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The city of Almada witnessed an incredible last day of the 2023 Portugal Grand Prix. The stadium was packed and ready to go, full of eager fans to watch the heavyweights put on a show.
Under 90 kgs class
In the under 90kg class, Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov defeated stalwart Krisztian Toth of Hungary. The two shared a wonderful moment of friendship and sportsmanship thoroughly appreciated by the Portuguese crowd.
Skander Hachicha, IJF Sport Director was on hand to award the medals.
“In Judo, you always need to respect your opponent. We are friends because we are the same age,” explained Ivanov. “We have children, he has, and I have. He was very happy before our fight, he sent me a message saying “I’m very happy to fight with you” – Me too! This is the sport (that) I give everything in the fight, and after that we are friends.”
Under 78 kgs class
In the under 78kg category Patricia Sampaio was the hero of the day, giving the home crowd what they came for! Blasting her way through the preliminaries, she looked totally determined to take the Gold medal for Portugal.
Fully focused, Sampaio took a tactical victory in the final, which saw her take her first Grand Prix Gold and send the stadium into raptures. A wonderful moment for Portuguese Judo.
She was awarded her medal by Ines de Medeiros, the Mayor of Almada, and the stadium stood tall for the anthem.
“It was unbelievable to have so many people here,” said Sampaio. “I’m not from Lisbon, I live two hours away, so two full cars came here to scream for me, with my family and friends from the club. It was amazing, it was unbelievable. I have no words for everything I heard today from the crowd. It was amazing.”
Under 100 kgs class
In the under 100kg class, Ilia Sulamanidze from Georgia overcame Japanese Youngster Dota Arai, cementing his place as World number one.
He was awarded his medal by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Carlo Knoester.
Over 78 kgs class
In the over 78kg category, Kim Hayun turned over Rochelle Nunes, ending Portuguese hopes for another Gold.
The medals were awarded by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Cathy Fleury.
Over 100 kgs class
In the over 100kg class, Kim Minjong made it four Gold medals for Korea, putting their nation on the top of the medal table.
With two Golds and one Silver, and some passionate Judo, the Portuguese team can count this Grand Prix as a fantastic success. The Judo family can’t wait to return next year.