All eyes were on Andreja Leski. After her Silver Medal at the Budapest World Championships, she came to Zagreb to prove she was a podium topper! She demolished her way through the preliminaries, with her usual style of attacking Judo that she is fast becoming known.
In the final, calm and collected, she took on the ever-improving Geke Van Den Berg from the Netherlands. A fantastic last-minute sacrifice attack saw Leski go ahead with only seconds to go – holding on to this lead she claimed the Gold medal for Slovenia.
Mr. Vladimir Barta, Head Sport Director of the IJF, awarded Leski her Gold medal.
We asked her how she stays so calm before fighting.
“Well, today, there was a really good song going on, so I danced a little bit, and this made me calm. So it’s one with another, said Leski. “I don’t know, usually, “I try to not put too much pressure on myself, and it works”.
Tato Grigalashvili, also a World Silver medalist in Budapest. He too won all of his fights to the final in emphatic style, all by Ippon – showing off his usual powerful style of Judo.
His Georgian power and speed were on display, giving his fast-growing fanbase much to cheer about.
In the final, a clever change of direction gave him the decisive score to accomplish his goal of being golden once again.
He was awarded his medal by Mr. Armen Bagdasarov, Head Referee Director of the International Judo Federation.
“This is the second medal for me at a Grand Prix, so I knew the taste of a Grand Prix Gold medal, said Grigalashvili. “But you know I’m always happy when I’m standing on the podium and the Georgian anthem is playing, this is a fantastic feeling for me”.
And there was more Gold for Slovenia. Dominance all day in groundwork saw Anka Pogacnik takes her first Grand Prix Gold in 4 years!
Mr. Ruben Houkes, Director of the IJF Children Commission, awarded Pogacnik her medal.
At under 73kg, Hidayat Heydarov took Gold after an epic exchange with Moldova’s Victor Sterpu. Battling it out, the Azerbaijan Judoka took the ascendancy and celebrated with the passion typical of a Judoka from Azerbaijan.
Mr. Akinobu Osako, IJF Refereeing Supervisor, was on hand to award the medals.
The home nation held their own on Day 2, with some fantastic sacrifice techniques all throughout the preliminaries. But this hip throw was the shining example of Croatian Judo.