Abu Dhabi: World No 3 Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia lived up to her top billing in the women’s 48kg category by clinching gold at the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam which got underway at the Mubadala Arena on Saturday.
Five-time Grand Prix winner Munkhbat, who was aiming for her first gold medal since the Tashkent Grand Prix a year ago, defeated world junior champion Distria Krasniqi of Kosova.
“I’m very happy with the win, the competition was tough here. It was good to go with the gold after a tough battle. There were some top judokas and hence the win is all the more relieving,” said a jubilant Munkhbat.
Argentina’s Paula Pareto, Rio 2016 Olympics champion and 2018 Worlds bronze medallist, finished with a bronze following her win over Milica Nikolic of Serbia. China’s Li Yanan also settled for bronze in the same category after beating Hungary’s Eva Csernoviczki.
“I’m a bit low in power as I’m here after figuring in a few back-to-back events. It showed on me today. Despite all that, to finish with a bronze is great and I’m happy to return with it,” said Pareto, who won the first Cancun Grand Prix 2018 gold medal with victory in the lightest category of the competition earlier this month.
In the men’s 60kg category, Georgia’s Amiran Papinashvili took gold, beating Spaniard Francisco Garrigos. The bronze medal in the same category was bagged by Gusman Kyrgyzbayev of Kazakhstan and Sharafuddin Lutfillaev of Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzbayev defeated Belgium’s Jorre Verstraeten while Lutfillaev got the better of Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan.
The second bronze medal in the same category went to China’s Li Yanan as she got the better of London Olympics bronze medallist Hungary’s Eva Csernoviczki.
There was disappointment in store for reigning Olympic champion Beslan Mudranov of Russia. He lost in the repechage to former world champion Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan.
Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosova, returning to action after a year on the sidelines due to injury, made it through to the finals but had to pull out midway. Kelmendi entered the floor with her nose heavily bandaged, but it didn’t stop her bleeding and her pullout handed the gold to Italy’s Odette Giuffrida.