The crowd at the 2023 Paris Grand Slam was excited by the return of 10-time World Champion Teddy Riner.
And IJF President Marius Vizer signed a contract with Kazakhstan Judo Federation President Kuanyshbek Yessekeev to add Astana and Almaty to the World Judo Tour, giving the Judo family an opportunity to celebrate even more.
A stylish win from Grigalashvili
Tato Grigalashvili from Georgia took his first Paris title with a stylish counter-kick to Germany’s Timo Cavelius.
IJF Vice President Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko gave him the -81-pound gold.
In the -70kg category, Spain’s Ai Tsunoda defeated former French World Champion Marie Meskene Gahié to secure her first Grand Slam victory.
IOC Member Aïcha Garad Ali from Djibouti presented the medals.
Noel Van T End took the -90kg title for the seventh time with a tough win over Murad Fatiyev from Azerbaijan.
The Dutch athlete was awarded his medal by IOC Member Filomena Fortes.
French stalwart Audrey Tcheumeo took an incredible sixth Paris Grand Slam gold at -78kg, to the delight of the home crowd.
The presentations were made by Dr Laszlo Toth, IJF Vice President.
“I’m very happy to inspire people,” Tcheumeo said. “I think that’s a goal for all people in the world. But inspiring people is on top for me.
Michael Korrel defeated Dzafar Kostoev of the United Arab Emirates in the -100 kilos to win the Netherlands their second championship.
Newly appointed IJF Ambassador Lior Raz awarded Korrel his second Paris gold medal, and he himself received a special diploma to celebrate his new role in the Judo family.
South Korea’s Kim Hayun defeated Japan’s Maya Akiba in the women’s heavyweight division to win her first ever grand slam gold medal.
Prince Fahad Bin Jalawi, Deputy Chairman of the NOC of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, presented him with the medal.
The return of the king
Then came the return of the king. Teddy Riner was in impressive form – dominating the heavyweight qualifiers before he scored a tactical victory over Japan’s Hyoga Ota in the final.
This was the win the crowd wanted and it drove Riner fans crazy.
Max-Hervé George, CEO of Icona Capital, gave the gold to Riner.
“You are fighting for these people, for your country,” said Riner. “It’s a pleasure. It’s been a long time since my last fight here, wow… Great, that feeling… Feeling good.”
It was a fitting summit for the 2023 Paris Grand Slam.