Sone Akira of Japan claimed heavyweight gold at the Grand Prix in Zagreb one month away from making her World Championships debut at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Sone, 19, did not have to fight in the final as European Games silver medallist Larisa Ceric (BIH) unfortunately was sidelined after picking up an injury in her successful semi-final clash.
Ceric came from behind to deny Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Kayra Sayit (TUR) as she tapped out the Turkish standout with a koshi-jime but injured herself in the process. In the second semi-final European Games bronze medallist Iryna Kindzerska (AZE) lost to Sone via three shidos, an outcome which is not unusual in this weight category.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Kindzerska who threw Budapest Grand Prix silver medallist Nihel Cheikh Rouhou (TUN) with a harai-makikomi before applying a holddown for 10 seconds in a powerful display.
The second bronze medal was won by -78kg Olympic bronze medallist Anamari Velensek (SLO) who held down Sayit to bolster Slovenia’s medal return on neighbouring territory.