Four Croatian judokas, including a two-time world champion Barbara Matić,will compete from March 31 to April 2 at the IJF Grand Slam tournament in Antalya, Turkey.
The tournament in Antalya will host over 600 competitors from 83 countries, and in addition to Matić, Croatia will also be represented there Katarina Kristo (-63kg, JK “Dalmacijacement”), Ivana Maranić (+78, JK „Panda“) i Helena Vuković (+78, JK “Samobor”) both +78kg.
Matić (JK “Pujanke” – Split). he goes to Turkey as world number one with a record 7077 points. In February, at the IJF Grand Slam in Paris, the 28-year-old woman from Split finished in fifth place, and shortly after she returned from the IJF Grand Slam in Uzbekistan with a silver medal. Essential points for the Paris 2024 Olympics have been collected.
– I can say that I am satisfied, maybe that fifth place in Paris was not as we wanted, but I already said then that I am not satisfied with the result but with the fights shown, so all in all – ok. In the meantime, I had a cold, some minor injuries, but nothing serious, we healed it all. He is training, I think that everything is good and if I just continue like this, everything will be ok – said Matić.
Photo: Zeljko Hladika/PIXSELL
She has extensive experience on the IJF World Judo Tour, including performances in Turkey. She had her first recorded performance as a junior (U21) in 2014 at the then IJF Grand Prix, which took place in Samsun, where she recorded a win and a loss. In 2017, the IJF Grand Prix was held in Antalya, when Matić won the bronze medal, and in 2021, when the tournament was named the IJF Grand Slam for the first time, she won the silver medal.
– The tournament as a tournament, I would rather comment on the entries, the tournament is really strong, you can see that it is the last tournament before the World Championship, everyone is here, the first lineup of Japan is here. Only one Dutch woman is missing, the other one is there, all the others are there. I think it will be a good test before the WC, of course I want the best possible result, we will go fight by fight, we don’t know the draw yet, we only know the holders, so we will be guided by that – she added.
Looking at the entries in Barbara’s -70kg category, we were interested in whether she would like to avoid someone in the draw.
– Kim Polling (Niz)! – Matić said at the end with a laugh.