French lightweight Romain Valadier Picard claimed the gold medal in the lightweight category in Thursday’s opening day of the Grand Prix Upper Austria in Linz. Valadier Picard was among the four best athletes entered into the tournament. Already a two-time grand slam bronze medallist, this time he reached the final of a World Judo Tour event for the first time, after having perfectly mastered the elimination phases with powerful and effective shoulder movements. In the final Valadier Picard saw Dilshot Khalmatov of Ukraine as his opponent.
Still dangerous with his attack despite a hand injury sustained at the very beginning of the final, it was difficult for Khalmatov to resist Valadier Picard’s storm of attacks. Almost at the end of the contest, Khalmatov was penalised a third time, offering the victory to Romain Valadier Picard.
The first match for a bronze medal saw Nazir Talibov (AZE) and Artem Lesiuk (UKR) face off. Talibov was quickly penalised with two shido, the first one after he grabbed under the belt to avoid being thrown and the second for passivity. The third penalty was not likely to be long in coming but Nazir Talibov was penalised with hansoku-make for a head dive. The bronze medal was for Artem Lesiuk.
Emiel Jaring (NED) and Petros Christodoulides (CYP) battled for the second bronze medal. After a fairly balanced contest, the athletes reached golden score with only one shido to his name for Jaring. It was after 3:15 of golden score that Petros Christodoulides could eventually score a waza-ari, with a superb ippon-ko-uchi-gari, to win the bronze medal. This is the first medal on the World Judo Tour for Christodoulides, a good sign of the development of judo in Cyprus.