5 May 2024


Dushanbe Grand Prix 2024


Though judo legend, Teddy RINER (FRA) is gracious in his success, tipping his hat to his strong opponents, there is no denying that on the third day of Dushanbe Grand Slam, the Frenchman was unstoppable.

A clean sweep of ippon wins against; Munir ERTUG (TUR), Losseni KONE (GER), Denis BATCHAEV (AIN) and finally, the home favourite and top seed, Temur RAKHIMOV (TJK), were simply incredible and was a stark reminder of the early days of Riner. At 35 years old, the double Olympic Champion and 10-time World Champion is determined to add a third Olympic gold to his collection in Paris this year, and after not fulfilling his remit in Tokyo, has worked especially hard in this cycle and it shows.

Teddy RINER (FRA) on top form ahead of the Olympic Games in Paris. © Tamara Kulumbegashvili

Anna-Maria WAGNER (GER) considered what it would mean not to compete in the Dushanbe Grand Slam following her European Championships performance in Zagreb last week, but it was a good job the top seed decided to show up, as her national rival, Alina BOEHM, came for her in the final of the -78kg category. Wagner was already slightly ahead, and with the silver medal in Zagreb, widened the gap further, but she clearly didn’t want to risk all the hard work and have Boehm come back stronger. After a difficult gold medal contest, Wagner became the victor by shidos, and remains the front runner for Paris.

Anna-Maria WAGNER (GER) © Emanuele Di Feliciantonio

As for the -90kg category, the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner, Mansur LORSANOV (AIN) managed to add another gold to his collection at this level, sending him soaring in the world ranking list. His exposure may not have been so great given the competition among the neutral athletes and the high level of competitors that are there in abundance, but with multiple continental championship medals as cadet, junior and U23, he had already proven his abilities could carry him further. Today, he confirmed just that.

In the +78kg category, Asya TAVANO (ITA) continued the trend for the women on the final day, the top seed taking the top spot on the podium. It was a tough final for the Italian athlete, scoring an early waza ari against Kinga WOLSZCZAK (POL), and despite her great contest management, the score was evened with less than a minute left on the clock. The pressure was on for Tavano not to lose this now, and applied shime waza before regular time counted her down, winning her first Grand Slam title.

Gennaro PIRELLI (ITA) © Tamara Kulumbegashvili

Italy were collecting on the final day, Gennaro PIRELLI also taking the gold medal in the -100kg category. The very tactical competitor was causing many issues for his opponents today, and eventually put a stop to the Swiss teams’ gold medal haul, defeating Daniel EICH in the final as Eich ceded his third shido. His most compelling contest was the semi final against Dzhafar KOSTOEV (UAE), favouring his seoi nage repertoire twice during the contest to secure his final place. In 2022, Pirelli stunned the crowds in Tokyo to win the Grand Slam event, and since went a little quiet on the tour, however it seems that he has found his rhythm again, winning bronze in the Senior European Championships and now claiming his second Grand Slam gold within a week. Nothing short of impressive.


Author: Thea Cowen