Marko Spittka: "In judo Jeon Ki-Young has accomplished everything!"
In order to complete our interview of Jeon Ki-Young available in EDJ #61, in stores since Tuesday, we publish (in English and French) a discussion with Marko Spittka from Germany, 3rd at the ’96 Olympic Games, 2nd at the ’97 World Championships and current head coach of the Austrian team. Both in semi-final in Atlanta then in final in Paris, the former -86 kg was defeated by the Invincible Korean.
Marko Spittka, the current German coach of the Austrian team, will never forget the tough fights he had with Jeon Ki-Young from Korea
©Paco Lozano/L'Esprit du judo
How was he in the hands?
He was quick, polyvalent and mobile. Even during hard matches he always had the instinct of the right move in the right situation.
What were your plan before that matches?
I had the intention to control him with my hard and strong grip and attack when we moved in the right direction. The transition from Tachi- to Ne-Waza was very important.
Was he the toughest opponent you had to fight with during that years?
There were several “big” opponents in my weight class during that time but he was a little on top of that. As he didn’t participate in many competitions, he was hard to analyse. A big fighter then and a big person now!
Was it easy to speak with him when he was an athlete?
During my career I never talked to him, that was a little uncommon. Today all the athletes talk to each other. We met each other years later at the Universiades in Kazan [in 2013, ed.] While we were both sitting on indoor bikes and sweating next to each other, we started to talk about the “old times”.
Were you surprised when he decided to quit judo very early?
To be honest, a lot of athletes were really happy that he quit. He was a champion and without him competing it was simply easier to win a medal! But everybody knew just half a year later that he was going to make another successful career. In judo Jeon Ki-Young has accomplished everything!
What did he transmit to the current generation of Korean coaches and athletes?
The Korean style of fighting didn’t change a lot over the years. I think, he has given a broad range of experience and tactical guidance to the coaches. The hard work without compromises characterizes his work!
He is a big champion and judo expert in the ranks of the IJF. In terms of personality he states as a role model for future generations of athletes. I am very glad to know him and will never forget that hard matches we fought on the tatami!
Thanks to Markus Moser (Austrian Judo Federation)
An interview with Jeon Ki-Young can be read in EDJ #61, in stores since April 12th.
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