Georgia achieved first European Mixed Team Judo Championships gold medal in the Russian city of Ufa. It happened in a dramatic seven-point thriller against The Netherlands.
The Caucasus nation won 4-3 to seal the title from the Dutch, thanks to a tiebreaker victory for their men’s over-90 kilogram category judoka Saba Ianeishvili.
Phridon Gigani got Georgia off to a strong start in the men’s U73kg, by beating Matthijs van Harten with a waza-ari, but Hilde Jager brought the score level following the women’s U70kg bout with Mariam Tchanturia, securing the victory with a waza-ari and an ippon.
The whole final was a display of men’s team strength in Georgia against the might of the Dutch women, as Luka Maisuradze won by ippon in the men’s under-90kg against Tigo Renes, only for Georgia’s lead to go again when Karen Stevenson defeated Sophio Somkhishvili in the women’s O70kg with a waza-ari.
Ianeishvili then claimed victory over Jur Spijkers, only for Pleuni Cornelisse to bring The Netherlands level in the women’s U57kg, having scored the ippon on Eteri Lipartliani.
With a random draw deciding who faced off in the tiebreaker, Georgia looked to have one hand on the gold when the men’s O90kg was selected – and Ianeishvili duly delivered a second defeat of Spijkers to give them the title.
Following two repechage wins over Romania and Israel by 4-2 and 4-1 scorelines, Germany fell at the final hurdle of the gauntlet, as Turkey won 4-1 for the bronze medal.
Russia won 4-0 in all repechage rounds they were a part of against Greece, Austria and Belarus to claim the other bronze.