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Aleksandar Kukolj claims first ever European title for Serbia
22 Apr 2017 17:15
Aleksandar Kukolj defeated Alex Clerget in the anticipated final at the European Championships in Warsaw. The numbers one and two of the seeding list reached the final. Kukolj really managed to continue his successful season. With fine groundwork, he got Clerget into an osaekomi, even producing an armlock, which made Clerget tap out.
It was the first ever title for Serbia, a unique performance of Kukolj who was fifth in Europe three times, including last year. Now, these positions are wiped away with a fantastic gold medal. Recently, Kukolj won the Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi and Grand Slam in Tokyo and in April he took a bronze medal in Antalya, a good sign of his shape.
Kukolj isn’t new at the European stage as he won silver at junior level in 2010 and at European U23 Championships he claimed bronze in 2010 and silver in 2013. Now at the age of 25, he has claimed his biggest career win in Warsaw.
Kukolj made a great impression the whole day with a victory over Ciril Grossklaus (SUI) in 28 seconds, followed by a win against Rokas Nenartavicius (LTU) in just a minute. Estonian Klen Kristofer Kaljulaid was dispatched in two minutes and only in the semi-final did Kukolj need the golden score to defeat Mammadali Mehdiyev. In the final, the two most unorthodox Ne-waza specialists went head-to-head as Clerget also showed some great judo today.
Khusen Khalmurzaev defeated Beka Gviniashvili in the quarter final and both athletes managed to win the bronze. Khalmurzaev lost to Clerget in the semi, Gviniashvili came back via Nemanja Majdov, the other Serbian fighter and through Mehdiyev (AZE).
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