One gold for Russia at Judo Grand Slam

The Russian Judo team only managed a single gold medal out of 14 available at the Moscow Grand Slam which took place this weekend, with the tournament being dominated by the founders of the sport – Japan.

The Moscow Grand Slam is one of four most prestigious judo tournaments in the world. Top athletes from over 40 countries gathered in the Russian capital to battle for a prize of $150,000.

The Russian team had a somewhat disappointing couple of days, winning only one gold medal in the over-100kg category.

Three-time world champion Aleksander Mikhaylin was up against 2006 European champion from Germany Andreas Toelzer. Their bout was the last of the tournament and Mikhaylin's gold was somewhat of a consolation to the Russian team.

“I really wanted to win here in Moscow and rehabilitate after taking only a bronze at the latest European championship. As for the rest of the team, well, I can't really speak for them. But I know that we all went through the same training process,” Aleksander Mikhaylin said.

Judo maestros Japan took an overall first place in the Grand Slam, winning six golds and two silver medals. One of those top spots went to 2004 Olympic champion Maki Tsukada in the women's over-78kg category.

The Japanese champion beat two Russian competitors on the way to the final, where she won against Tunisian Nihel Chikhrouhou.

Team Belarus also had a nice outing in Russia, taking an overall third place with one gold and two silver medals.

The under-81kg category final had two judokas from Belarus battling for the top honor, with the prize going to Sergei Shundzikov.

Japan also triumphed in the under-90kg category, but not without a touch of controversy.

Takashi Ono chose a questionable tactic on his way to the gold medal by hitting his opponents in the face at the very beginning of the semi final and in the final. The move, however, was not penalized and he went on to grab first place.

The next time the world’s top judokas will meet will be at the World championship in Rotterdam, Netherlands in August.

The Moscow competition is held once every two years and since 1987 team Japan has won on every occasion.