Monday, 10 October 2022

Barbara Matić Takes Gold in First All-Croatian Judo World Cup Final!

October 10, 2022 - Current world champion Barbara Matić and fellow countrywoman Lara Cvjetko fought for the gold medal in the Judo World Cup final on Monday! 

After beating their Japanese opponents in the semi-final, the current world champion Barbara Matić and her fellow countrywoman Lara Cvjetko fought each other for the gold medal at the Judo World Cup in the category up to 70 kilograms. After a minute and a half, the 27-year-old Matić defended the world champion title against Cvjetko. 

There wasn't too much pressure for Croatia fans, as no matter the outcome, a Croatian judoka would take the gold at the biggest judo event this year in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Croatia absolutely dominated the women's category up to 70 kg, and today we watched the first all-Croatian final in the history of judo.

The match took place at 2 pm Croatia time between the current world champion and top-ranked Barbara Matić and 21-year-old Lara Cvjetko.

The category up to 70 kg, with 44 competitors, was also the busiest in the judoka competition at this year's World Championship. After both Croatian participants were free in the first round, they had four fights each on the way to the final. Matić defeated Hilde Jager (NED), Aleksandra Samardžić (BiH), Gulnoza Matniyazov (UZB), and Shiho Tanaka (JPN). At the same time, Lara Cvjetko was better than Margaux Pinot (FRA), Martina Esposito (ITA), Sanne Van Dijke (NED), and Saki Niizoe (JPN).

How demanding this weight category is, is shown by the fact that the Olympic silver medal winner in Tokyo Polleres (AUT), the bronze medalist Van Dijke (NED), and 2019 World Cup gold medalist Gahie (FRA), and bronze medalist Pinot (FRA) lost in the elimination fights.

Source: HRT

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Friday, 15 July 2022

Grand Prix Zagreb: Over 500 to Compete in Judo Spectacle at Arena Zagreb

July 15, 2022 - This weekend, 516 judokas from 69 countries will compete for 2024 Olympic points at the Grand Prix Zagreb!

From Friday to Sunday, Arena Zagreb will be the scene of the ninth edition of the Grand Prix Zagreb judo tournament, where 516 judokas from 69 countries will compete for Olympic points for the 2024 Paris Games, reports HJS.

"Last weekend, at the Grand Slam in Budapest, many judoka men and women asked me about Zagreb. Everyone said that they like to come, that they are looking forward to it, so we are also glad to have the best in the world in our country," said world champion Barbara Matić (up to 70 kg) at the press conference.

She is one of 17 Croatian names in the draw, including all three medalists from the Mediterranean Games in Algeria, Ana Viktorija Puljiz (up to 52 kg), Iva Oberan (up to 63 kg), and Petrunjela Pavić (up to 78 kg).

It is Puljiz who will "break the ice" as far as Croatian competitors are concerned in Arena Zagreb, and on Friday, Tihea Topolovec (up to 57 kg) and Leon Đapić (up to 66 kg) will also compete.

"Performing at home, in front of our fans, is always a special thing and an additional motive. After the medal at last year's Grand Prix Zagreb and the recent Mediterranean Games, I come without too much pressure and want to show my best judo," announced Puljiz, who starts against the American Jarrell. Topolovec awaits her first-round opponent, and Đapić goes against the Briton Fryer.

Six Croatian representatives will compete on Saturday. Oberan will fight against German Winzig, Lara Cvjetko (up to 70 kg) will face the experienced Cuban Perez, world vice-champion from 2017, and Matić will meet an old acquaintance, Hungarian Gerscak. In the same category, Anđela Violić awaits Colombia's Rodriguez, 16th in the world ranking. In the men's competition, Robert Klačar (up to 73 kg) will take on Morka from Poland, while Marin Franušić (up to 81 kg) will face Moldovan Zaborosciuc.

"After the medal in Budapest and Zagreb, it would be nice to continue in the same rhythm, but we will go fight by fight. We have a strong national team, we all have a chance for a medal, and it is especially nice to win it in front of our fans, which I hope will fill the stands of the Arena," said Matić.

On Sunday, from 10 am, eight Croatian representatives will compete. Pavić goes against Venezuelan Leon, Tina Radić (over 78 kg) awaits Alqahtani from Saudi Arabia, and Ivana Maranić (over 78 kg) goes against Turkish judoka Akbulut. In the same category, Helena Vuković will fight against Moroccan Bensale.

