It was Kim Min-Jong who won the last Portuguese Grand Prix gold medal. After an uchi-mata attempt, he changed direction to fall under his opponent’s center of gravity with a surprising kata-guruma for ippon against Yuta Nakamura of Japan.
The Japanese team was quite discreet during the weekend and until the last, none of its athletes reached the final. Nakamura finally had the opportunity to play the Japanese anthem, as he faced Min-Jong Kim (KOR), bronze medalist at the 2019 World Championships.
Mbagnick Ndiaye (SEN) proudly represented the African continent in the final block of the men’s heavyweight division, facing Martti Puumalainen (FIN), bronze medalist in Zagreb last year. Leaving the Finn no chance, Ndiaye executed a perfect osoto-otoshi for a clear ippon and a first medal in a grand prix for the Senegalese giant.
Mbagnick Ndiaye: “There are 2 things to explain this medal: hard work with my coaches and the fact that I have been competing with the best for a long time. Now I know I can do better so I hope it’s not the end but it’s just the beginning.”
Christian Konoval (USA) is only 18 years old and he has already reached a bronze medal match in a grand prix, against Richard Sipocz (HUN), silver medalist at the last world junior championships. After a long observation lap, Richard Sipocz scored by ippon to win that bronze medal.
The final gold of the day put Korea at the top of the IJF World Tour medal table for this year with four golds and 9 medals overall, followed by the Netherlands.
Judo in 2022 was born on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. After three days of competition in Portugal, we are already looking forward to the Paris Grand Slam in a week.