2014 Judo World Champion Lukáš Krpálek won the Czech Republic its first gold medal of the 2016 Olympics yesterday in Rio in the under-100kg division.
It’s also the Czech Republic’s first-ever Olympic gold in the sport of judo.
During a photo session after the win, he pulled out a photograph of friend and fellow judoka Alexandr Jurečka, who tragically died last year in a diving accident.
“I fought for my great friend, who unfortunately isn’t here,” Krpálek said, as reported by iDnes.cz.
“I promised him a medal.”
Krpálek formerly held the titles of World Champion in 2014 and European Champion in 2013-14. He’s now the current Olympic Champion.
The 25-year-old Krpálek defeated five opponents to claim the gold, throwing Azerbaijan’s Elmar Gasimov for an ippon, judo’s highest-possible score, in his final match.
In other judo action, USA’s Kayla Harrison retained her Olympic title against France’s Audrey Tcheumeo in the women’s division.