At the seventh edition of the Grand Prix of Zagreb the home crowd cheered the whole day for its own athletes, but Karla Prodan stood out in her category U78kg. She coloured the day and took an unexpected bronze medal. Prodan gave back her smile to the crowd. It was a career-first for the 20-year-old who thrilled the youthful Croatian crowd who themselves graced the same tatami just hours prior for a masterclass.
Former world champion Umeki Mami (JPN) won her third Grand Prix gold medal to remain in the frame for Tokyo 2020 selection. Hohhot Grand Prix winner Fanny Estelle Posvite (FRA) went the distance with UMEKI with golden score summoned after a scoreless opening stanza. Only five seconds of added time was required as the Japanese threw with her trademark uchi-mata for a waza-ari score.
In the first semi-final Posvite saw off European Games winner Klara Apotekar (SLO) by ippon while in the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Beata Pacut lost out to Umeki by ippon from a sankaku.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Junior World Championships silver medallist Karla Prodan who earned her country’s first medal at their home Grand Prix by countering a morote-seoi-nage from Pacut for ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by 2009 world champion Marhinde Verkerk (NED) who countered Apotekar with ashi-waza to claim her 11th Grand Prix medal.