Bernadette Graf seems to be in great form at the moment, having made it to the final block in every competition she has participated in this year.
After taking her first Grand slam medal at -78 kg in Düsseldorf a few weeks ago, “Berni” followed up with another Grand Slam bronze medal this weekend. The Austrian showed a great performance throughout the day and managed to beat double Olympic medalist and former World Champion Audrey Tcheumeo on her way. Graf, still new to this category, is in a good development in the -78 kg category and seems to keep improving from tournament to tournament.
Overall, the team of Austria had a strong performance this weekend - Besides Bernadette Graf, also Sabrina Filzmoser, Michaela Polleres and Stephan Hegyi all made it to the bronze medal match but unfortunately just missed out the medal.
With her 38 years of age, Sabrina Filzmoser is one of the most experienced fighters on the World circuit. She had a great performance on the day and finished with a good 5th place in the category under 57 kg. The tall Austrian is known for being extremely dangerous in Newaza, which she once again showed this weekend by sending two of the Russian home favorites out of the tournament with Newaza wins. Unfortunately, Filzmoser ended up just missing out on a medal, but what a performance from the Austrian Iron Lady, who showed that she still means business.
In the category under 70 kg. there was another 5th place for Michaela Polleres of Austria. Polleres as well showed a great performance and managed to beat both four times European Champion Kim Polling of the Netherlands as well as Olympic bronze medalist Laura Vargas-Koch of Germany on the day. Polleres made it all the way to the semifinal, but eventually ended up just missing out on a podium spot. An unfortunate ending of the day for the Austrian, who nevertheless can be proud of a great performance.
Stephan Hegyi did as well end his day with a 5th place in the category +100 kg. The Austrian powerhouse recently took a bronze medal at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam and this weekend, he once again showed that he is one of the top players in this category. Despite just missing out on a medal, Hegyi showed powerful judo throughout the day, a good performance from the youngster.
Another Austrian who made it to the top seven, was Magdalena Krssakova (-63 kg) who ended her day with a 7th place.
Last but not least, there was also a 5th place for Matthias Casse of Belgium. Casse made it all the way to the semifinal, where he was met with the current European Champion; Sagi Muki of Israel. A tough battle which unfortunately did not end in Casse’s favor after three minutes of Golden Score. As well the bronze medal match was decided after not less than 5 minutes of Golden Score after a tactical mistake by Casse. Nevertheless, this young man showed great judo as well as an incredible fighting spirit and just keeps showing that he consistently can place himself into top 7 at these top events.
In two weeks’ time, there will be more action to come, as the World Tour will move to the capital of Georgia for the Tbilisi Grand Prix. Several athletes from the Ippon Gear team will be respresented and we wish everyone good luck!