The last Grand Slam of the year saw an almost unchallenged dominance of the Japanese team (11 wins out of 14 possible !). Henk Grol of Netherlands (+100 kg) distinguished himself by winning his 7th victory on the IJF World Tour. His compatriot Noel Van T End was also highlighted with a final in -90 kg.
By Ludovic Mauchien
It has been going on for ten years. They met in -100 kg, they continue to fight in + 100 kg. Czech’s Lukas Krpalek and Netherlands’ Henk Grol are definitely inseparable. They were again in the heavyweight final at the Osaka Grand Slam.
In the semifinal, Krpalek had dominated Japan’s Kageura in the Golden score on a Juji Gatame (the Paris winner eventually tap), while Grol gad defeated Russia’s Bashaev with a Waza ari (Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi). But above all, the latter had dominated the Georgian world champion, Guram Tushishvili, in the first round. In the final, Grol, two-time Olympic bronze medalist and 3rd in the 2018 Europeans, trapped the Olympic champion by Waza ari (Kouchi) to win his 1st tournament of the year.
His compatriot Noel Van T End has also done very well by reaching the -90 kg’s final. In the semi final, he defeated Germany’s Trippel with Ippon Seoi Nage but then lost against Japan’s Shoichiro Mukai, winner in Paris earlier this year. But he was close to it. He lost on the Golden score because of 3 Shido.