French youngster Shirine Boukli shone in the women’s lightest weight category in Düsseldorf as the fast-rising star shocked former world champion Tonaki Funa (JPN) to claim gold. In only her third Grand Slam outing Boukli countered Tonaki with her patented sumi-gaeshi for a waza-ari score.
Boukli showed her impressive defensive ability to hold out against the Japanese dynamo who has now opened the door for teammates Koga Wakana and Tsunoda Natsumi to make a late rally for Tokyo 2020 selection.
In the first semi-final Tonaki pinned down world number 13 Milica Nikolic (SRB) on the ground and the Serbian judoka elected to tap out after 14 seconds. In the second semi-final Boukli denied Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Katharina Menz (GER) a final at home as the young French judoka picked up the win after 72 seconds of golden score from a sumi-gaeshi.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Tashkent Grand Prix winner Sabina Giliazova (RUS) as Menz and the home crowd were left frustrated. There was immediate interest for the hosts in the final block as the opening contest on Friday evening featured home judoka Menz who was penalised for a third time for a false attack after three minutes of golden score to hand the medal to Giliazova.
The second bronze medal was won by Osaka Grand Slam silver medallist Julia Figueroa (ESP) after Nikolic was dismissed in golden score for picking up her third shido in a scoreless contest which failed to ignite.