The current world champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili brilliantly performed in front of his fans in the weight category up to 73 kg on the second day of the Grand Slam tournament in Tbilisi in Georgia.
His rival from Japan equalized with seconds left. However, the 2012 Olympic champion and local hero dug deep in front of his home crowd. The 30-year-old athlete won the victory with a brilliant throw, throwing the audience into a frenzy.
Demonstrating excellent sportsmanship, the Georgian legend congratulated the opponent. He became the world champion in the 73 kg weight category in Budapest in 2021.
Awarded a medal by the President of the Georgian Judo Federation Giorgi Atabegashvili.
Of course, every achievement means so much to me. The Olympics, the World Judo Championship, every final is important,” said Shavdatuashvili, who won four medals at the European Championships in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2020.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be on the podium, to see your hard work pay off, I always fight to win, and it’s incredible to do it at home,” he added.
In the category up to 63 kg, the young Israeli Inbal Shemesh had an unforgettable day. After winning the silver medal at the 2019 Tel Aviv Grand Prix, she used the same tani-otoshi technique on each of her opponents to reach her first Grand Slam final.
There she met experienced Brazilian Ketelin Cuadros, the first Brazilian woman to win an Olympic medal in an individual sport. Shemesh was overcome with emotion as she demanded the gold.
International Judo Federation Events Director Dr. Lisa Allan was present at the award ceremony.
“In fact, I really love this audience. I think they really support me because they like the ura-nage style and the convergence. So, of course, I am very pleased to listen to them,” said Inbal Shemesh.
Meanwhile, Sanne Van Dijke took gold in the 70kg category with a tactical victory over Spaniard Ai Tsunoda Rustan.
The 26-year-old, who was a European Gold Medalist in 2017 and 2021, was awarded the medal by the Director of Education and Coaching of the International Judo Federation, Mr. Mohammed Merijja.
In the 81kg weight class, Lee Junhwan shattered Georgian hopes of a second gold by defeating fan favorite Tato Grigalashvili with a fantastic backhand.
His debut on the Judo World Tour was certainly unforgettable. The medals were presented by IJF Chief Judging Director Florin Daniel Lasko.
Every year, the Georgian national team performs in full force, demonstrating the best of its proud people.
The team took home two more bronze medals, giving local fans even more reason to cheer.
The young judoka stood out especially, giving great hopes for the upcoming race in Paris.