Judo returned to Mongolia when Ulaanbaatar hosted its first ever Grand Slam tournament. On the first day of the competition, both Mongolia and Japan shared two gold medals each.
In the women’s 48kg program, Japan claimed its first tournament gold medal as reigning world champion Natsumi Tsunoda continued her winning streak by defeating local favorite Ganbaatar Narantsetseg.
IJF Vice President and EJU President Dr. Laszlo Toth was present at the presentation of the medals.
In the 60kg category, Japan had more gold as Ryuju Nagayama was on a roll all day. In the final, he defeated Olympic silver medalist Yang Yong Wei with his usual attacking judo style.
He was awarded his medals by the Director General of the World Martial Arts Committee, Dr. Sung-Min Kang.
In the category up to 52 kg, Uzbek Diyora Keldiyorova brilliantly demonstrated judo during the day and won her second Grand Slam gold.
She was awarded medals by the Governor of Bulgan Province, Mr. Ariun-Erdene Batbayar.
It was the Mongolian final in the 66 kg category, and both fighters put on a show for an enthusiastic audience. It was Erhembayar Battogtokh who came out victorious, having beaten his countryman Sod-Erdene Gundzhinlham.
The medals were presented by the Chairman of the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports of Mongolia, Jargalsaikhan Dorjsuren.
Battogtokh stated that the future of this sport was in the first place for him: “I am very happy, because now many children are starting judo, we are developing judo in Mongolia, and today there were many, many children in the crowd, and it was so great »
Mongolia was more fun as the last gold medal of the day went to Enkhriilen Lhagwatogoo in the women’s 57kg category.
Member of the IJF Executive Committee Ms. Erdenet-Od Khishigbat awarded her a gold medal.
“Every cheer, every applause seemed to give me a huge boost of energy,” said Lhagwatogu. “It was a completely new feeling because it was a Grand Slam at home, a Grand Slam in Ulaanbaatar!”
With the start of qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, the local team made sure that excited fans could cheer for them during the first day of the Grand Slam tournament. Their unorthodox judo style combined with their strength and agility make Mongolia a country to watch closely in this new Olympic cycle.