he said. “They like their hairstyles as they are.”

Foden thanked Gareth Southgate for giving him a second chance after he was sent home from international duty with Mason Greenwood last September. The young duo breached coronavirus protocols by inviting two women to the team hotel in Reykjavik after England’s win over Iceland in the Nations League.

“I made a massive mistake,” Foden said. “I was young. Gareth told me if I keep doing well, keep performing well, I should get another opportunity. So I had to work really hard for that. Not many managers would give you another opportunity so I have to thank Gareth a lot for giving me another opportunity.”

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Florence Griffith Joyner’s trailblazing fashion sprints to the front with film

The news that Tiffany Haddish will produce and star in a film about Florence Griffith Joyner has renewed attention on the Olympic champion’s brilliant if controversial career – and shone new light on her trailblazing fashion.

In the late 1980s, when the sprinter shot to fame, no one looked like her. “Flo-Jo” competed in outfits that were part-rock star, part-cartoon crusader, a unique look to which Beyoncé and Serena Williams have recently paid tribute.

Announcing her project, Haddish said she was “looking forward to telling Flo-Jo’s story the way it should be told. My goal with this film is making sure that younger generations know my ‘she-ro’ Flo-Jo, the fastest woman in the world to this day, existed.”

Griffith Joyner was the first American woman to win four medals in track and field at a single Olympic Games, in Seoul in 1988. However, since her death 10 years later, aged 38, her sporting legacy has been muddied by allegations of doping – despite the fact she never tested positive and was subjected, according to the chair of the International Olympic Committee’s medical commission, to “all possible and imaginable analyses”.

Away from the track, Griffith Joyner’s style made her a pop culture phenomenon. Running in one-legged spandex bodysuits, shiny leggings, full hair weaves and s 6.5in painted nails, she brought MTV zest to the track.

Florence Griffith Joyner poses in Los Angeles on 5 April 1988.
Florence Griffith Joyner poses in Los Angeles on 5 April 1988. Photograph: Tony Duffy/Getty Images

“No male athlete [has] brought glamour and individuality to his sport as well as being at the top of his sport,” Donna Lopiano, president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, said at the time. “She is a combination of Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan.”

Like those NBA stars, Griffith Joyner blurred lines between sportswear and the catwalk. She could knit, crochet and manicure, skills which helped create her looks.

“She was designing uniforms in high school and clearly understood how one presented themselves to the world determined how they were received by audiences,” says Darnell-Jamal Lisby, a fashion historian.

“She was keen on connecting her passion for the sport through her style, while also understanding that she was one of the only black women on that level who also served as a role model for future generations.”

That came to pass. In February, Serena Williams paid tribute at the Australian Open with a hot pink, orange and black one-legged bodysuit. In 2018, Beyoncé dressed as Flo-Jo for Halloween, in a version of her violet unitard.

The “one legger”, as Flo-Jo called it, was created accidentally.

“It was a two-legged outfit and I was going to make another style [but] I was cutting one leg off and I liked that look,” she told Jet magazine.

“Some people think that one-legged outfits are more bare than having both legs out …I think it was shocking. People say it’s too much for sports. They figure people can’t run fast wearing that.”

She also said she was “here to say you can wear anything you want if you’re ready to go when the guns go off. You’re going to run fast regardless. Makeup is not going to stop you. The outfit is not going to stop you.”

Her style remains influential. In the case of Beyoncé, Lisby said, “the idea of presenting oneself in this ‘superhero-like’ depiction is very integral to her artistry, as it was Joyner’s. Showing black women in such powerful perspectives was and still is key in motivating members of the black community and women across the world.”

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