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Distria Krasniqi gives masterclass in Paris

Distria Krasniqi gives masterclass in Paris

4 Feb 2023 21:30
IJF Media team by Jo Crowley and JudoInside
Tamara Kulumbegashvili - IJF

Amandine Buchard’s popularity in Paris never goes unnoticed but today the support wasn’t enough to lift her past Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi, the top seed, the U48kg Olympic champion, despite a masterful and possibly pre-emptive win with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kata-guruma against Lemos (BRA), followed by a long 9 minute battle against Primo (ISR).

Elsewhere in the category, Reka Pupp (HUN), as the number 2 seed, brought a sharp and clinical approach which dealt with a young French opponent. The Belgian gave her a rougher ride but she was back to her businesslike judo to dispatch Pimenta (BRA) in the semi-final. Krasniqi and Pupp were supposed to reach the final and they did!

The first bronze medal was disputed by Primo (ISR) and Pimenta (BRA). There was action and effort, without a doubt but three penalties for Pimenta sent the medal to Primo and Israel.

Krasniqi (KOS) and Pupp (HUN) fought for gold and in the opening exchange the Kosovan latched onto Pupp’s outside leg and drove her to the floor to put a wide space between them. A score up and with the confidence to continue unchanged, Krasniqi led a masterclass in positive defensive gripping, dominating all contact. Pupp’s effort was unmistakable but the level of Krasniqi was unmatched.

The second bronze was an all French affair in which Gneto and Buchard, knowing each other so very well, have all they had to own the French flag that would hang above just one of their heads on the podium. They collected the expected shidos but fought at an incredible pace throughout, until Amandine unleashed her trademark kata-guruma with a circular kuzushi envied by many and put a waza-on the board and her footprints on the rostrum.

Buchard said, “When someone talks to me about this grand slam, I always feel excitement and shivers because for me it’s the best place to fight. I love our public, they give power to each one on the tatami, whether they are French or good international fighters. They give me power and strength when I feel the fight is getting harder. Each year, when I meet the public, I feel a big connection with them and I always want to share this day with them and now my medal too.”

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