17 February 2024


Baku Grand Slam 2024


Lubjana PIOVESANA (AUT/-63) beat the world number 1 and 2 at the Grand Slam in Baku and won gold. Her reward: 4,000 euros and 1,000 world ranking points. The 27-year-old is already scratching at the top 10 in the Olympic rankings. “It’s like a dream, simply incredible!” “Lulu” in the winner’s interview about…

… the competition day in general: “It was an almost perfect day. I told myself before every fight: Don’t think about the result, just sell yourself well. And think about your tactical concept. That actually worked really well. It was only in the final that I had real difficulties in the first few minutes. Catherine is incredibly strong in ne-waza. At one point, she had me in a chokehold and pinched my nose… I almost tapped. It’s a good thing I kept fighting. When I changed my grip and reached over her shoulder with my left hand, things went better.”

… the final against No. 1 BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD (CAN) in particular: “The final turning point was the waza-ari score. Even if it was taken back again by the judges. But that fuelled my fighting spirit. From then on, I convinced myself: You’re going to win this, you’ve earned gold. You can do it! And really, suddenly I had her in position to go for the ura-nage. I went all in and the reward was gold!”

… the significance of her maiden Grand Slam victory: “It means the world to me, all the more so because the draw was really tough. I beat a lot of really strong girls today – including the No. 1 and No. 2 of the IJF world ranking. I’ve finally arrived in the world class. This is an incredible confidence boost for me. I know I can beat anyone, even the best of the best!

… her new adopted home of Austria: “I’ve lived here for three years, have teammate Laurin Böhler as my boyfriend and feel very much at home in Vorarlberg. I want to spend my whole life here. Austria is my new home, that’s for sure.”

… her sporting achievements after 13 months in the ÖJV national team and a total of 17 tournaments: “Being number 20 in the IJF ranking was already incredible. So was the 5th place at the World Championships in Doha. I would have been really happy with a win at a European Open. I was quite good as a Brit in the junior class. But I didn’t get a lot of adult events. Now I can fight as much as I want. I’m getting better and better at managing my nervousness. I’m not just arrived in Austria, I’ve finally arrived in adult judo too.”

… her next competition: “From 8 March, the World Tour will be in LINZ (AUT), in the Tips Arena. That will be my next event. The plan so far has been to fight in as many tournaments as possible. I will now look at this in detail with our head coach Yvonne SNIR-BÖNISCH. But I’ll definitely be competing in Linz and the European Championships in Zagreb. I want to make the most of my top form!”


Author: EJU Media