The unstoppable “King of Judo” has returned! After a two-year break, Riner proved he was still at the top during the last day of Montreal Grand Prix 2019. Riner has not been defeated in more than a hundred contests, and he has been the World Champion 10 times. He also possesses two gold medals from the Olympics, and many were speculating as to how he would return after the break. Teddy Riner’s comeback was long-awaited, and the judo legend did not disappoint.
However, it wasn’t easy, especially during the semi-final, when Riner went up against heavyweight Lukas Krpalek. The match with the -100kg Olympic Champion was tough and tense, but Riner managed to come out on top.
In the final match, Riner fought against Uchi mata master Hisayoshi Harasawa. The tight match took us back to the 2016 Rio Olympics when the two fought for the gold. Back in 2016, Riner took the gold, and during 2019s “rematch” the legend won again. He took home the +100kg gold and became Montreal Grand Prix heavyweight king!
After the victory, the French judoka claimed that his opponents were big and that the final and semi-final victories were among some of his best.
Furthermore, Shori Hamada from Japan took the gold medal after her -78kg final match with Aleksandra Babintsev from Russia. Hamada didn’t win any contest after earning the World Champion title in 2018, so she undoubtedly had the proper motivation in this tournament. Babintseva was defeated within the first minute after Hamada’s deadly Uchi mata. The gold medal winner stated that this victory boosted her confidence.
Japan’s Mashu Baker was also triumphant after winning the -90kg final against Colton Brown from the U.S. Baker’s clever counter during the last minute was among the most exciting moments in the whole contest. Additionally, World Champion Sarah Asahina marked another win after the +78kg final with Raz Hershko.
Additionally, Ramadan Darwish gave us quite a show in the match against Shady Elnahas and took home Egypt’s first gold medal. However, Canadian favorite, Elnahas, performed a thrilling hip throw against Karl-Richard Frey in a previous match. It was among the best throws in the tournament.
Japan was incredibly victorious in the table standings. In total, Japanese judokas have won one bronze, one silver, and seven gold medals in the contest. Japan was ahead of Canada, the host, which earned four bronze and four silver medals. And the third place went to Israel, with two bronze, one silver, and one gold medal.
Overall, the tournament had a great and action-packed debut in Montreal.