On the second day of action, Bilal Ciloglu of Turkey topped the podium in the category under 73kg after a great performance. Ciloglu already made impressive results in the Senior division this year, with a bronze medal at the Senior European Championships as well as a Grand Prix gold medal.
Last year, he captured a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in Zagreb, but it was clear to see, that this time, he came for the gold. Ciloglu had a terrific day in the Bahamas and with all of his contests won by ippon, he claimed the World title in great style.
Another judoka who definitely caught attention, was Lærke Marie Olsen from Denmark. The 20 year old Dane wrote history on the third day of competition as she picked up a silver medal in the category under 63 kg - The first ever medal for Denmark at a Junior World Championship.
Olsen was on great form and showed some exciting judo throughout the day, which also got her picked to be the EJU Player of the Day. Olsen has been one of the most persistant players in the -63 kg category this season, so seing her ending up on the podium, was not a surprise, nevertheless a very big step for her as well as for her home nation Denmark.
From the Hungarian team, also Mercedesz Szigetvari managed to get to the final block. After showing some good judo in the preliminary rounds, the current European Champion in the category +78 kg, could find herself in the semi final.
Unfortunately, Szigetvari ended up with a 5th place, just missing out on a podium spot. Nevertheless, the Hungarian heavyweight, who is also already a Grand Prix medalist, showed that she has the skills to perform well on a stage like this and we will sure see more of her in the future.
Denmark only brought two players to the World championships, but also Olsen’s team mate, Mathias Madsen, made a great effort in the -100 kg category.
The former Cadet European Championships silver medalist was one of the top picks for this category, coming in as the number two seed, after not less than 5 European cup medals this season. Unfortunately, he just missed out on a medal, ending up with a 5th place, after a very close bronze medal match.
Austrian Stephan Hegyi took a bronze medal at the Senior European Championships earlier this year and is ranked as number #10 on the Senior World ranking list. Latest, he took a silver medal at the Budapest Grand Prix.
The Austrian heavyweight has previously been announced to be “the biggest heavyweight prospect in the world”. This weekend he captured a silver medal - Hegyi powered through the competition and won all of his preliminary contests with ippon. Only in the final, the Austrian made a small slip and ended up his day as Vice-World Champion after a great performance.
Hegyi could share the podium with German Erik Abramov (UJKC Potsdam), who picked up a bronze medal. The European Championships runner-up, did as well, show good judo through out the day. After two convincing wins in the preliminaries, he lost out to Hegyi in the semi final, but managed to bounce back and claim the bronze medal with a powerful ippon win.
European bronze medalist Karla Prodan of Croatia lives in the city of Split and trains in the same club as former Junior World Champions Barbara Matic and Brigita Ljuba (former Matic)
On the last day of competition, she could follow in their footsteps all the way to the final of the -78 kg. category. Prodan, who is former cadet World Champion had a great performance throughout the day, but unfortunately got caught in the final. She, as well, ended up with a silver medal and with high hopes for the future.
In this category, also Hungarian Fanni Toth, ended up with a 7th place.
Also another Hungarian had a chance for a medal, but narrowly fell short. Double European cup winner and senior European cup medalist Robert Rajkai made a great effort, but as his team mate Szigetvari, had to settle for a 5th. place in the end of the day.
Hungarian lightweight, Fatime Beringer, ended up with a 7th place in the -44 kg category.
Furthermore, we saw a 7th place finish going to Croatian Tihea Topolovic (-57 kg)
Overall, it has been a very succesful competition for the IPPON GEAR athletes. For some fighters like Ciloglu, Olsen, Hegyi and Prodan, this competition was a great way to finish their junior career. All of the athletes mentioned above have already picked up senior medals and will all be in the run for #Tokyo2020.
For some of the younger athletes such a Madsen and Rajkai, who will still be in the junior division next year, the competition showed high hopes for the future. Both athletes have been very persistant through out the whole season and how exciting will it be to see what the future has in store for them.
In total, 5 medals went to the athletes from the IPPON GEAR team and the week offered a lot of great stories.
Proud of our YOUNGSTERS, the FUTURE IS YOURS!