A German judo star is defending her unorthodox, pre-match ritual — getting slapped in the face by her coach — after fans expressed concern for the tough-as-nails Olympian.
“Don’t worry guys! That’s the ritual which I chose before fights. My coach is just doing what I want him to do to fire me up!” Martyna Trajdos, 32, wrote on her Instagram story Tuesday after the clip of her getting slapped around by her coach went viral.
Trajdos was gearing up to compete against Hungary’s Szofi Ozbas in the women’s -63kg Judo elimination round at the Tokyo Olympics when she was caught on camera aggressively marching up to the ring and stopping short to face German national coach Claudiu Pusa.
The head coach was seen dropping the bag he was holding, grabbing Trajdos’ jacket and shaking her violently back and forth before delivering two swift slaps to each cheek.
Trajdos, sporting a fierce game face, nodded at Pusa after the pre-competition assault and then walked to the mat for the contest.
The bizarre scene was seen by fans worldwide, with some questioning whether the ritual was consensual.
“There is context. There must be context. *whispers: what is the context?*” Shireen Ahmed wrote on Twitter with a clip of the incident.
“I have an overwhelming urge to smack him back. (even if this is some mutually acceptable, bizarre training technique),” Carolyn Dunn tweeted.
Following her loss to Ozbas, Trajdos reassured fans that the ritual was perfectly normal in the rough and tumble world of German judo.
“This is what I asked my coach to do so please don’t blame him. I need this before my fights to be awake,” the Poland-born athlete wrote in a series of posts.
In a separate post alongside video of the incident, Trajdos joked Pusa’s slaps could’ve been harder after losing to the Hungarian champ.
“Looks like this was not hard enough. I wish I could have made a different headline today,” Trajdos wrote.
“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.”