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Teddy Riner books eleventh Grand Slam victory

Teddy Riner books eleventh Grand Slam victory

5 May 2024 23:45
IJF Media team by Callum MacLennan and JudoInside
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

The +100kg category at the Dushanbe Grand Slam 2024 provided judo fans with a highly anticipated rematch between two titans of the sport: Teddy Riner of France and Temur Rakhimov of Tajikistan. Riner, a living legend with 11 world championship titles to his name, faced off against Rakhimov, the former world number one aiming to defend his home turf.

In a thrilling final, Riner once again proved his dominance, throwing Rakhimov for ippon with a powerful uchi-mata to secure his 11th grand slam gold medal. Despite Rakhimov's efforts, Riner's relentless attacks and tactical prowess proved too much to handle, solidifying his status as one of judo's greatest competitors.

The bronze medal matches showcased the emergence of young talent, with teenagers Batchaev and Tataroglu putting on impressive performances. Batchaev, in his first ever IJF World Tour event, displayed strong attacks and secured a well-deserved bronze medal with a waza-ari against Tataroglu. Meanwhile, Kone overcame Magomedomarov in a closely contested battle, earning his second grand slam bronze with a decisive throw in golden score.

Riner's path to the final was marked by dominant victories, including highlight-reel throws against Munir Ertug and Losseni Kone. In the semi-final, Riner faced Denis Batchaev, who had displayed remarkable skill throughout the tournament. However, Riner's experience and precision were evident as he swiftly dispatched Batchaev with a lightning-fast combination, showcasing his unwavering determination.

There were two beautiful osoto-gari throws, from Kone (GER) against Yuan (CHN) and Batchaev (AIN) against Masters champion Puumaleinen (FIN). This second one was with the belt grip and Batchaev had to take a second breath to find a very powerful finish."

"We have to speak about the home athletes too and Rakhimov’s o-uchi-gari in the quarter-final against Tataroglu (TUR) was expertly executed. He found the right moment, encouraged the movement forward to give him the entry and concluded with relative ease. It was a real crowd-pleaser.

Overall, the +100kg category at the Dushanbe Grand Slam was a showcase of elite judo talent, with Riner once again proving his mastery of the sport and it seems a better preparation then the Tokyo Games warm-up. The next step is yet to be determined. He might compete in Kazakhstan but more likely he will take some rest and be prepared for the Olympic Games.. Whether the World Championships fit into that schedule is still a questionmark. In general Teddy looks sharp in all means and cannot complain about his preparation on his last Olympic Games.

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