11 March 2024


Linz Grand Prix 2024


There were some very important wins during the Linz Grand Prix, some allowed big decisions to become clearer, for example Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) offered an ‘unofficial’ statement, and it looks like we will see him compete in the +100kg category in the Paris Olympic Games. For others however, it was confirmation that belief and perseverance will prevail.

Karla PRODAN (CRO) had a tough day in the -78kg category, against the likes of Loriana KUKA (KOS) and a double hurdle from Team Japan, but still she battled on through to take her first medal in 1040 days, the bronze in Linz. It was clearly an emotional achievement, having to choke back the tears as she bowed to final opponent, double Junior World Champion, WADA Rinoko. Prodan’s previous medal was won in the 2021 Baku Grand Slam, however it has been a constant struggle with injuries that has prevented her from showcasing in recent times. Regardless, it was a fruitful day for the Tokyo Olympian,

It was a hard day, the effort paid off! I am very satisfied, about the fights, about the whole day and of course the medal. First of all, I’m glad that I fought well, that I looked good on the tatami, that I felt good, that I wasn’t under pressure, stiff, and that in the end I did my best. I showed that even when I’m not 100% ready that I belong to the top and that I showed it to others.

With the strength of the Croatian women’s team growing, coach Vladimir PREDADOVIĆ was equally pleased,

I didn’t know that so many days had passed, I know that we struggled with injuries for two years, there were really ups and downs. I know that we were at the bottom for a very long time, both physically and mentally, but we simply did not give up and here Karla proved once again that Karla is the strongest when she is most needed. As her coach and selector, I am extremely proud of her, of this result, she was extremely good today.

So, 1040 days since her last medal in Baku, but now there are only 47 days until the -78kg women will compete in the Zagreb Senior European Judo Championships, a huge test and a huge opportunity to perform in front of a supportive home crowd.


Author: Thea Cowen