Uta Abe wins against his compatriot Olympic champion at the Judo Grand Prix in Zagreb
Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, once again hosted its annual Grand Prix, and the competition brought together the best in the world.
In -48kg, world silver medalist Wakana Koga forced her opponent into submission in the final with a well-executed choke.
Dr. Laszlo Toth, IJF Vice President and EJU President, was on hand to present the medals.
At less than 60 kg, the Kazakh Shamshadin Magzhan had a great day. He was thrilled to win his first-ever gold medal on the world circuit.
He received his medal from Mr. Ante Zigman, Chairman of the Board of the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency.
All the talk today was about Olympic champion Uta Abe, who returned to international competition today for the first time since Tokyo, knocking out every one of her opponents. The young Japanese star quickly qualified for the final.
There she would meet the current Olympic underweight champion, who has been making waves at under 52kg. Distria Krasniqi was also on fire and the judo world is waiting for the final.
The battle was an incredible spectacle. A moment of brilliance, followed by a quick transition into preparatory work, has settled the debate for now.
Dr. Sanda Corak, Director of Education of the IJF presented their medals to the two Olympic champions.
“My brother and I had a very happy life with our family after winning gold together at the Tokyo Olympics,” Abe said.
“Now we have a new goal, to win the gold medal at the Paris Olympics. We are very determined”.
Azerbaijan’s Yashar Najafov made a statement at under 66kg, with lightning-fast techniques en route to the final.
He met Italian Matteo Piras, where a tight score from Waza-ari secured his victory.
Mr. Mohammed Meridja, Director of Education and Training of the IJF, presented the medals.
“For me, the best moment was the pitch in the semi-finals…it’s my favorite and best pitch. And on the podium, the podium,” Najafov said.
At less than 57 kg, Christa Deguchi returned to the arena. She is one of the most exciting judokas of recent years.
After a series of poor form, the Canadian presented some of the most exciting and classic judo of the day.
Eteri Liparteliani met her, but she couldn’t stop Deguchi.
She received the gold medal from Mr. Siniša Krajač, Secretary General of the Croatian Olympic Committee.