William Lima and Jessica Pereira both fought hard to take home gold for their country at day one of the Judo tournament in Croatia.
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a city of contrasts. A modern metropolis with rich history and culture. From its medieval streets and landmarks to its contemporary architecture and vibrant nightlife, Judo make Zagreb its home this weekend.
600 Children from across Croatia attended a judo training camp in Zagreb led by Majlinda Kelmendi and Hedvig Karakas. They taught the young judo fans the basics of judo in a safe and supportive environment, developing important life skills like self-control, courage, and respect. An experience the burgeoning judoka won’t forget.
The Arena Zagreb was packed for the -48kg where Mireia Lapuerta Comas took her first gold medal on the World Judo Tour. Defeating the more experienced Milica Nikolic, by scoring two waza-aris.
IJF Secretary General Dr Lisa Allan awarded the medals.
“It’s amazing, I didn’t expect it when I went out, it was like, wow, so many people in this crowd. It was so, so good, really. It’s like when I was young, not too many years ago, I just dreamed of this and now I’m here, it’s like a dream, really, I’m so happy,” said Lapuerta
At -60kg, Dilshot Khalamatov attacked hard throughout his contest, and ultimately took a tactical victory to attain the gold medal in front of enthusiastic local fans.
IJF Ambassador Dr Antonio Castro awarded the medals.
At -52kg, Jessica Pereira of Brazil was in fantastic form, in the final she secured a waza-ari to earn the gold medal in Zagreb, and the Judo fans in the crowd were exuberant.
The medals were awarded by IJF Refereeing Supervisor Mr Carlo Knoester.
At -66kg another Brazilian, Willian Lima had been on fire all day, and after an amazing semi-final, he entered the gold medal match with confidence.
In the end, earning a tactical victory due to penalties. His first gold medal on the World Judo Tour and the fans were thrilled to meet one of their heroes.
IJF Head Referee Director Mr Armen Bagdasarov awarded the medals.
“Zagreb is incredible for me, because my first European Cup medal in Cadets was gold here. This is my second gold medal here in Zagreb. The people make good memories of this place and now for a second time, I’m very happy at this moment of my life here in Zagreb,” said Lima.
At -57kg Marica Perisic produced an unusual sacrifice technique and followed directly into a hold down to secure the ippon and the gold medal. It was a first Grand Prix gold for the Serbian after Grand Slam success earlier this year in Tbilisi.
Awarding the medals was IJF Head Referee Director Mr Florin Daniel Lascau.
That’s a wrap on Day 1 of the 2023 Zagreb Grand Prix! The local kids loved cheering on their favourite athletes and are excited to see what the next two days will bring.