The Zagreb Grand Prix 2016 has ended with the competition producing a new crop of champions, many of whom won medals for the first time.
In the womens’ under 78 kilo class Hungary’s Abigil Joo put down a marker for the 2017 world championships by beating the Netherland’s Guusje Steenhuis to take gold. Her immediate ambition is to win the World Championship when it comes to Budapest, and win at the Tokyo Olympics in the medium term.
In the over 78 kilo class Bosnia-Herzegovina’s dream year continues as World Judo Masters Bronze medallist Larisa Ceric continued her strong 2016 form by beating Carolin Weiss, the Budapest Grand Prix winner struggling to get any of her attacks in through Ceric’s dogged defence.
In the men’s competition no-one could put Alexander Grigorev on the mat in the under 90 kilo class, as he eased to his second Grand Prix gold medal and cemented Russia’s dominant position in this competition, finishing top of the medals table. He beat promising 21-year old Israeli Li Kochmann. It was only Grigorev’s third start of the year, and he looked in peak condition.
In the under 100 kilo class it was another Russian, Adlan Bisultanov who won his third IJF gold by beating Budapest Grand Prix winner Michael Korrel from the Netherlands.
In the final, heaviest category, the over 100 kilos, victory went to Romania’s
World Judo Masters winner Daniel Natea , his first Grand Prix win. He triumphed over Germany’s Sven Heinle with a spectacular ippon. The final matched one of the biggest judoka in the category against one of the shortest.