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This weekend, another Olympic qualification event was held, this time, the Grand Prix in Budapest, Hungary. It was the biggest Grand Prix in IJF history, with 576 athletes attending and the second biggest event on the IJF World Tour. Especially the home crowd got lots to celebrate.

Already on the first day of action, the home fans had something to cheer for, as Hedvig Karakas (-57 kg) won a bronze medal. The 28-year-old Hungarian is in great shape at the moment and did also pick up a bronze medal at the latest qualifying event in Zagreb two weeks ago.  

We are sure Karakas will be one to watch for the World Championships in Baku later this year. 

Ungvari shocks Ebinuma in the final of the judo legends

The man of the second day of competition, was 37-year-old Miklos Ungvari who claimed the gold medal in the category -73 kg, raising the flag for the host nation. Many judo fans were excited to see the comeback of 3-times World Champion, Masashi Ebinuma (JPN), but forgot about the Hungarian evergreen.

On his way to the final, he defeated 5 opponents, 3 of them in Golden score. In the final, we saw a fired-up Hungarian against the expected Japanese superstar, Ebinuma. In the last minute, Ebinuma tried to finish the match with a strong drop Seoi-nage attempt but Ungvari used the movement for a great counter. The referees reviewed the counter for a few minutes and came to the conclusion to score the action with Ippon and Gold for Ungvari.

Ippon for Ungvari in the final against Ebinuma

Szabo with first Grand Prix medal

In the same category, another Hungarian made it to the podium; Frigyes Szabó, picked up a bronze medal - His first ever Grand Prix medal. In the bronze medal match, the 24-year-old defeated Mongolian Odbayar Ganbataar with a nice Sankaku hold-down.  

Sankaku hold-down secures Bronze Medal for Szabo

On this day, there was also a 7th place for Szabina Gercsak of Hungary as well as for Maria Perez of Puerto Rico, both fighting in the -70 kg category.  

The power house Toth is back

On the last day of action, two more athletes supported by Ippongear, made their way to the final. 

Krisztian Toth of Hungary could follow up teammate Miklos Ungvari as he ended up on top of the podium in the category -90 kg taking his second World Tour gold this year. Taking a break after the birth of his child earlier this year, Toth took the European Open in Prague as warm-up a few weeks ago. Winning gold in Czech Republic gave him enough confidence to show up in full strenght at the home Grand Prix.

The Hungarian power house seemed in full control throughout the whole event. Explosive, aggressive and with super fast Kumi-kata, he fought his way into the final. Defeating Georgian Margiani in the Gold medal match got the crowd go wild as the sympathic Hungarian is a fan favorite all around the world, of course, especially at home.

Beautiful Drop Seoi-Nage by Toth in the final -90kg

Overall a lot of strong performances from the Hungarian team, which brought them up to a second place in the medal tally in their home event.

Hegyi keeps impressing the Heavy Weights

Czech Olympic Champion Lukas Krpalek withdrew from the Hungarian Grand Prix a day before the event due to an injury. But Heavyweight Stephan Hegyi of Austria showed that Ippon Gear has another promising athlete coming up in this division. With only 20 years of age, Hegyi is still Junior but has already a senior Bronze medal at the recent European Championships in his pocket.

Full of confidence, power and speed, the Austrian talent keeps impressing and could find himself in another Grand Prix final. He ended up taking a silver medal in the +100 kg category. We are sure there is a lot more to come and Austria has a another big talent next to Reiter, Böhler, Fara, Krssakova, Polleres, Zeltner, Graf, Unterwurzacher (just to name a few) in their hands.  

Also on the third day of action, we saw a strong 5th place of Czech David Klammert (-90kg) and a 7th place for Croatia’s Ivana Sutalo in the category +78 kg. Next weekend there will be more action to come, as the European Open in Minsk, Belarus, will take place.

Kategorien: Judo

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