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Promising teams battle at European Club Championships in Belgrade
14 Dec 2016 13:20
The European Club Championships promise to be a competitive competition on Saturday in Belgrade, Serbia. 29 Teams have registered from twelve nations. In total 14 teams for the women’s event and 18 for the men’s event, including some teams with both men’s and women’s participants. It’s the first time since ever that Serbia is organizing a European Club Championship. In 2006 the European Team Championships were held in Belgrade.
Six team from Serbia, three women’s teams and three male. The team of Red Star will aim for the men’s title. The first four team will promote to the Golden League next year. But also the men of Judo Club Kenesis have gained some external strength as well for the men of JK Rakovica.
The Serbian teams will have to deal with strong men’s teams from Russia with two teams and France with four registered teams. The team of New Stream will be one of the main contenders with world class players in the team. The French team of SGS Judo, from St. Genevieve will be one of the favourites. They were in the European final in 2010 and won bronze in 2012. They are considered as the strongest French team in Belgrade, although all French teams will be able to progress in the tournament, but SGS is certainly a title candidate.
The Belgian teams from Antwerpen United Judo and Grand Hornu may be able to surprise. But also the Spanish team of Valencia Club de Judo have an experienced team in Belgrade. Polish team AZS AWF Katowice has some appealing names in the team and can get further.
Team from Switzerland, Turkey, Latvia and Germany may get short to take three of the five victories needed to win the contest.
In the women competition, the team of Yawara Newa is traditionally very strong, with bronze in 2014 and silver in 2012 and 2013. The Russian won the European Cup twice in the zeros. Serbians teams of Omladinski dzudo klub Beograd and UJISK Slavija have a mix of talent and world class. Slavija have Milica Nikolic and Jovana Rogic in the team alongside European talents.
But also in the women’s division the French teams are among the favourites, certainly SGS Judo, Flam91 with Olympic Champion Rafaela Silva as the major eye-catcher and point catchers securing victories on the way to the final stage. Russians New Stream have a small but good team, perhaps they might come short in the final stage. In fact the best Spanish women are lined up for Club Valencia and the Croatian team of Vinkovci have a very serious team to reach the best four.
German Bundesliga teams JC Wiesbaden and Backnang have an ambitious team and are considered to be among the favourites. Both German teams have world class player in house giving this European Club Championships glance.
It will be a super appealing event in Belgrade on Saturday, the last event of the year. With a break of three weeks the athletes will go to Mittersill for the traditional opening of the new 2017 season.
Before that break, no limits to give everything for the spirit of the team. Team Championships are an amazing addition in judo and are held since 1960 and for women since for twenty years. Experience the thrill on Saturday from Belgrade.
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Elise Smekens (BEL)
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