Gold Medal in the Judo Grand Slam
Sami Chouchi has won his first gold medal at a Grand Slam. Meanwhile, Gabriella Willems and Toma Nikiforov won bronze at the world elite Tbilisi tournament.
Following his bronze medal victory less than a month ago in Tashkent, Sami Chouchi has passed another milestone by beating Austrian Shamil Borchashvili in the final at the Tbilisi major tournament. It proved quite the emotional battle! After only 12 seconds, all seemed lost as the referee called an ippon that would have signalled an immediate defeat for the Belgian. Thankfully, video assistance would go on to overturn the decision. Eventually, by the end of this bitter fight, which had even required a medical intervention, the Belgian number two emerged victorious in the men's half-middleweight (-81kg) category.
After that, Gabriella Willems reached the podium after beating the young Portuguese Crisóstomo. The Liège judoka trapped her opponent in an arm lock on the floor to win the bronze medal in the women's middleweight (-70kg) category.
As for Toma Nikiforov, he overcame Swede Dvärby in a very evenly contested bout, taking third place in the men's half-heavyweight (-100kg) category, further cementing his status as one of its elites. This follows his gold at the previous Grand Slam in Tashkent.
With these results, hopes of qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are becoming more achievable for at least five Belgian judokas.