As usual, the Croatian women showed that they belong to the top. The Juniors keeps improving and on day one it was an all Croatian Ippon Gear final in -63 kg between Katarina Kristo and Iva Oberan. Both of them went for it and picked up scores throughout the match. In the last two seconds, Kristo managed to score a second score and take the gold. Also, Lara Cvjetko battled it out in the bronze medal match after winning against some strong opponents throughout the day. However, she had to settle for a fifth place. But she showed big potential today! All in all, very impressive from the three Croatian girls!
Also in -63, Hungary’s Youth Olympic Champion Szofi Ozbas showed that she is one to watch in the Junior category as well. She showed powerful judo and ended the day on a fifth place after losing out to the Japanese Junior World bronze medalist. We know you will get there Szofi!
For teammate Lara Kliba in -70 kg, it was an amazing day as well. In the preliminaries, she went for the IPPON and after losing in the semi-final, she bounced back with a very strong win against another IPPON GEAR athlete. Martina Esposito was the opponent of Kliba. Both girls have impressive judo, which we saw in the bronze medal match, where both picked up scores but, in the end, Kliba came out as the winner.
Another Croatian medal went to Helena Vukovic in +78 kg, who clinched the bronze medal. After five fights the Cadet World Champion could end her day on the podium. Great work!
Also, the Hungarian boys left their mark on the tournament. In -90 kg, Roland Goz picked up a bronze medal-winning all of his matches on IPPON. Great stuff from the youngster. His teammate in the category below -81 kg, also made it to the bronze medal match. However, Robert Rajkai had to settle for a fifth place in the end.
The Ballhaus sisters showed what they are made of as usual. Mascha Ballhaus, in 48 kg, picked up a bronze medal after five strong fights from the German. Also, her sister Seija Ballhaus had a strong day in her new category -57 kg. Unfortunately, this time she had to go home without a medal around her neck, but we know that she will bounce back. After moving the weight category, she already showed that she belongs in her new category.
Marlene Galandi made her way to the final for the second weekend in a row. Last weekend, she got the silver medal in the Senior European Cup in Celje and this weekend she took home the silver medal in Leibnitz. Very strong results from the German -70 kg fighter. We know you will be on that top spot very soon!
Another final spot was to Italian Mattia Prosdocimo that had some nail-biting contests in the preliminaries and showed persistence throughout his six matches. In the end, he had to settle for silver but still a strong performance!
Annika Karilad of Estonia also made her way to the podium in the -78 category where she clinched the bronze medal and showed that she is also one to watch out for!
A 7th place went to Anika Schicho of Austria in the -52 kg category and to Hungarian Fatime Beringer in the -48 kg category. We know both girls have more to give off!
Great performances at the very strong European Cup for all of the IPPON GEAR athletes showing that they can follow up the success of the IPPON GEAR seniors!