Barbara Matić Takes Silver at Judo Grand Slam in Paris, One of World’s Strongest Events

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Davor Puklavec/PIXSELL
Davor Puklavec/PIXSELL

Croatian judoka Barbara Matić won second place at one of the strongest judo tournaments in the world, the Grand Slam in Paris, reports T.portal

The world champion won the silver medal in the category up to 70 kg, while Zlatko Kumrić lost in the category up to 100 kilograms in the semifinals, and then in the fight for bronze and finished fifth.

What Wimbledon is for tennis, the Paris grand slam is for judo. The jubilee 50th anniversary of the Grand Slam in the capital of France seems to have additionally inspired the Croatian duo.

“Competing in Paris is something special. Apart from the fact that there were more than 10,000 people in the beautiful hall, they are all judo experts, and it is a pleasure to fight there,” they both agreed after the current world champion Matić finished with a silver medal. Kumrić took fifth place in Paris for the fourth time in his career.

In her first appearance after the Tokyo Olympics, the first with a new red inscription on her back as the current world champion, she dominated until the final by defeating Mongolian Tserendulam and British Petersen Pollard. But in the final, Japan’s Niizoe was better.

“I didn’t feel most ready before Paris, but I’m happy with the first competition, and a silver medal at the Grand Slam is always a good result. Of course, I always want to win all the fights, but today Niizoe took advantage of the situation and she threw me. I failed, and she won gold,” said Matić, who very likely secured number 1 on the world ranking scale of the category up to 70 kg at the end of 2021, thanks to these points in Paris. 

Kumrić lost to Russian Ademian in the final block, first in the semifinals and on the same stage of the European Games in Minsk in 2019, and then he lost to Georgian Saneblidze in the fight for bronze.

“It was a good day, I reached the semifinals, but it’s time to win that medal; I’m starting to hate fifth place,” Kumric said after the defeat in the bronze medal fight.

Karla Prodan (up to 78 kg) and Marko Kumrić (up to 100 kg) also competed on Sunday.

The Split judoka lost in the last minute against Japanese judoka Takayama, who won silver in Paris. Her younger brother Kumrić dominated against the Frenchman Delvert, forced him to two penalties, but then fell in the end. 

The next IJF World Tour tournament is the Grand Slam Baku in Azerbaijan (November 5-7).

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