European judoka put on stellar performances, winning five gold medals, and pushing the Netherlands to the top of the table.
European Judoka stole the show on the final day of the Judo Grand Prix in Zagreb, Croatia.
Two Dutch champions, Jur Spijkers and Michael Korrel, were victorious in the over 100kg and under 100kg events, which sent the Netherlands to the top of the leaderboard.
Korrel defeated world class opposition on his way to the final, including the current world champion from Spain, Nikoloz Sherazadishvili.
In the final he met the explosive 21-year-old Ilia Sulamanidze, who he lost to in their last meeting. But Korrel didn’t make the same mistake twice.
A lightning fast bit of footwork got the decisive waza-ari on the Georgian, and evened the score between the two incredible Judoka
He was awarded his medal by Skander Hachicha, Sports Director of the International Judo Federation.
At over 100kg, the current european champion Jur Spijkers took on Mongolia’s Odkhuu. A fast dropping technique earned a second gold medal for the Netherlands on the final day in Zagreb.
Yasuhiro Yamashita, IJF Executive Committee Member and International Olympic Commitiee Member, awarded the medals.
Georgia’s Beka Gviniashvili also came out on top in the final defeating Rafael Macedo from Brazil in the under 90kg category.
He scored two strong waza-ari scores, culminating in an ippon knockout blow. The powerhouse Georgian claimed his 26th IJF World Tour medal.
Dr Laszlo Toth, Vice President of the International Judo Federation and President of the European Judo Federation, was on hand to award the medals.
At under 78kg, the UK's Natalie Powell took on the number one seed Inbal Lanir from Israel in the final.
A fantastic piece of progressive ne-waza saw the determined Powell latch onto a strangle and apply increasing pressure until Lanir was forced to submit.
With regular appearances on the podium, Powell is a high achiever in the under 78kg category, but she was delighted to take her first gold in over two years.
She was awarded her medals by Dr Sanda Corak, Education Director of the IJF.
“It was really extra special today, because my coach that I’ve worked with for the last eight years. It’s his last competition with me. So yeah to finish it on a gold medal, with Darren Warner by my side, was the icing on the cake,” she said after claiming her medal.
At over 78kg, Israel’s Raz Hershko declared a tactical victory over Serbia’s Milica Zabic.
The medals were awarded by Armen Bagdasarov, Head Referee Director of the IJF.
Heavyweight Croatian Judo was on display on the final day of the Zagreb Grand Prix, and some of the best Ippons came from local talent. It was a fantastic way to wrap up this year’s Zagreb Grand Prix.