Tbilisi’s a charm for Legoux Clement

Legoux Clement wins against in Tbilisi.

France’s Melanie Legoux Clement has two IJF World Tour gold medals. The first one was achieved in Tbilisi in 2019 and her second one was achieved, also in Tbilisi in 2022.

Legoux Clement, 30, ranked third in the IJF World Rankings, has in recent years been overshadowed by her younger compatriot, Shirine Boukli, who is 23 years old and is No. 1 in the IJF rankings.

This victory in the recently-concluded Tbilisi Grand Slam is a return to form for Legoux Clement, who used to be France’s top -48kg judoka just prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Back then, Boukli was a relative unknown.

Legoux Clement started off well, defeating Rayhon Shavkodova (TKM) with an osoto followed by an armlock. Shavkodova decided to hold out despite her arm being fully-straightened. By the time she tapped, her arm had clearly been injured.

Her next opponent as Natasha Ferreira (BRA), whom she beat through a hold-down. The next fight after that was against another Brazilian, Amanda Lima (BRA), whom Legoux Clement threw with a massive uchimata, as if to prove she had more than groundwork in her.

The final was a bit of letdown because given her brilliant earlier performances, fans expected to see some slick groundwork or massive throws in her final, against Laura Martinez Abelenda (ESP). Instead, they had to be content with seeing Legoux Clement win by penalties. But a win’s a win.

Legoux Clement might not be considered the top prospect for a spot on her country’s Olympic team for Paris 2024 but with this superb victory in Tbilisi, she’s shown she’s still a force to contend with.