Sami Chouchi of Belgium secured his first IJF World Judo Tour gold medal at the expense of former world bronze medallist Victor Penalber (BRA). European Championships silver medallist Chouchi starred during the preliminaries with his trademark uchi-mata lighting up the competition.
In the final Penalber appeared to pick up a leg injury and was fighting on adrenaline. The Belgian capitalised with a juji-gatame which the Brazilian promptly tapped out to for his country’s first gold medal in Cancun.
In the first semi-final Penalber squeezed past Madrid European Open gold medallist Tim Gramkow (GER) by a waza-ari score to make sure that he would add to Brazil’s medal tally on day two. In the second semi-final Budapest Grand Prix gold medallist Alan Khubetsov (RUS) fell to Chouchi as he received his third shido for passivity after six minutes of golden score.
The first bronze medal was won by Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Frank De Wit (NED) against Khubetsov after four minutes of golden score. Number one seed De Wit was a shock casualty in the preliminary rounds at the World Championships as he lost his first contest against Medickson Del Orbe Cortorreal (DOM). The Dutchman was back amongst the medals today with a gutsy effort in golden score against Khubetsov as he controlled the upper body of the Russian to send him over for a waza-ari score.
The second bronze medal went to Gramkow who earned his first IJF podium with a stylish win over Etienne Briand (CAN). Briand, who took silver in Cancun a year ago, was dismissed by the German judoka who scored twice in the closing stages to win Germany’s first medal in Mexico. Gramkow wrapped up an impressive win with 32 seconds left on the clock by countering his Canadian rival for his second and match-winning waza-ari.