The gold medal goes to Laura FAZLIU (-63) from Kosovo. The 22-year-old still only speaks a little English. For the first winner’s interviews after the Masters triumph in Budapest, none other than Olympic champion Distria KRASNIQI had to step in as translator. What Krasniqi has to say about her training colleague: “For me, this victory is no surprise. It was only a matter of time until she celebrates her first victory on the World Tour. Laura is the rising judo star for us. She is our successor. She left her home in Mitrovica (70 km away) at the age of 14 and has been training with us in Pristina ever since. Laura has had to do without a lot, is incredibly ambitious.”
Laura Fazliu took revenge for her Masters final defeat in Jerusalem last December with her final victory over Miku TAKAICHI (JPN). On the way to her first major title, the under-23 European champion eliminated BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD defeater Renata ZACHOVA (CZE) and former world champion Megumi HORIKAWA (JPN), among others. “It’s unbelievable how she did today. Laura deserved to win and she definitely still has room for improvement. She is our big hope for Los Angeles 2028, but in this form she is also good for an Olympic medal in Paris next year. I am really proud,” beamed head coach Driton “Toni” KUKA.
“That I can stand on the podium again like in Jerusalem, I expected that. But to get gold, to celebrate my first victory on the World Tour, that is surprising for me as well. I felt very good from the first fight today, I wasn’t nervous. I think I deserved to win today. I learned from my mistakes in Jerusalem. When I knew we would fight each other again in the final, I thought I could surprise them. I managed to do that,” Laura Fazliu said. “Winning the Masters is a big step for me. But the big goal for me remains an Olympic medal!”
Author: EJU Media