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Miklos Ungvari shines at home Grand Prix with first gold since 10 years

13 Jun 2015 19:10

   IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20150613_Budapest_UNGVARI, Miklos (HUN)4

The home crowd at the Laszlo Papp Arena clapped their hands red for Hungarian judo hero Miklos Ungvari who captured the gold in a heroic final of the 34-year old fighter against Rok Draksic of Slovenia. It was ten years ago that Ungvari won the title at home in Budapest. Meanwhile he won three European titles and three bronze medals at World Championships and silver at the London Olympic Games. Saturday's victory was another milestone in the rich career of the famous Ungvari family.

Ungvari was Hungary’s top performer on the opening day as former European champion Rok Draksic fell to the 34-year-old home fighter in the U73kg final. Some would think Ungvari would be in the twilight of his career at his age but this win will move him into the top 10 in the world as he closes in on a place at Rio 2016. Draksic, who won European gold here in 2013, went behind to a yuko and was then held down with a tate-shiho-gatame and the Slovenian tapped out with 50 seconds left. 

Draksic and Ungvari had fought six times previously and the score stood at 3-3. Five of their previous contests had taken place in the under -66kg and their last meeting, at the Tokyo Grand Slam in 2014, had ended with a win for Ungvari. Budapest, however, proved too big a hurdle for DRAKSIC and the crowd brought out the best in UNGVARI. He pressed and pushed the busy Slovenian until he caught him in newaza where he applied his specialist shime waza to take the gold medal. 

In his first contest Ungvari faced Briton Jan Gosiewski. The pair had not fought before and Ungvari appeared tentative in the early stages. “I had been on with Gosiewski two or three times at training camps but it really is different in competition. He [Gosiewski] moves really well and has got nice techniques so I was cautious. But I managed to catch him with ko uchi gari and I felt settled after this,” said Ungvari. Diego Sanchez Mondaca of Spain was Ungvari’s second opponent against whom the Hungarian used a neat shime waza to score ippon. This brought about a quarter-final contest against Sweden’s Tommy Macias. “I found Macias to be a very unorthodox opponent and could not put my plan into operation. I was frustrated and began to collect penalties until finally, I was able to throw him with a harai goshi, ko uchi gari combination,” said the winner.


In the first semi-final Draksic downed Nicholas Delpopolo (USA). Draksic defended an uchi-mata attempt from Delpopolo who was caught for ippon with 45 seconds remaining. In the second semi-final Ungvari denied Belgian rival Dirk van Tichelt a place in the final as he scored a yuko with a ko-uchi-gari with a minute left on the clock. Van Tichelt attacked with a drop seoi-nage but it was a tired effort and Ungvari guaranteed the first medal for the hosts. Ungvari: "I had fought him memorably in the final of the Miami Grand Prix in 2013. There he threw me in the last minute,” he said. But a packed crowd, one that included a whopping ten members of his family, was behind the Hungarian today and they helped to propel him to the final."

The first bronze medal was won by Van Tichelt who defeated Minsk European Open bronze medallist Igor Wandtke (GER) by ippon after three minutes while the second bronze medal went to Delpopolo who won by a waza-ari against Tommy Macias of Sweden.


Believe it or not, but Ungvari ran a half marathon the next day in Budapest, it says enough about the sportsmenship. He was back in time to watch his brother with 1 hour 46 minutes on the clock for an easy run with other fanmous athletes.

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  • Miklós Ungvári (HUN) - Grand Prix Budapest (2015, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Dirk Van Tichelt (BEL), Nick Delpopolo (USA), Miklós Ungvári (HUN), Rok Draksic (SLO) - Grand Prix Budapest (2015, HUN) - ©, judo news, results and photos
  • Miklós Ungvári (HUN) - Grand Prix Budapest (2015, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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