11 February 2024


Györ European Open 2024


Last year, Team Austria added yet another international coach to their arsenal. Aready with German Yvonne SNIR-BOENISCH as head coach, and Robert KRAWCZYK of Poland, saying goodbye to Felipe KITADAI (Brazil) left a hole in the team which desperately needed filling. In November, they welcomed former Czech coach and double Olympian, Jaromir JEZEK, who took his last IJF World Tour result in 2016, a Grand Prix silver in Almaty.

Today, he sits in the chair for the Austrian athletes, and although it’s a new team, this seasoned coach feels right at home.

I have been in Austria since November in 2023, so not very long! They took me in to a nice judo family in Austria and I feel so good, the coaches and federation helped me so much with everything and I do my best in the chair as well as on the mat. I feel really great, today was successful and we have so much potential with boys and the girls. I want to bring to the team my experience, both as an athlete in my judo career and as a coach in Czech, they are open to me and I am open to them. 

We are really looking forward to the Grand Prix in Linz, we will have a lot of young guys competing and getting that experience, I am excited for them as I am the U21 coach, so yes, we will see, but it is their showtime in Linz. 

But before we get to Linz, let’s look at the performances that brought about a gold, silver and bronze.

Both Marcus AUER and Laura KALLINGER are adjusting to new weight categories (-66kg and -57kg respectively), and today they proved that the changes made were the correct decisions. Auer was of course delighted with his gold achievement today, but equally stunned,

I’m really happy and I never believed that I would do it. I never thought I would be in the final block, I just wanted to fight and have fun and get used to the new weight category. I think it was a really hard semi final fight, we didn’t give each other anything and especially such a long time, it makes you so happy to take the win. 

In the final it was equally as tough but he found a way in to ne waza, a specialty of his today, and won the right have the national anthem played.

I think it was a better decision for the long term that I moved up, and I decided after the Junior World Championships last year, it just didn’t make sense to be cutting so much and now I’m feeling better. 

Kallinger went in the opposite direction and moved down from -63kg,

I made the move around three competitions ago, two European Opens and the U23 European Championships, and now I’ve continued this year, I’m much more settled in it. I was really exhausted after this semi final match [Jana ] and I managed to sleep for 1.5 hours afterwards but I was just so happy to win that one. Last year I had three 5th places so I just felt like finally I know I have a medal for sure, no matter how it turns out. I was very calm and very happy. 

I think it’s the best result is the best one, I had 5th at the European Championships but it was U23, so I think it’s the best result I’ve ever had. My mum is here and she is always the loudest in the hall but this was good. 

All in all, a great day for Austria, the third medal coming from Lukas REITER, and they are now looking forward to the Upper Austria Grand Prix in Linz from March 8-10.


Author: Thea Cowen