Italian Edwige Gwend breathed new life in her career by winning Grand Slam gold for the first time. The 27-year-old Italian, who is ranked 16th in the world, last won IJF gold in 2015 at the Tashkent Grand Prix but managed to end her two-year wait to top the podium by beating the leading contenders in Abu Dhabi.
Former Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist Gwend met European u23 champion Lucy Renshall (GBR) in the final and restored their head-to-head record to level terms by picking up a hard-fought win in golden score when the 21-year-old from Merseyside was penalised for dropping.
In the first semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix winner Kathrin Unterwurzacher (AUT) was outfought by a game Gwend who took the contest to the Austrian top seed and registered two unanswered waza-ari scores. In the second semi-final world bronze medallist Agata Ozdoba (POL) lost out to Renshall when the Polish judoka received her third shido to receive hansoku-make.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Ozdoba over 20-year-old two-time Junior European Cup winner Emily Burt (CAN). Ozdoba needed just 23 seconds to submit BURT, who was appearing in the final block at a Grand Slam for the first time, for a quickfire start to the final block.
The second bronze medal was won by Unterwurzacher who held down Belgrade European Open winner Rotem Shor (IJF) for 20 seconds and ippon.