Three years of dry spell are enough for judo hope Samuel Gaßner

Three years of dry spell are enough for judo hope Samuel Gaßner
Samuel Gaßner recently won the European Open in Warsaw.
Image: GEPA pictures/Patrick Steiner

“We knew he could do it,” Austria’s judo president Martin Poiger recently described Samuel Gaßner from Mühlviertel as the “training world champion.”

The Ottensheim native won the European Open in Warsaw in an impressive manner two weeks ago. For the 22-year-old, it was on the one hand a confirmation of the talent that the 73-pound fighter has had for years, and on the other hand a personal liberation.

  • Also read: Why judoka Shamil Borchashvili trains at night

“I’ve now had a three-year dry spell behind me,” said Gaßner about his podium-less time, during which he was slowed down by several injuries. Something like this doesn’t leave its mark on the psyche of a young athlete. Gaßner has always been proud of his training achievements. “I saw there that it worked well.” Why did it finally click for him? “I tried to block everything out and just concentrate on myself,” he said, speaking of a maturing process.

“Just don’t give a damn”

The liberation comes at the right time before the home Grand Prix next weekend in Linz, with Gaßner clearly placing the level in Linz above that in Warsaw. Last year he reached the second round in Linz.

The UJZ Mühlviertel athlete is one of several local hopefuls from the second row who recently showed off their talent. At the two European Open tournaments in Warsaw and Györ, they made a total of seven final appearances. “The training dynamics on the Gugl are extremely good,” said Gaßner, explaining the success.

Of course, this increases expectations for the home Grand Prix. ÖJV head coach Yvonne Snir-Bönisch therefore set “a handful of medals” as her goal. As a reminder: Last year Shamil Borchashvili (1st) and surprise man Thomas Scharfetter (3rd) won their two.

The latter in particular showed the second row what it needed. “Just don’t give a damn,” Gaßner commented on the Salzburg player’s performance. A total of 34 Austrians are starting in Linz, including eight from Upper Austria.

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