12 March 2024


Linz Grand Prix 2024


While the race has been on between Tokyo Olympic medallist, Anna Maria WAGNER and double European Champion Alina BOEHM of Germany, an outsider has been closing ranks as we approach the Paris Olympic Games 2024. Not many nations can boast of so many top ten players, but now Germany can be proud that they possess a triple threat, now that Anna Monta OLEK has moved up four places in the world ranking list to #10 following a tremendous, gold medal-winning performance in the Linz Grand Prix.

It has been 3/3 for Olek in 2024, this being her second Grand Prix win, as well as a Grand Slam bronze in Baku. It was a somewhat special experience in Linz however as she had some strong home support as well,

My mum and dad were here today and I’m sure you saw this as well, he is dressed very brightly, so even during my fight I could see him out of the corner of my eye and he was even on the camera quite often as well which I thought was funny. He has a very loud voice too, so when my coach was having to be quiet during the fight I could hear him in the crowd. It’s great to have them here and support me.

Anna Monta OLEK (GER) defeats Yuliia KURCHENKO (UKR) for gold. © Gabriela Sabau

Though it is never easy for the judoka on the IJF World Judo Tour, the first step was arguably the most important for Olek,

This is my best performance to date, I defeated some really strong people so I’m happy with that. My first fight was against the Japanese, and I think we all know how difficult they can be, their team is very strong, so once I had that out of the way I felt good. In the final, the longer the fight went, the better I felt. I knew she wouldn’t pick up any more shidos and we were deep in golden score so I just went for that o uchi and it came through.

Olek’s coach, Miguel OGANDO LOPES was delighted with her performance, not only today but in the past three months, she has gone from strength to strength.

It’s no big surprise. This is where she belongs. We work very hard at home to be prepared for whenever we get the chance. We work a lot at home to minimize mistakes due to her young age. She missed out in the final in Baku due to a mistake but we were able to fix it. (Which is why she won the gold today) – she lost to KURCHENKO in the semi final in Baku.

Anna Monta OLEK with coach, Miguel OGANDO LOPES. © Gabriela Sabau


Author: Thea Cowen