Tokyo Olympics: Judo star Martyna Trajdos defends coach after shocking slap

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Martyna Trajdos has leapt to the defence of her coach Claudiu Pusa after he shook and slapped the German judoka before she fought at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Trajdos and Pusa were shown walking out into the Nippon Budokan for the judoka’s round of 32 fight with Hungary’s Szofi Özbas. Before Trajdos stepped onto the mat, Pusa grabbed her jacket and shook her violently. He then slapped her forcefully twice around the face.

Trajdos did not seem fazed by the moment, nodding and then entering the combat area, but the footage soon caused outrage after it went viral on social media.

Sports writer Shireen Ahmed tweeted: "There is context. There must be context. *whispers: what is the context?*" Others described the moment as "horrible" and "disturbing".

After the video exploded on social media, Trajdos was quick to defend Pusa, describing the moment as "the ritual which I chose pre-competition." Having lost the bout against Özbas by Waza-Ari, Trajdos even joked: "Looks like this was not hard enough."

"I wish I could have made a different headline today," she wrote on Instagram. "As I already said that's the ritual which I chose pre competition. My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up."

According to The Telegraph, Trajdos later gave more clarity on her pre-competition ritual as the uproar against Pusa continued. "This is what I asked my coach to do so please don’t blame him," she said. "I need this before my fights to be awake."

Fans of Trajdos offered their support to the judoka on her Instagram post. One commented: "Anyone who has done judo or combat sports understands. Best of luck in competition!"

Screenshot of Olympic judoka Martyna Trajdos's Instagram post

Trajdos was competing in the women’s under-63kg judo category at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The 32-year-old has enjoyed a successful career so far, winning gold at the 2015 European Games in Baku.

She also has a world bronze medal from 2019 and two European bronze medals from 2018 and 2020. Trajdos, born in Poland but residing in Cologne, crashed out in the second round at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

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