Budapest, 10 June 2021 - Croatia's top judoka Barbara Matić (category -70 kg) won a gold medal at the World Senior Judo Championships in Budapest. This is a historical success of the Croatian judo because this is the first-ever won world senior medal.

Budapest was announcing itself as a rehearsal for Tokyo. And what a rehearsal it was! Croatian Female Athlete of the Year - according to the selection of the Sportske Novosti (Sports News) - Barbara Matić conquered all the opponents and dominated the World Championships and at the age of 26 showed that she is going to the Olympics as one of the candidates for the medal.

Barbara opened the path towards the world winning pedestal with a secure victory against Jamaican Drysdale Daley and continued against the quality young judoka Jager. The latter defeated her at the IJF Grand Slam in Russia, right after the Split native recovered from COVID-19, and Budapest proved to be a real stage for striking back with waza-ari.

In the quarterfinals, Matić defeated Germany's Butkereit with ippon in the beginning of the golden score, which proved to be a true prelude to the semifinals. There she was waiting for an "old acquaintance", Austria's Polleres, who celebrated in the last three duels with Barbara. However, in this duel tactical preparation led Barbara to quality attacks, forcing the Austrian to receive two penalties. The decisive attack, which led to waza-ari, came in the fourth minute of golden score and ended in big celebration for Barbara, as well as for her coach Vladimir Preradović.

Barbara met Japan's Yoko Ono on tatami three years ago, at the IJF Grand Slam in Duesseldorf in 2018, when the Japanese judoka was celebrating. However, Budapest brought another phenomenal duel. From the very beginning of the fight, Barbara was more aggressive and mobile than the oldest Japanese in the national team, 31-year-old Ono.

One could tell that Ono was waiting for her chance on the floor, but Barbara was also mobile as soon as she felt the Japanese woman was about to make a move and didn't allow that opportunity. And then, in the last minute, the Split native used waza-ari, where the Japanese welcomed the opportunity. And then 28 seconds. Twenty-eight seconds that lasted like an eternity. Like Goran's last game in Wimbledon. It went into "suffocation", and Barbara seemed to be in a lost situation. Second by second, the Japanese "twirled" Matić, the kimono remained under the neck, but the best Croatian judoka withstood everything for the World Champion title.

The broadcast of the fights of our representatives at the World Cup can be found on the website live.ijf.org, and of final “blocks” every day from 5 p.m. on SPORTS TV (SPTV).

The President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša and Secretary General Siniša Krajač sent a congratulatory message to the World Judo Champion Barbara Matić from Athens, where they were attending the 50th General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees.

 

Dear Barbara,
being on the World Senior Throne in a sport like judo is truly an undertaking worthy of all admiration. Even more so when the historical success of Croatian judo is achieved by an athlete who has been delighting us for years with performances in strong international competition. On behalf of the Croatian Olympic Family and on our own, we congratulate you on the title of World Champion, with the wish to soon add to this great trophy a medal that you have already deservingly earned – the one with shining Olympic circles.