KRPALEK CONTINUES HIS SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT CLIMB WITH GOLD IN HOHHOT

Grand Prix Hohhot 2017

It is unlikely that Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) envisaged being one of the top seeds at the forthcoming world championships when he stepped up to the +100kg category five months ago. However, Krpalek’s position as one of the top eight is now assured after his gold medal winning performance on day three of the Hohhot Grand Prix. In what was a fascinatingly tense and at times riveting outing, Krpalek demonstrated that he has, in quick time, established himself as a genuine contender among the super-heavyweights.

After a first round win by ippon against Adli ORAZBAYEV (KAZ) Krpalek confirmed his status as “the real deal” by disposing of the number one, three and four seeds. In the quarter final it was 2011 world bronze medallist KIM Sung Min (KOR) who took Krpalek the distance, the South Korean losing by a single score of waza ari. In the semi final Krpalek came from a waza ari down against number one seed Andrey VOLKOV (RUS) to first throw the Russian with sumi gaeshi for waza ari before securing osaekomi for ippon with only 20 seconds left on the clock. In the final Krpalek again found himself behind when he was thrown for waza ari by ULZIIBAYAR Durenbayar (MGL). Yet again the Czech fighter had to dig deep and this time, with only nine seconds left on the clock, Krpalek threw Ulziibayar for waza ari with sumi gaeshi then secured osae komi with kuzure kesa gatame from which Ulziibayar submitted.

Next up for Krpalek will be the world championships in Budapest. He is by no means the finished article but today was yet another step on the road to his becoming firmly established as one of the top super heavyweights in world judo.

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