The third day of the Upper Austria Grand Prix in Linz was dominated by two stars. On the one hand Anna-Maria WAGNER (GER), who had been injured at the shoulder lately, won gold up to 78 kg in a showdown with Madeleine Malonga. In the last of all finals double Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE/+100) triumphed against Losseni KONE (GER), who is 10 years younger. Afterwards both were available for short interviews.
Anna-Maria, how difficult was it for you to watch the World Championships infront of the TV recently due to injury?
Anna-Maria Wagner: “To be honest, not at all. My decision was obvious. Theoretically, I would have been ready for Doha with my left shoulder. But the preparation suffered. I didn’t have enough randori sessions beforehand… I wasn’t ready in terms of fitness either. That’s why it wasn’t so bad to watch the World Championships from home.”
How important is a Grand Prix event like Linz for you to build up your form?
Wagner: “It’s always easier to work towards a concrete goal. In my case, that was the participation here in Linz. The fact that I’m standing here now as the winner is a very good feeling. For my parents it was a four-hour drive. Friends of mine came from Düsseldorf. I could hear the cheers for me – that was really fun.”
In the final you had Madeleine Malonga, a mixed team Olympic champion and Olympic silver medallist, as your opponent. You won early with 2 Waza-ari scores – from the outside your success looked very confident. Are you already in top form again?
Wagner: “I miss the hard randori sessions. I still had problems at the beginning today. In comparison, it was relatively easy in the final. I didn’t have the feeling that I could lose control.”
What’s next for you now?
Wagner: “Next we fly to the Grand Prix in Dushanbe (TJK). Then there will be a two-week training camp in Japan. That’s perfect for me. There I’ll get the hard training sessions with world-class partners that I’ve been missing lately. I think I’ll be top fit again after Japan at the latest.”
Lukas, how tired are you now, only two weeks after the silver medal in Doha?
Lukas Krpalek: “I am tired, but on the other hand I felt much better today than at the World Championships. My flu was still in my bones, especially in the final. I had big problems with my condition then. Today it went really well – right from the start. I like fighting in Austria, I am often here. Now I’m going to switch off a bit and take a break – my next start will probably be at the Masters in Budapest in August.”
You won the heavyweight in Linz. You definitely want to qualify for Paris in two categories (-100/+100) – why?
Krpalek: “At my age you need challenges to really motivate yourself 100 per cent. The Olympic qualification for both weight categories is such a challenge. But for me it is clear that I want to compete in the -100 kg category in Paris. That excites me more.”
At first glance, we didn’t find any clause that prohibits you from competing in both categories at the Olympics. Would that even be conceivable?
Krpalek (laughs): “Well, if it is possible, I would try in both categories. But if I have to decide for one category, it will be eventually -100 kg. To win a second title there and a third in total is my declared goal.”
Author: EJU Media