21 June 2023


Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam 2023


Right off the back of the Grand Slam in Astana, the IJF World Tour continues in Asia as it lands in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The three day event will take place between the 23rd and 25th of June, with the draw coming up tomorrow at 14:00 local time, so if you’re wanting to see this live, it’ll be an early rise for European spectators.

The Steppe Arena will host 345 athletes from 44 nations, some of which the toughest contenders on the tour. For the lightweight women we have the likes of Julia FIGUEROA (ESP) returning to competition, Amandine BUCHARD (FRA), Reka PUPP (HUN) and Diyora KELDIYOROVA (UZB), the two latter having done some serious preparation in the OTC in Poreč last week. As for -57kg, the top three seeds aren’t representing Europe but Christ DEGUCHI (CAN), Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN) and HUH Mimi (KOR) will be a tough act to follow, and defeat for that matter, but this experience for the younger athletes including Anastasija SOKIRJANSKA (LAT) and Pihla SALONEN (FIN) will be invaluable.

David GARCIA TORNE (ESP) © Gabriela Sabau

Asia have taken the top five seeded positions in the -60kg category, with Romain VALADIER PICARD (FRA) first in line for the European representation, in fact, he will be the only one in the seeding, with Rodrigo Costa LOPES (POR) in at number 10. As for -66kg, though we have Mongolia’s top two and AN Baul (KOR) at the top of the list, Spain’s David GARCIA TORNE jumps out as a heavy hitter. Garcia has made a name for himself on the tour after a blinding gold win in Astana.

Israel have come in with a double assault in the -63kg category with Gili SHARIR and Inbal SHEMESH in the top four seeds, but they have the challenge of world silver medallist, Andreja LESKI (SLO) as well as bronze medallist OZBAS Szofi (HUN). Elisavet TELTSIDOU (GRE) secured her third grand slam gold in Astana, defeating multiple world and Olympic medallist, Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) in the final. The Greek -70kg superstar will be looking to carry the momentum to Mongolia, climbing three places in the world ranking to number #6, there is a chance of moving to #5 depending on Croatia’s Lara CVJETKO’s performance as the top seed.

Elisavet TELTSIDOU (GRE) © Gabriela Sabau

In the -81kg category, Matthias CASSE (BEL) is top of the seeding, followed by another Olympic medallist, Shamil BORCHASHVILI (AUT), with brother Wachid following not so far behind. Some are still climbing and hoping to qualify for the IJF Masters including Portuguese duo, Joao FERNANDO and Anri EGUTIDZE. As always the -90kg category is littered with top names including Krisztian TOTH (HUN), Nemanja MAJDOV (SRB) and 2022 IJF Masters winner, Alexei MATHIEU (FRA).

Current world champion, Inbar LANIR (ISR) is leading the way in -78kg, followed closely by German duo, Anna-Maria WAGNER and Alina BOEHM, then Astana silver medallist, Patricia SAMPAIO (POR) who is really chasing the top group now, almost in the top ten. As for the +78kg category, Israel have another leading lady with Raz HERSHKO in her first event since the world championships which didn’t quite meet her expectations, but there is a good chance we will see her back on her golden streak.

the -100kg category is looking arguably the toughest with the ranking of these stars, Zelym KOTSOIEV (AZE) leading, followed by Canada’s Kyle REYES, current world champion, Arman ADAMIAN (AIN) and then favourites, Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) and one athlete who we’ve been missing for a while, Jorge FONSECA (POR). Following recent turn of events, we will see the second world champion in the +100kg category, Inal TASOEV (AIN) back on the tatami and looking a bit further down the seeding, Georgia’s Saba INANEISHVILI will look to improve on last weeks 5th place.


Author: Thea Cowen