Day 2 in Antalya saw the Turkish youth excitedly attend an IJF World Tour event, filling the Antalya Spor Salonu and waving flags for their home country as they saw athletes step out onto the massive stage of a Grand Slam.
At under 63 kg, 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist Ketleyn Quadros proved after 15 years she is still amongst the best in her category. A buzzer beater dropping technique scored Ippon with less than a second to go.
She was utterly thrilled, and celebrated with all the children in attendance.
Mr Moshe Ponte, Israeli Judo Association President, awarded the medals.
At under 73 kg, Italy’s Manuel Lombardo blasted through the preliminaries, before taking a win over the current World Champion.
He was awarded his medals by Mr Mohammed Meridja, IJF Director of Education and Coaching.
At under 70 kg, another World Champion was hoping for a better outcome, but she was up against a strong Japanese opponent, Niizoe Saki.
A solid makikomi technique put the Japanese on top of the podium.
She was awarded her medal by Mr Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sport Director.
“Barbara Matic is a very strong opponent, and it was a difficult battle. I was really happy to fight her,” said Niizoe.
Two former World Champions locked horns at under 81 kg, Matthias Casse and Saeid Mollaei. Reversing a pin on the ground, Casse held down Mollaei, taking the last World Tour Gold available before the World Championships – will he regain his title in Doha?
A great moment of respect between two great athletes.
IJF Director General, Mr Vlad Marinescu was on hand to award the medals.
“I benefited a lot from my defeat in Paris here. And I will definitely take this to the World Championships as well. It was good to lose again one time, to now come back stronger definitely,” said Casse.
With so many young Judoka supporting their home team, the local athletes couldn’t help but display some of the most exciting Judo we saw today. A wonderful array of attacks filled the stadium with cheers and delight. The heavyweights are tomorrow, not a day to miss.