What a sensational victory for Henk Grol at the Grand Slam of Osaka on Sunday against Lukas Krpalek. The Dutchman defeated all his impressive opponents in a pool of death and in the end got Krpalek down by wazari with a ko-soto gari, close to ippon and defended the last minute to the victory.
The 33-year old judo legend is only the second Dutchman to win in Japan. Mark Huizinga was the last man in 1999 who won the former Jigoro Kano Cup and Linda Bolder (2012) and Marhinde Verkerk (2013) were the two female winners for the Netherlands in home of judo.
Henk Grol is also the oldest winner ever in Tokyo, in 2014 Gevrise Emane (32) was the oldest until today. Alexander Mikhailin was the oldest male winner in 2011 (32).
Grol started his victory race against Slovenian talent Enej Marinic. Then he bested World Champion Guram Tushishvili (GEO) in his first contest, an absolute sensation. He was secured of the quarter final in which he defeated another legend, Naidan Tuvshinbayar of Mongolia. In the semi final the triple World Championships runner-up overcame Tamerlan Bashaev of Russia who won the bronze. The final was against Lukas Krpalek who had beaten two Japanese in his road to the final, Yusei Ogawa and in the semi final Kokoro Kageura.
Last week Grol lost in the Netherlands in his first contest against Alexander Mikhailin, but had an impressive comeback that not many people estimated he was capable of. This is judo.