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Henk Grol captures European title after gap of 7 years
27 Jun 2015 17:25
Dutchman Henk Grol won his second ever European title in his career. What a tremendous success for the Dutch team. Lukas Krpalek could prolong his third European title and is the leader of the world U100kg. But it was Grol who found the way to defeat the tall Czech. In 2008 Grol won the European title in Lisbon, but in between the world has changed for Grol.
In the past this was a clear victory for the Dutch when he met with Krpalek, but since a few years Krpalek gained confidence, strength and skills and won the European and World title last year.
Still Grol isn’t an easy opponent for Krpalek. Grol knows what it is to fight in finals, he lost three World finals. In 2013 Grol lost the European final to Krpalek. Today that was set equal.
Grol took the lead in the match with a yuko and Grol could hold off Krpalek despite his range. Grol received a penalty and slightly defensive but with only one minute the go the pressure was fully on Krpalek. With 19 seconds Grol go the third penalty but the time was in his advance.
Since 2008 when he won Olympic bronze in Beijing and bronze in London the rules were changed, and he had to adjust he style completely. Also the high expectations put Grol under pressure but he seems to be able to adjust and still belong to the top of the world. This European title, seven years after his first, Grol confirms to be one of the favourites... but let's call it outsiders this time for the Olympic title. He took 400 points for a good seeding in Rio and two medals back home. What a success today for the Dutch winning two gold and two bronze medals.
The bronze medal U100kg was for Toma Nikiforov in a very attractive match between two offensive judokas. Nikiforov defeated Jorge Fonseca of Portugal. After one minute Nikiforov was very close to the victory as Fonseca almost tapped for submission after a huge strangle by the Belgian. Nikiforov is looking strong in Baku.
75 seconds for the end it was Nikiforov who launched a massive koshi guruma . Fonseca tried to adjust and benefit from the attack but Nikiforov was to strong and exploded in power and joy after a tremendous victory. Another medal for Belgium that won gold by Van Snick, bronze for Van Tichelt and now bronze for Nikiforov. Last year he was fifth in Montpellier, seventh in Budapest so each year more progression for the 22-year old fighter.
Cyrille Maret of France won his third European bronze medal in a row. Against strong Dimitri Peters it was Maret who dominated the match with his grips and won the bronze medal. He scored with a tai otoshi against Peters who was expected to take the ninth medal for Germany. After Korval (silver) and Pietri (bronze) it was the third medal for the French men.
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Alessia Staraverava (BLR)