There are times when the pressure of being the favourite, the number one seed, proves too difficult a task to manage. That was not the case today as Nora GJAKOVA (KOS) worked her way confidently through the filed to take the gold medal in the -57kg on the opening day of the Antalya Grand Prix. Gjakova managed to finish all of her four fights by ippon including a win in the final against the experienced KIM Jandi (KOR).
Gjakova’s performance was as solid as could be expected and it is one that bodes well for the 25-year old Kosovar who will be one of the top seeds at the forthcoming European Championships to be staged in Tel Aviv later this month.
When asked about her preparations for this competition Gjakova said:
“I’ve just come direct from two weeks of preparation for the forthcoming European Championships. But of course I am very happy to do my best and win here today.
It’s difficult to shift focus and, if truth be told, I was thinking a great deal about what is coming up in Tel Aviv. I have had three semi final losses and ended up with bronze at European championships. So I am eager to change that and win gold.”
With regard to the future Gjakova said:
“I suppose the bronze in Baku at the European Games was a big achievement. But I want to make my mark on the world stage not just in Europe. So with the World Championships in Baku coming up perhaps the timing and the omens will be good and that is definitely something I am looking forward to.”
In response to what she found most pleasing about her win today Gjakova answered:
“I am enjoying a good run of success at Grand Prix events. I hope it will continue. I had some strong motivation from my team mates today especially when before my final I was able to hear our anthem being played for Distria Krasniqi who won gold in the -52kg category.”