Sweden's big man Marcus Nyman won his third Grand Slam gold in Tbilisi. The man who quite twice in his career is still among the best athletes with his specialty his groundwork. Ten years ago in Düsseldorf he won his first IJF World Judo Tour gold medal, more than a decade later he can still strike. Although the average age of the medallist in Tbilisi was high he was the oldest man to win gold.
Nicholas Mungai was not among the top 4 favourites of the competition yet, not like his female compatriots, Francesca Milani (Silver medal at U48kg) and Odette Giuffrida (Gold medal at -52kg). He produced solid judo throughout the day, allowing him to reach the final of the -90kg weight category. In front of him, we found a judoka with two grand slam victories in their kit bag, the Swede Marcus Nyman.
Nyman is taller than Mungai and that obviously disturbed the Italian, who had some difficulties to get close to Nyman, but what is maybe even more dangerous with the Swede is his skill in ne-waza. Once again Nyman proved to be very efficient on the floor and after a really good sequence caught Mungai with a strong immobilisation for ippon and a third victory in a grand slam.
With Maria Portela, Urantsetseg Munkhbat and Nyman three athletes over 30 captured gold this weekend. Worth while to mention was the bronze medal for 39-year old Joana Ramos. Some warriors can't be broken.
For the first bronze medal match, Davlat Bobonov (UZB), second in Tashkent two weeks ago and Li Kochman (ISR), without reference this season, faced each other. Kochman started by attacking but was penalised twice for kumi-kata infringements, forcing him to take risks and Bobonov, who looked a little tired, still found the necessary energy to propel Kochman in the rafters of the venue with a majestic ura-nage, for ippon.
The work of Ilias Iliadis, head coach of Uzbekistan, is starting to bear fruit and Uzbek athletes can be found more and more often in the final blocks of World Judo Tour events. This was again the case for the second Uzbek athlete, Shermukhammad JANDREEV, pitted against Mongolian Gantulga Altanbagana for a place on the podium. During most of the match Gantulga seemed quite passive, but he was obviously looking for the right moment to apply his preferred technique, uchi-mata and he did it perfectly, with superb execution and perfect control of the sleeve to score ippon.