The 1.500 spectators in the TipsArena in LINZ (AUT) were treated to a lot of emotion on the first day of the Upper Austria Open. IJF athlete spokesperson and climate ambassador Sabrina FILZMOSER (-57), 42, competed for Judo Austria squad for the last tim eand celebrated a much acclaimed first round victory against Maysa PARDAYEVA (TKM). In round two she was eliminated by Hasret BOZKURT (TUR).
Bernadette GRAF (-70), who announced her retirement just a few days ago, was officialy adopted by the local organizers. The 30-year-old Tyrolean won 5 European Championship bronze medals and celebrated no less than 139 victories in 218 fights, 81 of them by Ippon. “My back is no longer cooperating.
It is the perfect time for me to stop. Last week I took my last exam in the police training. Next week I will be on duty for the first time. I am looking forward to the new phase of my life,” Graf said.
The sporting story of the day for hosts Austria was made by Florian DOPPELHAMMER (AUT/-66), who made his World Tour debut at the age of 33. Actually, the local hero from the UJZ Mühlviertel
(not far from Linz) works as a national coach and judo teacher. At the
Grand Prix in Linz, ÖJV head coach Yvonne SNIR-BÖNISCH gave him an unexpected chance.
“I didn’t expect anymore to be able to compete on an international stage .
on a big stage again. Today, before the start of the competition, I would have been
satisfied with just one win,” Florian confessed afterwards. In the end
he was the best Austrian in fifth place – which means that he is now an official
National Team A squad athlete. “Florian surprised us all,” emphasized Snir-Bönisch.
As expected, the host did not have much to do with the fight for victory or the medals. In the duel for bronze, Doppelhammer lost to the higher rated Spaniard Alberto Gaitero Martin, No. 18 in the world rankings, after 27 seconds (with a stranglehold). Of course, this did not change the jubilation about his “special day”.
The international headlines were shared by five protagonists from five different countries. Europe could be happy about a total of four titles. The victory of Pleuni CORNELISSE (NED/-57) came as a surprise. The 23-year-old Dutchwoman achieved her first countable result in over a year and a total of eleven tournaments. In the semifinals the world number 38 defeated former world champion Daria BILODID (UKR), in the final she kept the upper hand against Leija BALLHAUS (GER).
Junior World Championship bronze medallist Roman VALADIER PICARD (FRA/-60) put an exclamation mark on the tournament. The 20-year-old celebrated five wins in a row and won his first gold medal on the World Tour.
Rio Olympic champion Fabio BASILE (ITA/-66) was pleased with third place after recovering from shoulder surgery. “I am satisfied, it is going better from week to week. I feel really comfortable in my former weight class.” The victory went to David GARCIA TORNE (ESP). The fourth European gold medal was provided by Marusa STANGAR (SLO), who celebrated her second Grand Prix victory after a five-year break (Tbilisi 2018).
Petros CHRISTODOULIDES (CYP) ensured a historic success. The 18-year-old took the first IJF Grand Prix medal for the island nation with third place.
Author: EJU Media