So quickly it arrived, the third and final session of the Hungary Grand Slam 2022.
The opening contest was between the Tbilisi Grand Slam gold medallist, Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) and he wasted no time in using some swift ashi waza to end his bronze medal contest with Hungary’s NERPEL Gergely. It definitely felt like he returned to the tatami with something to prove following a very close semi final against MURAO Sanshiro (JPN).
Murao went on to face the first of the Italian finalists, Christian PARLATI. It was an extreme right versus left situation and the pair went in to grip exchanges for the first half of the contest. Murao picked up two shidos before the last minute and Parlati one. The Italian was waiting for an opportunity to execute his low o uchi gari. This final went in to golden score as both continued their bid for their key techniques, but Parlati caught up on the shido collection instead of finding a score and a third was issued. It was a carefully and tactically fought contest by both but Murao came out on top.
The two medals for Europe came in the final from Inbar LANIR (ISR) and Alice BELLANDI (ITA). Right off the bat the pair began a ferocious battle, but of the two, Bellandi managed to compose herself and gain the control of the contest, winning on shidos so ultimately the gold medal went to the Italian who defeated the current Olympic champion HAMADA Shori (JPN) in the early rounds. It has been a terrific year for the young Italian who dominated as a junior but struggled in her transition to senior in the -70kg category. Though she felt the strain in the run up to the last Olympic Games, she still managed to qualify and take a seventh place but now she has stepped up to the -78kg category, she feels more at home and strong enough to take on the top players.
Up next was the -100kg category. Daniel EICH (SUI) has been on an upwards trajectory and this is his best result in a grand slam to date. Each came to take on the -90kg double world champion, Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP). The pair weighed each other up on the grips and in the closing seconds, Eich almost scored with a counter, a big pick up which caught the Spaniard off guard and was lucky to escape. It took till 1.37 in golden score, Sherazadishvili took a grip that looked to go for a soto makikomi but felt the danger and hooked in for o uchi gari, then changed direction, again, throwing his attacking leg behind Eich and pulling him to the side.
The home crowd became very loud as their representative, VEG Zsombor entered the arena, facing Mathias MADSEN (DEN). They didn’t have time to cheer for long as in the first minute, Veg executed a perfect uchi mata to take the second bronze medal.
Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) paced in next for the final of the -100kg category against IIDA Kentaro (JPN). The pair have gone head to head four times and have a 3:1 record in favour of Iida, their previous contest in this very arena in 2021 for the world championships is when the Georgian took the win. Unfortunately for Liparteliani, Iida managed to make the record 4:1 with a waza ari scoring uchi mata stemming from an o soto gari.
In the +78kg category, Raz HERSHKO took on XU Shiyan (CHN) for the bronze and used her speed to contain the contest, always first on the attacks and not allowing her opponent to the opportunity. It was tactically played which can often be the case for Hershko as she is one of the smaller in this category and she used a perfect strategy to take home the medal and continue her impressive achievement, medalling at every competition in 2022, five in total.
Gela ZAALISHVILI (GEO) didnt have an answer for Teddy RINER in the +100kg semi final so instead found himself competing for bronze against Magomedomar MAGOMEDOMAROV (UAE) instead. Both had similar styles and it was a question of timing to decide who would take the medal, and in the end it went to Magomedomarov as the Georgian could control the counter and rolled off the side, allowing the United Arab Emirates representative to continue his success in osaekomi. The second bronze medal contest was between Martti PUUMALAINEN (FIN) and BAKHTIYOROV Shokhruh (UZB), for the Finnish athlete, regardless of whether he took the medal or not, this would be his best grand slam result. Puumalainen came close to a win but a second waza ari was cancelled and his Uzbek opponent came back with a vengeance to steal the medal.
Finally, the last contest of the day and probably the most anticipated was Riner against Jelle SNIPPE (NED). Snippe had seen out the number one seed Rafael SILVA (BRA) and dominated his contests against Johannes FREY (GER) and Bakhtiyorov to get to the final. However Riner was in need of a grand slam gold following a disappointment in Paris in 2020 and his last gold in 2019 , aside from the Olympics and Masters of course. The Frenchman did not let the contest last more than a minute and he was celebrated by a huge fan base in the crowd, his campaign for the 2024 Olympic has begun.
-90kg Medallists 🥇MURAO Sanshiro 🇯🇵 🥈PARLATI Christian 🇮🇹 🥉GVINIASHVILI Beka 🇬🇪 🥉SILVA MORALES Ivan Felipe 🇨🇺
-78kg Medallists 🥇BELLANDI Alice 🇮🇹 🥈LANIR Inbar 🇮🇱 🥉AGUIAR Mayra 🇧🇷 🥉HAMADA Shori 🇯🇵
-100kg Medallists 🥇IIDA Kentaro 🇯🇵 🥈LIPARTELIANI Varlam 🇬🇪 🥉SHERAZADISHVILI Nikoloz 🇪🇸 🥉VEG Zsombor 🇭🇺
+78kg Medallists 🥇TOMITA Wakaba 🇯🇵 🥈ORTIS Idalys 🇨🇺 🥉HERSHKO Raz 🇮🇱 🥉SU Xin 🇨🇳
+100kg Medallists 🥇RINER Teddy 🇫🇷 🥈SNIPPE Jelle 🇳🇱 🥉MAGOMEDOMAROV Magomedomar 🇦🇪 🥉BAKHTIYOROV Shokhruh 🇺🇿
Author: Thea Cowen