Gela Zaalishvili clinched gold on the final day in Tbilisi to ensure Georgia topped the Grand Slam medal standings ©IJF

Gela Zaalishvili ensured hosts Georgia finished top of the medal standings by winning over-100 kilograms gold on the final day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam in Tbilisi.

The Georgian defeated Olympic and world medallist Rafael Silva after a superb sode o-soto combination saw the Brazilian lose balance and roll on his back.

Saba Inaneishvili also added to Georgia’s medal count with a bronze in the same division after seeing off Turkey’s Cemal Erdogan.

The other bronze-medal match was won by Cuba’s Andy Granda who overcame Poland’s Maciej Sarnacki.

There was frustration for home judoka Ilia Sulamanidze, who came unstuck against Canada’s Shady El Nahas in the men’s under-100kg final.

It was a birthday to remember for El Nahas as he scored a waza-ari with a long-distance ko-uchi-gari to secure the win.

Belgium’s Toma Nikiforov and Uzbekistan’s Muzaffarbek Turoboyev earned bronze medals.

The other men’s competition saw Sweden’s Marcus Nyman come out on top in the under-90kg category.

Nyman caught Italy’s Nicholas Mungai with a strong immobilisation for ippon to clinch a third Grand Slam triumph.

Uzbekistan’s Davlat Bobonov, who was second in Tashkent two weeks ago, claimed bronze with victory over Israel’s Li Kochman.

Shermukhammad Jandreev had an opportunity to claim another bronze for Uzbekistan only to lose to Mongolian Altanbagana Gantulga.

Gela Zaalishvili, in blue, brings down Brazilian giant Rafael Silva in the gold-medal match ©IJF
Gela Zaalishvili, in blue, brings down Brazilian giant Rafael Silva in the gold-medal match ©IJF

There was an all-Dutch women’s under-78kg final as Natascha Ausma overcame compatriot Karen Stevenson courtesy of an ippon.

The bronze medals went to Israel’s Inbar Lanir and China’s Ma Zhenzhao.

Xu Shiyan claimed gold for China after taking down Portuguese athlete Rochele Nunes with an ippon in the women’s over-78kg final.

Brazilians took the other two places on the podium as Maria Suelen Altheman and Beatriz Souza both landed bronze medals.

Georgia topped the medal standings with two golds, three silvers and four bronzes as Canada came second with two golds, one silver and one bronze.

The Tbilisi Grand Slam featured 464 athletes and 278 officials from more than 80 countries.

The build-up was marred by positive coronavirus cases with both the French and German teams forced to withdraw.

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, six men and one woman from the 31-person German team became infected.

It was also announced that the French team had withdrawn following a COVID-19 positive within its party.

The IJF has now put out a statement in response to what it described as "false information" regarding the Tbilisi Grand Slam, confirming there were 12 positives cases from more than 2,500 tests.

All participants were required to present two negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test results upon arrival, with both administered a minimum of 48 hours apart.

Xu Shiyan celebrates after winning the women's over-78kg category ©IJF
Xu Shiyan celebrates after winning the women's over-78kg category ©IJF

A further PCR test was then required, with participants remaining in quarantine until the result came back negative which allowed them to enter the competition bubble.

The IJF confirmed three athletes and three coaches tested positive after the third test and were placed in quarantine along with close contacts.

"As an additional layer of precaution and in accordance with the COVID Protocol, before each day of competition, the athletes that were competing underwent a fourth PCR test," a statement from the IJF read.

"There were six PCR4 positive cases, resulting in the same aforementioned protocols being employed.

"Out of over 2500 PCR tests that were administered, a total of 12 cases from PCR3 and PCR4 were positive. 

"While we are closely monitoring the health situation of these cases while they are quarantined, we are also working to verify, with our COVID Manager and local medical authorities, possible false positives for vaccinated athletes.

"Participants who need to, will also undergo a departure PCR test."

Ahead of the tournament, some national teams travelled to Tbilisi for a training camp where the IJF confirmed 12 athletes and three coaches failed the first and second COVID-19 tests conducted before they could enter the bubble.

"The positive results being identified and actions being taken to quarantine and provide medical services to these participants, is evidence that the system is working," the statement from the IJF added.