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Will Lukas Krpalek be the one in Paris?

Will Lukas Krpalek be the one in Paris?

21 Apr 2024 02:00
by JudoCrazy and JudoInside
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

When people think about who will finally match Tadahiro Nomura's three Olympic gold medals, they tend to think of Teddy Riner. Will Riner finally be able to do it in Paris? But another prospect, who tends to get overlooked, is Lukas Krpalek (CZE) who is also a double Olympic Champion, albeit at different weights (-100kg and +100kg).

Krpalek has fought Riner twice and lost both times, though this was in 2019 -- a long time ago. They haven't fought recently.

He defeated Japan's Tatsuru Saito in the Japan Grand Slam last year. Against the Russian Inal Tasoev, he has a single win and two loss record but this was in 2019 and 2018.

He has a fierce rivalry with Georgia's Guram Tushishvili, with whom he has two win, two loss record. But the last two times they fought, he won. One was at the Tokyo Olympics and the other was at the recent Grand Prix in Austria.

Krpalek looks good against Tushishvili and he has proven he can beat Saito. The real question is how he'd fare against Tasoev and Riner, given that they have fought in four to five years.

Although he's not a favorite, compared to Riner, he could pull off a surprise. And if he were to win three Olympic golds he would surpass Nomura, who has one World title (Krpalek has two).

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