September 15 - Laura Vargas Koch and Karl-Richard Frei bagged two more gold medals on the final day of action at the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Grand Prix in Rijeka, Croatia, to leave Germany top of the pile with four golds and nine medals overall, while Slovenia secured two golds on day two.
There were three women's and four men's categories up for decision on day two at the Zamet Centre and Koch flew out of the blocks in the women's under 70 kilogram class as she added gold here in Croatia to her World Championship silver from Rio de Janeiro with victory over Frenchwoman and Kazan 2013 Universiade bronze medallist Fanny Estelle Posvite of France.
Koch's compatriot Iljana Marzok added to the German medal haul with a win over local girl Barbara Matic while Italian national champion Jennifer Pitzanti came out on top in the battle of Italy against Giulia Cantoni, in the bronze medal matches.
Next up on the tatami was the under 78kg category, which saw Slovenia's European Championship silver medallist Anamari Velensek cause an upset by overcoming top seed and world number six Jeong Gyeong-Mi of South Korea, while ritain's Gemma Gibbons and Natalie Powell bagged double bronze against Laia Talarn of Spain and Germany's Annika Heise respectively.
The final women's event of the weekend saw Slovenia's Beijing Olympic bronze medallist and reigning European champion Lucija Polavder deny Germany another gold as an ippon seoi-nage secured her victory over Jasmin Kuelbs, in the over 81kg category.
Polavder also picked up the best female judoka award.
"It was great to win today and I was very pleased that I had success with my ippon seoi-nage which is one of my best techniques," she said afterwards.
"The gold and best judoka award means a lot to me."
European under-23 champion Larisa Ceric of Bosnia and Herzegovina was too good for Britain's Sarah Adlington in the bronze medal match-up while Germany's Lisbon European Open winner Franziska Konitz took the other bronze against home favourite and junior European Championship silver medallist Ivana Sutalo.
Gibbons and Powell's bronze medals brought the British medal haul to one gold and three bronze, following Faith Pitman's win in the women's under 63kg class and Colin Oates' bronze in the men's under 66kg category.
Speaking of the women's success, Britain coach Kate Howey said: "It was a great performance by all three girls today, all of them showed they can throw well and the under 78kg girls showed great transition in their bronze-medal fights.
"They have all picked up valuable world ranking points.
"All the women did well overall, taking a gold, two bronzes, a fifth and a seventh place."
After that, it was time for the big hitters in the men's competitions, and first to register a win was Hungarian Szabolcs Krizsan, who proved the most impressive out of a field of 24 in the under 81kg class.
The Former European under-23 Championship silver medallist overcame Portugal's Carlos Luz in the final, while Russia and South Korea bagged bronze medals in the form of Bucharest European Open bronze medallist Maksim Buga and former East Asian Games champion Lee Seungsu.
The under 90kg category saw two judokas making their first appearance in a Grand Prix final as Switzerland's Domenik Wenzinger and Giuliano Loporchio of Italy squared up.
An ippon from a ko-soto-gake eventually saw Wenzinger take the title in what was an evenly contested match throughout.
Israel's Alon Sasson bested Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner Alexander Grigorev and Wenzinger's compatriot Ciril Grossklaus outshone Junior European Championship bronze medallist Mihael Zgank to claim the two bronze medals.
It was time for another gold medal winning performance from a German judoka and this time it was Frey who triumphed in the under 100kg class.
The European under-23 Championship bronze medallist won out in a tight battle with Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner Michal Horak of the Czech Republic by virtue of a shido penalties count back.
It was another medal for Switzerland in the bronze bouts as Hungary's Belgrade European Cup winner Miklos Cirjenics lost out to Flavio Orlik, while Sweden's Martin Pacek proved too good for Portugal's rising star Jorge Fonseca.
In the battle of the big-guns, Montenegro's multiple national champion Marko Radulovic had the edge over Jean-Sebastien Bonvoisin of France in the over 100kg final, as a de-ashi-barai for ippon in 28 seconds brought the final contest of the day, and the Grand Prix to a close.
The Montenegrin also picked up the male fighter of the tournament and said afterwards: "I'm very happy with the result, I was pleased with my four fights and it was great to come through and win gold."
The two bronze medals went to Russia in the form of Moscow Grand Slam runner-up Soslan Bostanov and former Malaga European Cup winner Sergey Andreev.
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Photos©IJF Media Team by T. Zahonyi
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September 2013: Two golds apiece for Germany and Russia on day one of Rijeka Judo Grand Prix
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