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World Ranking leader Aleksandar Kukolj enjoys the competition
3 Jan 2018 10:05
Who would have dreamed that Serbia dominated the category U90kg in the IJF World Ranking with Aleksandar Kukolj and Nemanja Majdov. Kukolj reached the world leading position in May 2017. After his European title in Warsaw, Kukolj finally achieved what he knew for a long time. The ne-waza and gripping specialist surprised a lot of people but is a stable value in this category U90kg and loves the competition as he can still get a lot better.
Kukolj has a straight goal in life. He was never raised with a lot of money. Actually he had to contribute to the family. Finally his situation got better and after keeping the number one position he was even awarded with 50k USD, most welcome in the family.
2017 was a huge change for Kukolj, who became a father in September. It compensated his feelings after the World Championships completely. In Budapest he became fifth after everybody thought he was the most likely World Champion after reaching the semi final, but it was another Serbian who was untouchable in Budapest, Nemanja Majdov. Kukolj though knows what was wrong, he had been ill in the week before the worlds and couldn’t do his usual sophisticated game. It’s all about details with Kukolj who is a specialist in the smallest details of judo and is convinced he has a task for the future to teach the new generations his style.
Kukolj became the first Serbian athlete to take the European title, and although he had a slight dip September, October, he came back in The Hague’s Grand Prix with a victory and defended his leading position. In 2016 he set the basis for his current well-being with Grand Slam victories in Abu Dhabi and Tokyo. The 26-year old fighter knows his strength and missions for 2018. The competition will be tough with Masters winner Gviniashvili, Korean Gwak, who remains a nifty opponent, World Champion Majdov who will come back in 2018, another future father Krisztian Toth, rising Spaniard Nikoloz Sherazadishvili and world runner-up Miha Zgank.
"Two of the three goals were achieved last year, the European title and leader of the World Ranking. The third goal is for 2018, the World Title."
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Viktor Makukha (UKR)
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