Kosovo had a great day at opening of the Grand Prix of Antalya. Distria Krasniqi, reached the final after clear victories during the elimination phases. Junior World Champion in 2015 and training partner of the Kosovan Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi, Krasniqi did not spend much time on the tatami as she successively eliminated Ariel Bezalel (ISR) and Merve Tas (TUR) by ippon.
The palm of the quicker movement being attributed to Krasniqi for having thrown Tas for ippon in just 10 seconds.
Gili Cohen, winner of the 2016 Baku Grand Slam, and number one seeded competitor of the day, also confirmed the good form of the Israeli judo team by pushing the door of the final. After a first-round win by a waza-ari against Nazakat Azizova (AZE), Cohen eliminated Diyora Keldiyorova (UZB) in the semi-final with a clear ippon.
In less than a minute, Krasniqi had already scored a waza-ari after she blocked one of Cohen’s attacks and countered her. She then scored again with a sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi for a second waza-ari. Never in danger, Krasniqi controlled until the end of the match to secure the gold medal.
Turkey had a chance of medal with Merve Tas who was opposed to Nazakat Azizova (AZE) in the first bronze medal contest. But Azizova did not give a single chance to Tas, who despite the support of her public was immobilized by the Azeri for ippon and a first medal on a Grand Prix.
The second Israeli athlete of the category was also present in the final block as Ariel Bezalel faced Diyora Keldiyorova (UZB) for a spot on the podium. As nothing was scored, both athletes entered the golden score. Ariel Bezalel finally won after Keldiyorova was penalised a with a second shido.