23 June 2023


Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam 2023


On day one of the Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam in Mongolia, Europe managed to secure only one gold, though the draw was tough as most of the top seeded positions were occupied by some of Asia’s top athletes including NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) and YONDONPERENLEI Bashkuu (MGL) who ended on top of the podium in the -60kg and -66kg categories. In the -48kg category, current junior world champion YOSHIOKA Hikari (JPN) earned her first senior medal and Christa DEGUCHI defended her lead in the Canadian race by beating Jessica KLIMKAIT in the -57kg final for her seventh grand slam gold.

In the -52kg category however, a major step was taken by Israel’s Gefen PRIMO. Coming in to the tournament, Primo was one of the top four seeds, all of whom made it in to the semi finals; Diyora KELDIYOROVA (UZB), Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) and PUPP Reka (HUN).

Keldiyorova was the number one seed today but in only eleven seconds, Primo countered the Uzbek athlete and scored ippon, earning her place in the final against Buchard. History shows a clean record for the French Olympic medallist, but today Primo had a surprise for her with a sumi gaeshi variation scoring waza ari. This score and a great defence strategy gave Primo the win and of course the gold medal. In true Buchard style, she was gracious in defeat and happy to celebrate the success of opponent but also, friend.

Buchard settled for silver, as did her team mate Roman VALADIER PICARD in the -60kg category, who had a tremendous day, defeating LEE Harim (KOR) in the semi final.


Author: Thea Cowen