Judo fans enjoyed an action-packed final day of the inaugural Judo Grand Prix in Upper Austria.
The third and final day of the inaugural Judo Grand Prix in Upper Austria was set to be filled with excitement, and it didn’t disappoint.
The local crowd was welcomed by their Olympic medallists Michaela Polleres and Shamil Borchasvili, and got to hear from their heroes before the Judo was underway.
Two veterans of the -90kg contested the day’s first final, Krisztian Toth and Axel Clerget, and showed true values, laughing together even while initially disagreeing with who had earned the score.
The Hungarian won out, but both were winners here as they showed why Judo is held in such high esteem for its values of friendship and respect.
Member of Parliament of Austria Ms Agnes Sirkka Prammer was on hand to award the medals.
At -78kg it was a rematch of the 2021 World Final and former World Champion Anna-Maria Wagner of Germany looked back to her blistering best, countering Madeleine Malonga’s attack and securing a hold down for the Gold medal. She was delighted and celebrated with the local fans who so clearly look up to such a fantastic role model.
She was awarded her medal by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Ms Tina Trstenjak.
“It was really cool, a lot of people from my home country came, and also my parents were here so it was really nice," said Anna-Maria Wagner. "A nice crowd and also in the final I heard cheering for me so it was really cool.”
Brazil’s Leonardo Goncalves was on top form all day, this lightning-fast attack in the final against Germany’s Louis Mai earning him the -100kg Gold medal, a great chance for local fans to get the signature of an up-and-coming Judo star.
He was awarded his medal by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Mr Bukhbat Mashbat.
At +78kg Takahashi Ruri took gold, transitioning fast to groundwork to secure the win. The medals were awarded by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Mr Giuseppe Maddaloni.
Two-time Olympic Champion Lukas Krpalek was back at +100kg, having only competed at -100kg two weeks ago at the World Championships. He took a tactical gold before giving locals a chance to meet a legend. The medals were awarded by IJF Head Referee Director Mr Armen Bagdasarov.
“I like the Austrian people, the Austrian atmosphere, and also in the Austrian league," said Lukas Krpalek. "This is why I come here, and why I compete here in this competition [...] Because I love every competition that is in Austria.”
After Austria took gold yesterday, the home fans were hungry for more medals, and the local team didn’t disappoint.
Thomas Scharfetter brought the crowd to their feet to end an incredibly successful first event for Austrian Judo and the Upper Austria area - a cacophony of sound, filled with cheers and adulations, echoed through the whole of Upper Austria.