30 March 2024


Antalya Grand Slam 2024


There were some wonderful surprises on the second day of the Antalya Grand Slam 2024 with much more still to come in the final block.

For Portugal, they can forecast great success in their future with young talent, Tais PINA in the -70kg category, silver medallist in the Anadia Junior European Cup last week. Currently ranked #50 in the world, the 19 year-old already made an impact during the Paris Grand Slam taking a fifth place, but today she soared in to a guaranteed medal position, defeating both Kim POLLING (NED) and Aoife COUGHLAN (AUS) for her place in the final, concluding her match up with Coughlan with an immovable osaekomi. She still has one final hurdle however, Olympic silver medallist Michaela POLLERES (AUT).

Michaela POLLERES (AUT) © Tamara Kulumbegashvili

It was a straight forward semi final for Polleres against Madina TAIMAZOVA (AIN), their previous head to heads were way back in 2017 when Olympic bronze medallist Taimazova came out on top, but Polleres was simply superior today. A huge ura nage from the Austrian athlete secured the waza ari score, but both athletes picked up two shidos and in the final seconds, third was issued. The pair stood opposite one another as the commission deliberated, was it a step out from Polleres or a push by Taimazova? In the end, they concluded the latter.

Another athlete on the rise is Adil OSMANOV (MDA). After claiming his Grand Prix gold in Austria, he has exceeded expectation to find his way to the -73kg final, and wasted little time in his semi final against Abubakr SHEROV (TJK), scoring ippon with a tight o soto gari after only 45 seconds. Before this, he took out the medal hope for Türkiye; Bilal CILOGLU, who has unfortunately missed his opportunity to compete in this event in previous years due to injury. There was however, another hope for the hosts; Umalt DEMIREL who scored early in his semi final against Rashid MAMMADALIYEV (AZE), but they proceeded to pick up shidos. Mammadaliyev caught up with a waza ari of his own and forced a third and final penalty on Demirel.

We were set on an all-Asian battle on one half of the -63kg draw; two time world finalist and Tokyo Grand Slam winner TAKAICHI Miku (JPN) took on KIM Jisu (KOR). The latter took bronze in Tbilisi last week, but her win today against Takaichi was a huge moment for the 23 year-old, a seoi nage claimed her final place against Dali LILUASHVILI (AIN).

As in the -63kg category, Europe will be unable to claim the gold in the -81kg category today, as it will be a head to head between the #2 and #4 seeds, Canada and Japan. Francois GAUTHIER DRAPEAU (CAN) succeeded in his semi final against Antonio ESPOSITO (ITA) with a huge morote seoi nage, and looks to be on better form that his final opponent; Olympic Champion NAGASE Takanori (JPN). Despite some beautiful judo, it has been a tough day for Nagase, meandering through his side of the draw and only managing to defeat David KARAPETYAN (AIN) by shidos in the semi final.


Author: Thea Cowen