Olympic Champion Lukas Krpalek came back to competition after a long break and he did not disappoint. He managed to win against some strong players in the +100 kg weight category but suffered a defeat in the quarterfinals which put him to fight his way to the bronze. And that he did! In the bronze medal match, he first scored Wazaari and followed it up with a huge ippon for the win and the bronze medal was his! Even though it was not the medal he wanted, we know great things are coming for him and we look forward to follow him towards the World Championships in August!
German youngster Anna-Maria Wagner was on a mission for gold on Sunday! After her Grand Prix gold medal in Marrakech a month ago, she wanted that glory again with the national anthem in the background. With a determined mind, she eliminated all of her opponents towards the final with Ippon. In the final, it took her less than 2 minutes to overcome the number one seed of Cuba and take the gold! An amazing day for Anna-Maria and it just shows the World what we she is capable of now!
Ashley McKenzie of Great Britain in -60 kg started his day in brilliant style and from the moment he stepped on the mat we could see the desire of making it to the podium in his eyes. He left it all on the mat and could end his day with a bronze medal in a strong category! We are so proud of you, Ashley!
Also, Danish Emilie Sook made her way to the top 7 in her category -70 kg. We saw a good performance from her beating some strong players in the preliminaries but in the end, she had to settle for 7th. Nevertheless, a good performance for Emmy and we know she will be on the podium soon!
Joao Crisostomo of Portugal made the upset of the day as he beat former World Champion Georgii Zantaraia in the second match which was an impressive performance but had to end his day in 7th. We cannot wait to see more from him!
Mongolia’s star Odbayar Ganbaatar delivered exciting Judo as usual and had to face hard opponents from fight one and in the end, he came away with a 7th place. But we know he will soon be back where he belongs: on the podium!
Hungarian heavyweight Zalan Ohat in -100 kg also came away with a 7th place on the last competition day. After some really quick Ippon wins in the preliminaries the repechage match was the end station for him. But as always, chasing the Ippon and making us proud that he wears Ippon Gear!
It was a good weekend for the team with many good performances and more points for the Olympic qualification for our fighters. The first year of the qualification is about to round up and we are so excited for the year ahead and especially the two highlights of 2019: European Games in Minsk in June and the World Championships in Tokyo in end of August.