Home » Judo news
The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com
Kazan Judo Preview U52kg: Kelmendi and Chitu set the tone
20 Apr 2016 12:05
The weight division for women U52kg has become more competitive. In the past it was a rather boring category, but the Europeans have taken over with Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo as strong favourite, but also other athletes developed well. Andreea Chitu of Romania is one of the most experienced in the field and delivered some incredible performances. Chitu will face Laura Gomez or Distria Krasniqi, not the easiest starting match. Kelmendi truly has an easy pool and will walk straight to the semi final without wasting energy.
Kelmendi is still busy with her comeback and times her victories well. She won the very prestigious Paris Grand Slam twice within less than six months. At one of those golden moments, she defeated Chitu in the final. Kelmendi's compatriot Distria Krasniqi is not seeded but is one of the biggest dark horses for this competitive championship.
This Olympic cycle European Champions
2015 Andreea Chitu (ROU)
2014 Majlinda Kelmendi (IJF)
2013 Natalia Kuziutina (RUS)
2012 Andreea Chitu (ROU)
The Russian favourite though is Natalia Kuziutina although she hasn’t been much around in the circuit, but traditionally warmed up in South American in the Panam Tour. Kuziutina has won three European titles and belong to the best athletes ever in this categoory.
French experienced judo mother Annabelle Euranie is perhaps a big threat to all of them. The tall French has secured her Olympic spot despite the severe competition.
Italian Odette Giuffrida is back in the Top athletes of the world with two good victories in Rome and Tbilisi.
Last year’s winner of the European Games in Baku were:
Andreea Chitu (ROU)
Annabelle Euranie (FRA)
Natalia Kuziutina (RUS)
Mareen Kraeh (GER)
With experienced judoka such as Annabelle Euranie, Joana Ramos and Ilse Heylen, this category has the oldest athlete in the field. Belgian's Ilse Heylen is 39 and will qualify for her fourth olympic Games. Heylen is one pool with Mareen Kraeh, Jaana Sundberg all +30.
It's unlikely she will win the tournament, but she can become the oldest ever European medallist.
European athletes in the IJF World Ranking
1 Andreea Chitu (ROU)
3 Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS)
4 Annabelle Euranie (FRA)
6 Natalia Kuziutina (RUS)
8 Mareen Kraeh (GER)
10 Priscilla Gneto (FRA)
Watch JudoInside's favourites below
Related judoka and events
Related Judo Photos
Related Judo Videos
Related Judo News
With an Olympic bronze medal and a European title, Ilse Heylen belongs to the group of most successful Belgian judoka of all time. She competed at three Olympic Games, seven World Championships and countless international tournaments and marked more than 400 international contests in JudoInside’s database that she used to showcase her career. Read more
Austrian star Sabrina Filzmoser made history on day one of the Budapest Grand Prix as the veteran won -57kg bronze to edge closer to Tokyo 2020 qualification. The 2005 and 2010 world bronze medallist, who turns 40 next year, replaced Belgium’s Ilse Heylen (38) as the oldest medallist in IJF World Judo Tour history. Read more
The Flemish Judo federation appointed Olivier Berghmans as technical director. Berghmans was personal trainer of one of the most successful athletes of this century Ilse Heylen and has a wide international experience, vision and management capabilities to function in his new role. Read more
Ilse Heylen got an invitation by the IJF to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However without any preparation she cancelled this invitation and is in fact back to the day she missed the Olympic Games. The wounds are open again after her missed chance for her fourth Olympic Games, but the IJF simply invited Heylen who's first on the list of the continental quota. It's not an IJF demand to replace an injured athlete but a procedure to stick upon the Olympic quota. Read more
Big differences today between medal winning athletes and those who came to the conclusion that Rio is far away, or so far away that another Olympic dream remains a dream. For Belgian veteran Ilse Heylen Friday the 13th seems to be the abrupt end of her long career. The 39 year old triple Olympian was on her way to her fourth Olympics when her development this year got stuck. Today her last defense lines was broken by the success of Swiss surprise Evelyne Tschopp who passed Heylen by her golden performance. Read more
Rico Poppinghaus (NED)