The 32-year-old Czech representative in the senior category only finished the Portuguese Grand Prix in January before the World Cup, where he finished third. He was injured in Paris in February and only trained before the World Cup. His final preparation was marred by an illness that required antibiotics. A question mark hovered over Krpálk’s form.
The 22-year-old Pirelli, who won the Grand Slam in Tokyo last December, didn’t put on a pleasant lot at first. The 32-year-old Czech representative had already received two bookings after a minute and a half, so he was on the verge of a third penalty, which would mean the end of the game for him.
Within four minutes of the duel, none of the judokas could score points, although Krpálek tried to prevail in the popular fight on the ground. He only succeeded in the allotted time. In the first minute of the “golden score”, he put it down and thanks to the possession, he obtained an ipon. The following duels with the Brazilian Leonard Goncalves and the Hungarian Zsombor Vég ended in the same way, which surprisingly eliminated world number two Michael Korrel from the Netherlands.
In the quarter-finals, Krpálek battled with Nurlychan Šarchan of Kazakhstan, who surprisingly knocked out six-time medalist Varlam Liparteliani of Georgia. In the duel with the twenty-three-year-old judoka, the experienced Czech attacked from the start, held him down and after 44 seconds was able to loudly celebrate the victory.
In the semi-finals, the basic four minutes no longer decided the winner. Unlike his previous opponents, Kocojev did not let himself be defeated in the ground fight. After a minute of extra time, he attacked and threw Krpálek, but he only finished the grab when his head was on the tatami, which is forbidden. That’s why Krpálek won the ipon.
In the 100m, Krpálek can build on his nine-year World Cup triumph in Chelyabinsk. He won the second title four years ago at the heaviest weight. He also has two world bronze medals.
The performance of the second Czech representative in this category, Martin Bezděk, ended in the first match. In the second round, Colombian Francisco Balanta was beyond his strength.
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