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Strong Olympic candidates show off in Sofia
31 Jan 2016 18:30
A few serious candidates two qualify for the Olympic Games won the European Open in Sofia today. Egyptian judoka Ramadan Darwish is in the top 8 U100kg. Last year he lost the final against Michael Korrel, but today he defeated the Dutchman in the semi final and was able to take the gold medal. In the final Darwish overcame former World Champion Luciano Correa who seems almost sure about Olympic participation in his country after today’s silver confirmation.
The winner was happy to make his comeback today and expressed his feelings to the EJU reporters. “This event for me was very important as I was out for almost eight months due to an injury. This is just the beginning of my return towards the Games. It was a tough day of fighting. We missed the flight in Istanbul, we slept a night on the floor at the airport and top of it all of our luggage gone lost. We stayed in the same clothes for several days. I am really satisfied as I was challenged not only by my opponents but all the hard conditions in lead up to the tournament.”
Although Correa took silver, his heavier compatriot David Moura won the gold medal. Moura is still in competition but seems to have good papers for the Games to represent the home nation. Today Moura defeated Vito Dragic (SLO), Nodar Machutadze (GEO) and Alessio Mascetti (ITA). In the final he was in trouble in the first minute when Or Sasson of Israel scored a wazari, but he came back quickly and scored the ippon. Moura: “I came here to win of course. The fact that my opponent threw me for waza-ari woke me up. My aim for this year is to go to the Olympic Games and to win a medal there. It was important for me today to win as it gave me the chance to prove I am a better competitor than my rivals in Brazil.”
In the category U90kg Dmytro Berezhnyi of the Ukraine won the gold medal against Ihar Zhukau of Belarus. Berezhnyi won all his five fights and needed only the full five minutes in his second match against Paata Gviniashvili. Apparently Berezhnyi found his ideal weight category as the last four years he had been fighting U100kg. “In 2014 I won bronze here U100kg and last year I was not a success in Sofia. Then I decided to go down to U90kg because of the Olympic Games. It is my dream to go for the Olympic Games and I think I have a chance in this weight class. Each competition for me is a special step towards success and towards the Olympic Games.”
The category U81kg was for Giorgi Papunashvili who had strong start against Sebastian Laursen (DEN) and Aslan Lappinagov (RUS). Lappinagov had won against number one seed Imamov. But Papunashvili has a reputation in Sofia where he won bronze in 2014. He overcame Ziya Namazov in the quarter final and survived Dutchman Neal van de Kamer in the semi. Strong German champion Dominic Ressel who defeated Paris bronze medallist Frank de Wit was surprised with a waz-ari. Papunashvili is Georgia’s number four behind Tchrikishvili, Margiani and Rekhviashvili, but will now pass Rekhviashvili in the World Ranking.
In the World Ranking Belarus won the medal table in the men with five medals, Slovenia in the women’s division.
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Ken Sasatani (JPN)
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