Barbara Matic and Lara Cvjetko, the country’s two most decorated judo athletes, seeded 1 and 2 at the event, meeting in the final.
The Zagreb judo Grand Prix is officially back for day two.
Declaring the Grand Prix officially open with speeches were the Republic of Croatia Prime Minister Personal Representative Mr Tomislav Druzak, Vice President of the International Judo Federation, Dr. Laszlo Toth, and President of the Croatian Judo Federation, Dr. Sanda Čorak.
This was followed by an impressive local club, Judo Club Profectus and Judo Club Ishi, who treated the applauding audience to a demonstration of inclusive judo.
A packed out crowd cheered for the athletes in -63kg, where Great Britain’s Lucy Renshall defeated Jisu Kim on penalties, earning her first Grand Prix gold medal to the delight of the fans.
Awarding the medals was Republic of Croatia Prime Minister Personal Representative Mr Tomislav Druzak.
At -73kg, Jorge Cano Garcia of Spain won his first ever World Judo Tour medal with an incredible ippon, delighting the crowd.
IJF Education & Coaching Director Mr Mohammed Meridja awarded the medals.
“I feel so great because of the gold but it’s pretty good to exit the mat and sign someone’s autograph and take some pictures and see the expression of the kids,” said Garcia.
Sagi Muki of Israel came from behind to score two waza-ari’s and win another gold for his collection.
Republic of Croatia Minister of Defence Envoy Mr Ivan Jusic awarded the medals.
At -70kg it was the Croatian final that fans were all waiting for, Lara Cvjetko fought hard and scored a waza-ari against her compatriot Barbara Matic to take the top spot on the podium to the joy of fans. An abundance of respect and friendship between the two Croatian stars was shared.
IJF Education Director Dr Sanda Čorak awarded the medals.
“It felt really great to be a part of the big crowd that cheered on both of us, and I felt really motivated for the fight when I heard voices from children and my loved ones and my coach and everyone cheering on me. It was really a special feeling but also a really hard fight,” said Cvjetko.
Local Croatian judoka were scoring ippon in style here in the Arena Zagreb much to the delight of the packed out crowd, full of young judoka. An inspiring sight for the next generation.
Day two at the Zagreb Grand Prix was a showcase of the best judo in the world. There will be more tomorrow.