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Judo: Reka Pupp wows the home crowd at the Hungary Grand Slam 2022

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By Mark Armstrong  & IJF
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Japan's Abe Hifumi in action
Japan's Abe Hifumi in action   -   Copyright  International Judo Federation

Judo returned to the beautiful city of Budapest as the sport's greats battled it out in the Grand Slam Hungary.

At -48kg, Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Tonaki Funa was on fine form, dominating her final against Julia Figueroa of Spain with some strong groundwork, to secure her 11th senior World Tour Gold Medal.

International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer awarded the medals.

In the -60kg category, Jorre Verstraeten of Belgium defeated former world champion Lukhumi Chkhvimiani of Georgia with a clever piece of footwork. He was awarded his medals by IJF General Secretary, Jean-Luc Rougé.

At -52kg, Reka Pupp brought joy to the home crowd as she defeated the young Italian Giulia Carna with two Waza-ari scores to take Hungary’s first Gold medal of the tournament.

All the young children in attendance, the future of Hungarian judo, cheered for their hero as they managed to catch a quick selfie with the brilliant Pupp. She was awarded her medals by Ultima Capital CEO Max-Hervé George.

"Thank you very much, it’s a huge joy for me to win a medal, at home in Hungary as well," said an excited. "This is actually my first medal at home, I’ve been in the final block before, but sadly it didn’t work out, but today I was able to give back to my home crowd everything they have given me over the years".

The return of the Abe

The day also saw the return of one of the Abe wonder siblings, with Abe Hifumi here for his first tournament since his victory at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and he looked as if he'd never been away.

In every single contest he displayed his exciting explosive judo, one massive technique after another, he seemed unbeatable.

In the final, he took on the youngster Rakhimjon Subhonov of Uzbekistan, and a beautifully timed attack saw him launch the Uzbek for a dynamic Waza-ari score. The medals were awarded by Atena CEO Paolo Naoni.

Afterwards, Abe was more confident than ever. 

"I would say, looking at the competition, no one can beat me now. Yes, no one can beat me," claimed Abe

At -57kg, Japan's Haruka Funakubo defeated Rafaela Silva of Brazil. She was awarded the gold medal by IOC Member Daniel Gyurta

All in all, it was a great day's judo and it's easy to see why Hungary is a regular stop on the World Judo Tour.