30 May 2023


Linz Grand Prix 2023


EJU President László TOTH paid a visit to the Upper Austria Grand Prix in Linz last weekend. On Monday the 63-year-old Hungarian travelled to the European Small States Championships in Malta, and on Thursday he is hosting a preparatory meeting in Budapest for the upcoming IJF Masters in Hungary’s capital. Before his departure from Linz, László Tóth (on the photo with Judo Austria President Martin Poiger) took time for a short interview.
How do you rate the Grand Premiere in LINZ (AUT)?
László Tóth: “For the European Judo Union every new tournament in Europe is a gain. Especially when everything works as it did on the three competition days in Linz. You can see that judo enjoys a strong following in Upper Austria. On all days there were a lot of children and young people in the stands cheering on their idols. Just one example: there was a 33-year-old teacher and judo coach fighting for Austria. All his school classes were sitting in the stands cheering him on. In the end, he almost won bronze. Or Shamil Borchashvili’s victory – it’s nice when there are enough role models for our young people to emulate. That’s what we’re working for!”
You also had time to talk to the top politicians of the province of Upper Austria. How did they like the Grand Prix premiere?
Tóth: “It was a perfect day for them – with Shamil Borchashvili a judoka from Upper Austria won. The hall really went crazy. I don’t think the governor of Upper Austria expected such an atmosphere. And he and his companions were impressed by the professional organisation – on the part of the IJF and on the part of the local organiser. Apart from the fact that the Linz Grand Prix is secured until 2026, I can imagine Linz hosting judo events more often in the future. The GP was an ideal start.”
Did you have any other meetings on your agenda?
Tóth: “I had a long talk with the German Judo Federation – with President Thomas SCHYNOL and Board Spokesman Frank DÖTSCH. Germany has around 120,000 judoka and is a very important market for us. In mid-November, Potsdam will host the European Under-23 Championships. We would like to have more international events in Germany.”
In your capacity as president of the Hungarian Judo Federation: How busy are you already with the Masters preparations for Budapest?
Tóth: “On Thursday we have the next organisation meeting. We have already organised all the tournaments with the Hungarian Judo Federation up to the World Championships in the general class. Only the MASTERS, the second most important tournament of the year (1,800 world ranking points for first place), has been missing so far. This is the last missing link in the chain. We want to show once again that we are world class as judo organisers. That will also please the EJU president…”


Author: EJU Media