9 March 2024


Linz Grand Prix 2024


Only two years older, but incomparably stronger: Joanne VAN LIESHOUT (NED/-63) was the star of the 2nd competition day of the UPPER AUSTRIA JUDO GRAND PRIX in LINZ from an international perspective. The 21-year-old Dutchwoman won only her second World Tour event after 2022 in Portugal. Despite her young age, Joanne has long since arrived in the world class. With her victory in Linz, she should have made the leap back into the top 10 of the world rankings, most recently finishing third at the Grand Slam in Baku, as well as in Tokyo and at last year’s World Championships in Doha. She also has her Olympic ticket for Paris in the bag. “I’ve taken another step forward with this victory, I’ve improved technically and was able to put some of the things I learnt in training into practice today. When I think back to Portugal 2022, I’m so much better now. Back then, my judo was still pretty chaotic and spontaneous. I now fight more tactically and therefore also more cleverly,” said a delighted Joanne Van Lieshout. Next start: Tbilisi (GEO). Will she win her first Grand Slam title then? “I’ve finished third four times so far. I feel in good shape. But the Grand Slam is another matter. It’s important to me that I show my best side there as well. I want to get even better, then the first Grand Slam win will come soon.” When asked about Linz, Van Lieshout said: “The atmosphere is really good here, I felt very comfortable.”

Adil OSMANOV (MDA), who prevailed in the up to 73 kg category, also has a special relationship with Austria. “I like Austria, I feel at home here. Last year I won my first World Tour medal here (bronze), this year my first gold,” laughed the European Championship fifth-placer. “I always seem to have good luck in Austria!”

Other winners on day 2 of the competition: Maria PEREZ (PUR/-70) and Antonio ESPOSITO (ITA/-81). Japan continues to lead the medal table ahead of Sunday (3rd and final day of competition), even though the Asians “only” had two bronze medals to celebrate on Saturday (Minami AONO/-63, Joji TOGO/-81). Austria is currently ranked 17th out of 78 nations (with Michaela POLLERES/-70th bronze).

Author: EJU Media