23 March 2024


Tbilisi Grand Slam 2024


It was another great day in the Tbilisi Grand Slam for team Georgia, with their first ever Olympic, World and European Champion, Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI, going all the way to the final of the -73kg category, defeating Tohar BUTBUL (ISR) to get there. With the Olympic Palace behind him, he used the power of his supporters, the sheer determination to succeed written across his face. Shavdatuashvili will go on to meet the Hashimoto slayer, Karen GALSTIAN (AIN) for the gold medal.

There was almost further success for a former Georgian judoka, Nugzari TATALASHVILI (UAE), but Sharofiddin BOLTABOEV (UZB) anticipated an o uchi gari attempt and countered with te waza for the win. On the other side of the draw, Sagi MUKI (ISR) looked strong, alas Israel stumbled at the final hurdle again, this time to Timur ARBUZOV (AIN), who displayed some stunning ne waza skills to ensure he was the one fighting for gold.

Sharofiddin BOLTABOEV (UZB) © Tamara Kulumbegashvili

As for the -63kg women, it could very well be a battle of ne waza for the finalists, both slick on the ground and secured their final positions with submissions.

Angelika SZYMANSKA (POL) first took the final place, defeating Laura FAZLIU (KOS), following an attack from the European silver medallist, Szymanska immediately applied the shime waza, but moved to secure the osae komi instead. As Fazliu attempted an escape, the strangle went on almost instantly. Following suit, top seed Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD (CAN) worked hard on the ground to secure her opponent, TANG Jing (CHN), before working the arm out for juji gatame.

Barbara MATIC (CRO) © Tamara Kulumbegashvili

Barbara MATIC (CRO) is continuing her top form and scored quickly with a drop seoi nage against Giovanna SCOCCIMARRO (GER), though she was unable to score again, the German athlete taking her the full four minutes. On the other side of the draw, Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) was making her comeback following a gold in the Tokyo Grand Slam and almost three months off the IJF World Judo Tour. In her semi final, she faced difficult opponent Aoife COUGHLIN (AUS), who forced the Dutch athlete to pick up two shidos, however just before time ran out, Van Dijke scored waza ari with a drop morote seoi nage to take the place against Matic.


Author: Thea Cowen