Despite a field of only eight fighters in the -57kg, there was action aplenty on the opening day of the Tashkent Grand Prix. Providing much of the action was Anastasia KNOKINA (RUS) who gave a convincing display with three ippons from her three contests. First to fall to the Russian was 17-year old Asian cadet champion Sanobar SULTANOVA (UZB), followed in the semifinal by Sevara NISHANBAYEVA (KAZ). This brought about a final with number one seed Manon DURBACH (LUX) whom Konkina had defeated at the beginning of the year at the European Open in Sofia.
There was no time-wasted settling-in, Konkina attacking quickly with an o uchi gari that almost brought Durbach down for a score. Durbach reacted well and in the following ne waza exchange, avoided Konkina’s attempt at applying juji gatame and almost catching the Russian with yoko shio gatame. If anything, Durbach was being a little cautious and collected a second penalty for stepping out. Sensing possibly the growing pressure, Durbach launched a less than threatening uchi mata attack that Konkina countered with left ko soto gake for waza ari. Not to be outdone, Durbach came back with her own left o uchi gari attack that had Konkina defending strongly. The seconds ticked away as Durbach sought to find a way through the Konkina defense. However, a right-sided uchi mata effort from Durbach ended up with her being countered for waza ari awazete ippon and the gold medal went to Konkina.
When asked about her forthcoming competitions Konkina answered, “My next international will be in Qingdao. But after that will I compete for my club, Yewara Neva, in the European Judo Club Championships. But I just want to say that our aim is to win and compete in the Golden League next year.”