At the Grand Prix in Linz the final U90kg was between two experienced judoka. Krisztian Toth (HUN), Olympic bronze medallist and world silver medallist, and on the other was Axel Clerget (FRA), double world bronze medallist and Olympic champion from the mixed teams in Tokyo in 2021.
For sure there would be strength involved with Toth and Clerget and we were not disappointed. The contest started with a strong kumi-kata battle and one shido apiece as there were no attacks coming out of that battle; it was a very pleasant match though. Clerget was penalised a second time for an unfortunate false attack. With less than a minute to go, the French judoka was in a difficult situation but then it was time for golden score. After one minute, Toth received a second penalty as well.
It was like a new start. During the next sequence, which was a bit confused, both competitors thought they had scored. A big smile appeared on each of their faces, while waiting for the referee decision. Eventually it was Toth who had scored with his seoi-nage movement. The two men hugged a long moment, smiling like children who had played a fair game and who accepted the verdict with a lot of mutual respect.
To join the two still very 'green' veterans of the category on the podium, Marcelo Gomes (BRA) and Jamal Petgrave (GBR) faced off in the first match for a bronze medal. As the contest began, we felt that something was going to happen. It took a little while but with one minute and a half to go, Marcelo Gomes launched a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi that lifted Jamal Petgrave off the ground. There was no way for him to counter the attack and he landed heavily on his back for ippon sending the bronze medal to Marcelo Gomes.
Austria had another chance for a medal too, thanks to Thomas Scharfetter who faced another veteran of the world circuit, the world bronze medallist from Doha, Sweden's Marcus Nyman (SWE). Nyman looked immediately more dangerous with his sumi-gaeshi and o-soto-gari attacks and despite a few seoi-nage attacks, Thomas Scharfetter was penalised twice, leaving no space for any mistake.
Golden score! The extra time started with a big push from Scharfetter that ended with a penalty against Nyman, followed by a second one. At two shido apiece, both judoka looked exhausted. The victory would go to the fresher one. After a strong start from Nyman, the Swedish competitor seemed to be the less in-form though. This was confirmed by the last left handed harai-goshi from Thomas Scharfetter that propelled Nyman onto his side for waza-ari. It was a bronze medal for Thomas Scharfetter under the support of the public.
This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com