Public spaces in Tajikistan were packed with sports fans watching the final day of the inaugural Judo Grand Prix in Dushanbe - and once again the competitors performed in front of a capacity crowd that brimmed with excitement.
Local hero Komronshokh Ustopiriyon got his country's 3rd gold of the tournament at -90kg, raising the roof with victory against Eldar Allakhverdiev in the final.
Ismoil Mahmadzoir, the Tajikistan Judo Federation President, awarded the medals, with the sound of the national anthem stirring the crowd.
“Tajik guys love judo so much! Because of this, it gives me so much energy for the final match. Thank you to everyone,” said Ustopiriyon.
Anna Monta Olek from Germany impressed on her way to the -78kg final, where she outfought fellow countrywoman Anna-Maria Wagner for a surprise gold Ki-Young Jeon, the IJF Head Referee Director awarded the medals
“It was great, it was very loud, better than a lot of places I’ve fought before, so I liked the atmosphere. They know what you’re doing and they understand, I like it very much,” she said afterwards.
At under 100 kilos Matvey Kanikovskiy caught out Nilaz Bilalov with a switch of direction to take gold.
Abdullo Rakhmonzoda, the Tajikistan Youth and Sports Committee Chairman, handed out the medals.
At +78kg, Portuguese veteran Rochele Nunes defeated first-time tour finalist Samira Bouizgarne from Germany.
Skander Hachicha, the IJF Sport Director, handed out the medals.
And at +100kg the home crowd were rooting for their talisman Temur Rakhimov, but Tamerlan Bashaev proved too strong, leaving Rakhimov with the silver and a sixth medal for Tajikistan, who finished top of the medal table.
Fathullo Sohibov, the Dushanbe Grand Prix 2023 Sponsor, awarded the medals.
That contest brought to an end three days of top-quality judo, in front of a passionate and knowledgeable Tajik crowd.
It was a spectacular and impeccably well-organised tournament, that made for a fine world tour debut.