In the men's competition, Josip Bulić (up to 90 kg) will fight against Serbian representative Brašnjović, Zlatko Kumrić (up to 100 kilograms) goes against German Mai, Marko Kumrić (up to 100 kg) against Georgian Sulamanidze, and Marcelo Škalec (over 100 kilograms) awaits Montenegrin Dubret.

Everyone who buys a ticket for the Grand Prix Zagreb 2022, which they can do at, helps children without adequate parental care in cooperation with the Vaša pošta foundation. Furthermore, on Saturday (4 pm), members of the Fuji judo club for persons with disabilities will perform a judo demonstration at the official opening of the competition.

"This is a big deal for the Fuji demo team but also all judokas because we show that judo is not only a sport but also a way of life. The way that includes all segments of society," said Marina Drašković, president of Fuji.

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Friday, 20 August 2021

Barbara Matić #1 Judoka in the World!

August 20, 2021 - Following the Tokyo Olympics, the International Judo Federation (IJF) has announced a new ranking of the world’s best judokas. The current world champion and the best Croatian judoka, Barbara Matić, took the top spot in the category up to 70 kg, while Karla Prodan is eighth in the category up to 78 kg.

The best result in the performances of Croatian judokas so far at the Olympic Games, fifth place in Tokyo, helped Barbara Matić jump by seven positions and become the first name in the category up to 70 kg, reports HRT.

"I am proud because I sat at the very top of my category. Although the world gold brought the most points, the whole season was good, and the result is world number 1. At the same time, it is my motivation for even stronger work because there are so many quality judokas, and I want to stay on top in the coming years as I look towards Paris," said Matić, while coach Vladimir Preradović offered a similar view:

"This is a great thing for Barbara and Croatian judo and JK Pujanke. It is the result of twenty years of work and commitment to continue to be quality, as well as to raise others, from Karla to younger and new names to come."

Barbara Matić is from Split and is a two-time world junior champion in the women's 70 kg division and the bronze medalist at the 2014 and 2017 European Judo Championships as well. 

The winner of the European senior bronze medal from Prague in 2020, Karla Prodan, jumped 15 places and came in 8th place in the world ranking of the category up to 78 kg.

For the first time in one year, Croatian judo has two names in the Top 10 judokas, in its categories, with winning the first medal at the world championships and the fight for the Olympic medal.

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Saturday, 3 July 2021

Judoka Ivana Maranić Receives Olympic Invitation for First Time at 29!

July 3, 2021 - Ivana Maranić received an invitation to Tokyo to compete in the Games for the first time at 29. The Croatia judo team will have three representatives at the Olympics for the first time in history! 

The International Judo Federation (IJF) sent an invitation letter to participate in the Olympic tournament to the Croatia national team member Ivana Maranić in the over 78 kg category, reports HRT.

Maranić, a member of JK Panda from Zagreb, was seventh below the line for participation in Tokyo on the first list of the IJF. Still, due to injuries and the cancellation of better-ranked competitors, she received an invitation for her premiere performance at the Olympics at the age of 29. Thus, for the first time in history, Croatia judo will have three representatives at the Olympics, before the right to participate was secured by the world champion Barbara Matić (up to 70 kg) and Karla Prodan (up to 78 kg), members of JK Pujanke from Split.

Maranić is the winner of the world junior bronze medal from 2010. She works with coach Goran Strmotić and welcomed the news from the EJU training camp in Poreč.

"Huge luck! So many different feelings and thoughts in my head! Proud, happy, excited. After so many challenges and work, performing at the Olympic Games will be the crown of everything," said Maranić.

Croatian judo was represented by Marijana Mišković (up to 63 kg) and Tomislav Marijanović (up to 81 kg) at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Barbara Matić (up to 70 kg) in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Numerous Olympic, world, and European champions are preparing for Tokyo at the camp in Poreč. Along with Barbara Matić, the current world champion Belgian Matthias Casse is also looking to focus and polish his form for a quality performance in Japan. Furthermore, the current Olympic winners from Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Czech Lukas Krpalek and Slovenian Tina Trstenja, are in Poreč preparing to defend their gold, and the European champions Belgian Toma Nikiforov, Kosovars Akil Gjakova, and Distria Krasniqi want new successes in Tokyo. 

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