After two fantastic days of Judo in Mongolia, Day 3 of the inaugural Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam saw the whole judo world on tenterhooks for the heavyweights.
In front of a packed-out stadium, the final day saw the women rise to the occasion, showcasing incredible power and skill.
Among them was the under 78-kilogramme Japanese judoka and 2015 World Champion, Umeki Mami.
She took on Israel’s Inbar Lanir who has been making her mark in the category. But Umeki’s experience won out, with a powerful uchi-mata, winning her 9th World Judo Tour gold medal.
“My opponent in the final has a lot of momentum behind her at the moment. I decided to focus on a strong gripping tactic so that I could win the contest,” Umeki Mami, gold medalist in the -78kg category said.
Mami was awarded her medal by a Mongolian parliament MP Damdiny Tsogtbaatar.
Mongolian hopes dashed in the +78kg category
In the over 78 kilogramme category, local hopes rested on the ever-consistent Adiyasuren Amarsaikhan. The heavyweight Mongolian had the support of the crowd and her teammates and dominated throughout her fights to earn a spot in the final.
There she met one of the most dynamic fighters in the category, Raz Hershko of Israel.
Hershko used her well-known dropping attacks, which although did not score, opened up an opportunity to transition into groundwork. A strong pin ended hopes for a Mongolian gold at the heavyweights.
The medals were awarded by Mongolian MP Badmaanyambuugiin Bat-Erdene.
Korea’s Kim Hayun delivered a phenomenal ippon in the over 78kg bronze contest. After winning the Grand Prix in Portugal earlier this year, and taking bronze in Paris, she is surely one to watch in the category.
After the three days of competition, the IJF neutral banner topped the medals board with five gold medals, two silver and two bronze.
Japan tallied four gold, one silver and two bronze; Mongolia came third, with a total of two gold medals, four silver and five bronze.
The popularity of judo in Mongolia has grown immensely, largely due to their recent successes, and the young heavyweights were there to prove that the future is bright. Thank you, Ulaanbaatar, for hosting a great event and see you next year!