Eager for a new challenge, Krpalek decided, on his return from Japan, to go back down to his favourite category of -100kg. Less than a week ago, he reached the final again, ultimately losing to win the world silver medal.
Here in Linz we could have expected to see him again at -100kg, but no, he is back in the heavyweight division with the desire to qualify for Paris 2024 in both categories, in order to give himself the choice; just impressive.
And so Lukas Krpalek is again in the final of a World Judo Tour tournament. If you are about to lose your mind, what is certain is that the champion knows what he does and he does it well.
To face him, there was again a German, Losseni Kone, who, like his teammates, brought a breath of fresh air to the German delegation.
Krpalek put himself in a difficult situation. He was quickly penalised with two shido, as he was incapable of resisting the power of Kone during the first minute. The contest then become more balanced, enough to reach golden score, where everything was still possible, Kone having received a penalty too during normal time and a second one at the beginning of golden score. The third penalty came not long after that with Kone stepping out of the competition area. Yes, Krpalek was with the silver medal in Doha a week ago, at -100kg. He is now a gold medallist in Linz, at +100kg. Impressive, incredible, legendary.
Enej Marinic (SLO) and Richard Sipocz (HUN) offered themselves a chance to step on the podium. Enej Marinic was the one who transformed that chance into bronze with a massive ko-soto-gari for ippon.
Jelle Snipe (NED) and Ibrahim Tataroglu (TUR) also qualified for the final block. Jelle Snipe scored first with a turnover for waza-ari, as Tataroglu had dropped on the floor but the Dutch judoka was still standing and could apply a tachi-waza technique. This was enough to secure a second grand prix bronze medal for Snippe while it is the fifth medal for the Netherlands in Linz.