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Polling found her pleasure back, but who has the fittest brain in Baku

23 Jun 2015 14:30

   Marc Berthier
Kim Polling_final_ECH14 (10)

Dutch judoka Kim Polling remains a spectacular judoka. She is still able to throw everyone with her powerful judo. It sounds logic after taking the European title twice over the last two years and bronze at the 2013 World Championships, but since the 2014 World’s Polling looks different to judo.

Pleasure is all and that was far from close over the last 8 months. Slowly the Dutch powerhouse is getting back, way too easy actually with victories at the IJF Masters and silver at the Grand Slam in Baku. She split with her coach Marjolein van Unen and in Baku’s European Games Maarten Arens will be her coach, but no priority for her this time and she understands. The number one of the world has to do it on her own more than ever. But with a fresh mind and pleasure she will see how far she gets in Baku. At least a good warmup at the Grand Slam and working towards a revenge for last year’s terrible experience where she lost her mind, faith and feeling with judo.


Although Polling’s rival are also from PanAmerica with World Champion Alvear and Zupancic (CAN) a lot of Europeans do good business. Laura Vargas-Koch (2) came back from a knee injury that she suffered since Dusseldorf and decided to give it a try at the Budapest Grand Prix where she won bronze and lost the semi final to Diedrich. Vargas-Koch was in the final last year in Montpellier against Polling where she got earwashed but is still a stable judoka who can win the title. In Budapest 2013 she won bronze, last year silver, and who believes in stats see a glorious victory for the first German. But the second German Diedrich has got a lot of potential too. Diedrich is the 7th European judoka in the latest IJF Ranking and is also seeded. She passed Linda Bolder (8) of Israel who is ranked eigth and might be placed in the pool with rival Polling. Anyway, who meets with Bolder isn’t too happy but Polling doesn't seemed to botter too much. Bolder won the Grand Prix in Samsun and Zagreb and bronze in Tbilisi. She is definitely back from her knee injury she suffered since February last year.


Diedrich was the winner in Tbilisi and silver medallist in Budapest where she lost to surprise winner Bernabeu who’s unseeded but hungry for more.


Austrian Bernadett Graf (3) won European bronze in Budapest in 2013 and Montpellier in 2014. She belongs to the top and is ranked fifth of the World. She is a slow starter in the season, Montpellier was the kickoff for success last year. So far she hasn’t been successful at World Championships and she is determined to change that. Let’s start in Baku first.


British Sally Conway (4) is fourth seeded and maybe Britain’s best ace in the women’s category. Conway defeated Polling in the final of the Grand Slam in Baku so enjoys the spirit in the Azerbaijan capital. With bronze Samsun and silver in Zagreb we cannot wipe away her aspirations for the gold. The Scottish commonwealth winner is 28 which is a good age to score gold in the forthcoming year at some well prepared places. Not many Europeans have beaten Conway so far, again Bolder.


Outsiders for the title are Gevrise Emane (5), double world champ and four times European Champion and bronze medallist (U63) at the London Games. This year she’s beaten Graf, Matic and Bolder.

Speaking about Matic, we haven’t seen the Croatian too much, preparing for this championship when she was injured makes her an ace. There’s so much progression and music in her that we cannot estimate her power enough, but the competition is also tough. You need a certain maturity to score a medal in Baku. A maturity that Katarzyna Klys (6) certainly has, whether she can make it again to a final like in 2007 and 2012 or bronze like the last world championships is doubtful but she beat Polling in Chelyabinsk and does have brains enough to take her chance.


Non seeded outsiders are Spanish Maria Bernabeu who’s mentioned to be in shape, the tall Marie-Eve Gahie (FRA) who’s young, not yet on the map and tall. Szabina Gercsak who stepped up to U70kg but a medal here would be an earth miracle. It was spectacular to see Annet Meszaros/Breitenbach getting back on an international podium. The triple world medallist won bronze in Budapest.

Georgian Esther Stam reached out to a fifth place two weeks ago in Budapest, is the third Dutch judoka, but two of them switched nation.


Check out the ladies U70kg on Friday with tall legs, powerjudo and brains that make the difference.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Marie Eve Gahié (FRA), Bernadette Graf (AUT) - Grand Prix Tbilisi (2015, GEO) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Sally Conway (GBR) - Grand Slam Baku (2015, AZE) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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