After an incredibly successful World Championships, the World Judo Tour delighted crowds in Upper Austria in its first-ever Grand Prix event.
The TipsArena Linz was packed full of young Judoka who were here to experience judo of the highest level and cheer on their local heroes.
Maruša Štangar was the star at -48kg, displaying her usual dominant groundwork, she turned the tables on her Spanish opponent Laura Martínez in the final to take her first Grand Prix Gold in sive years.
The Slovenian athlete celebrated with the young fans in attendance before sharing a beautiful moment with her coach.
Lovrencij Galuf, the Slovenian Judo Federation President handed her the gold.
“Austria, the audience, they are quite loud and like Sabrina Filzmoser is a pro in ne-waza, so maybe they are familiar with it, and it’s great that I can show my qualities also in ne-waza,” Maruša Štangar said.
At -60kg, Romain Valadier Picard struck gold. He was awarded his medals by IJF Education & Coaching Director Mohamed Meridja.
At -52kg, Kisumi Omori of Japan showed pure judo skill as she spectacularly defeated Roza Gyertyas of Hungary to take a first-ever grand prix gold. She was awarded her medals by IJF Director General Vlad Marinescu.
At -66kg, Spain’s David Garcia Torne also took a first-ever world tour gold as he powered past the impressive Kamran Suleymanov of Azerbaijan. The medals were awarded by Austrian Judo Federation President Martin Poiger.
“This is a very important medal for me because I didn’t have any gold, and it gives me extra confidence,” David Garcia Torne revealed.
At -57kg, Pleuni Cornelisse made sure it was third-time lucky. After two grand prix silvers this time it was a gold, which was awarded by IJF Head Referee Director Florin Daniel Lascau.
The knowledgeable Austrian crowd had an exciting first day as local hero Sabrina Filzmoser came out of retirement for one last tournament at home, as well as some young up-and-coming stars taking their chance to shine.
The organising federation also honoured retiring judoka Bernadette Graf, presenting her with a well-deserved award at a send-off in front of her home fans.
The energy in the arena was electric, and Upper Austria is ready for day two.