On the third and final day of The Hague Judo Grand Prix the young fans in attendance were treated to a Judo masterclass by former World Champion Yarden Gerbi of Israel, and former Olympic Champion Mark Huizinga of The Netherlands.
After imparting their wisdom to a new generation Huizinga and Gerbi signed autographs and posed for photos to give the children an experience they would never forget.
Female Dutch gold for Savelkouls
There were medals for the home crowd as well. Tessie Savelkouls was our woman of the day. She beat Lithunia’s Jablonskyte in the plus 78 kg final, throwing her with ouchi gari before securing a pin for ippon.
Salvelkouls professed herself delighted with her victory:
‘‘It’s very nice to win with the home crowd of course. It gives energy but it also gives you a little pressure because you want to do it well.’‘
Guusje Steenhuis also took gold at under 78 kg after defeating team mate Marhinde Verkerk in the final. She received her medal from the Alderman of The Hague Rabin Baldewsingh as the Dutch anthem rang out in the stadium.
Dutch mens’ success
There was more success for the Dutch in the plus 100 kg category where Roy Meyer was our man of the day. He overcame Sarnacki of Poland by a wazari. With the pair in a doe or die situation Meyer managed to keep enough control to place Sarnacki on his side and claim the decisive score of the match, thrilling the home crowd.
‘‘It’s awesome, it’s so special to do this for the home crowd,” Meyer said. “I came up from my first fight, the crowd was screaming and I felt I got 200% more energy. I was walking on air, it’s unbelievable, it’s so good.’‘
Russia’s Zankishiev was victorious at under 100 kg after scoring two wazaris in the final against Sweden’s Dvarby. The first a powerful outer reaping throw, and the second a clever dropping Sode Tsuri Komi Goshi, a technique executed by gripping only the sleeves of your opponent’s jacket. It was a dominant performance from the Russian, earning him a second Grand Prix Gold medal.
There was gold for World Number 1 Aleksandar Kukolj of Serbia after he overcame Russia’s Magomedov in the under 90 kg final. With just 30 seconds left, the Serbian executed a clever piece of footwork to score wazari, and hold on for the win.
Move of the day
Our move of the day came in the under 90 kg mens’ bronze medal contest, where the crowd had yet more success to celebrate, when Jesper Smink looked destined to be thrown before tipping the balance in his favour and scoring ippon.
The Hague a delighted host
Rabin Baldewsingh, Alderman of The Hague, said:
‘‘I must tell you it was really an honour, that the IJF humbled us in giving us this Grand Prix to organise. You can see the enthusiasm here in the audience but also in the city. So welcome, and it was really fantastic to host you all here.”