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European Judo Championships Preview U70kg: new generation will take it
19 Apr 2017 10:05
None of the top eight U70kg of the Olympic Games in Rio will appear at the European Championships in Warsaw. That leaves space for a new generation. In this case, a new generation of juniors. They have all taken medals, but it is Marie Eve Gahie who has one of the best transitions to the senior division. The French champion claimed silver at the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf in 2017. At the draw, she is the highest seed in Warsaw.
Gahie won the Grand Slam of Abu Dhabi in 2016. She became World U18 Champion in 2013. Since then she has made a remarkable conversion to the senior level with victories in Samsun, Almaty, and Abu Dhabi.
Barbara Matic is the double Junior World Champion from Croatia, but for her it has been a bumpy road in the seniors. With World Tour victories in Tbilisi, Qingdao, and Zagreb, she still seems short of the absolute breakthrough. She won bronze in Baku this year. At European level she won bronze in 2014, but due to the competition she wasn’t successful at Europeans. This is a new year, however, and she might rise to the occasion.
So might the Slovenian, Anka Pogacnik, the number three seed. She won the Grand Prix in Antalya and the African Open in Tunis in 2017. Her name is a familiar one since her silver at the European U23 Championships in 2011. Later she won the European Open in Sofia in 2016 at U70kg. She also took a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Zagreb and a silver at the Grand Prix in Tashkent, both in 2016. Now she seems ready to take another competitive step upward.
Szabina Gercsák of Hungary is the only competitor in this field who won a European medal last year. With bronze she bested world number one Kim Polling (still injured) which proved her major breakthrough. We know Gercsák from her amazing youth performances with a Youth Olympic title, World titles, and European titles. She can throw anyone when the wind is blowing from the right corner. With a little luck and a little magic she can do it in this field.
The same for Dutch woman Sanne van Dijke, who has a career comparable to Gercsák. She is also moving up now to the senior division.
Still, we cannot forget former World bronze medallist Katarzyna Klys, who wants to shine for her home crowd as captain of the women’s team. If you play our game, then don;t forget German outsider Szaundra Diedrich, she can surprise the best.
GAHIE Marie eve (FRA) 1. seed (4. place WRL)
MATIC Barbara (CRO) 2. seed (9. place WRL)
POGACNIK Anka (SLO) 3. seed (10. place WRL)
GERCSAK Szabina (HUN) 4. seed (15. place WRL)
VAN DIJKE Sanne (NED) 5. seed (19. place WRL)
SAMARDZIC Aleksandra (BIH) 6. seed (23. place WRL)
KLYS Katarzyna (POL) 7. seed (26. place WRL)
BERNHOLM Anna (SWE) 8. seed (29. place WRL)
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Twan De Ruiter (NED)