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Distria Krasniqi moves on in U52kg with gold in Portugal

Distria Krasniqi moves on in U52kg with gold in Portugal

28 Jan 2022 20:25
IJF Media team by Nicolas Messner
IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

When the reigning Olympic Champion, Distria Krasniqi, even if it was in the lower weight category, is present, it definitely puts pressure on the shoulders of the other competitors but the pressure is shared because being the woman to beat puts you in a position of mental fragility that not everyone can handle.

Everything seemed to be off to a good start for the Kosovar, who passed the first rounds with ease, before she met Joana Diogo in the semi-finals. In front of her home crowd, the Portuguese champion transcended herself and scored a hard-hitting waza-ari straight from the bell. Krasniqi had to refocus and not lose her nerve, to regain control of a tricky contest.

This is what she did by equalising, a waza-ari each, before scoring a clear ippon, which destroyed Diogo's hopes. Krasniqi thus demonstrated all the mastery that propelled her to the top of Olympus last summer, but she also learned a lesson: in judo everything is possible and you must always remain vigilant whatever your level. On Diogo's side, it is certain that the defeat was bitter, but the young athlete has nothing to reproach herself for. She did the job and did it well. Krasniqi was just too strong, despite her mistake.

In the final, opposed to Ana Viktorija Puljiz (CRO), halfway through and with only one shido on the board, given to the Croatian, the Krasniqi machine came into action to produce a massive o-soto-gari that gave no chance to Puljiz. Krasniqi was definitely unbeatable today.

She declared, "I came here to get points because since I changed category I moved from being world number 1 to number 38. I need as many points as possible to be seeded in a few months."

In the first match for a bronze medal, Fabienne Kocher (SUI), a regular on the world circuit, faced Estrella Lopez Sheriff (ESP) to complete the medallist quartet. The Swiss judoka proved to be the better of the two as she threw her opponent with a massive o-soto-gari for ippon.

Diogo finally found herself in a position to stand on the podium, against her compatriot Maria Siderot and after over a minute of golden score, Diogo scored waza-ari to earn one more medal for Portugal on day one of their Grand Prix.

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