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Gold for Ungureanu in Bucharest, French warm up for bigger goals
4 Jun 2017 13:00
A strong team of France was able to be ranked number one at the European Open in Bucharest. More often in history France used this World Cup in Bucharest to get in shape or test the form of the team. Clarisse Agbegnenou and Priscilla Gneto, both Olympic medallists won the gold on Saturday.
Romanian though started well with the first gold of the day. Maybe expected by the crowd, but the pressure on athletes such as Monica Ungureanu to take the gold is strong while the Romanians haven’t been spoiled but huge success at home. The tall Romanian lightweight won her four matches and bested Francesca Milani in the golden score of the final U48kg. After three bronze medals in 2006, 2010 and 2012 Ungureanu took the first place at home. The ninth ever victory for a Romanian judoka at this European Open, previously called the World Cup.
Polish Agata Perenc took the gold U52kg. Her first victory at a European Open never. The 27-year old contributed to the team gold at the European Championships and she won a few Polish titles, but never shone as Saturday with four consecutive victories. Perenc also bested an Italian finalist, Giulia Pierucci was defeated by wazari.
Although the level is sometimes higher at European Cup than at some of the European Open’s the level at U57kg and U63kg was upgraded with the likes of Gneto and Agbegnenou, both world class athletes. Sadly enough for Italy, they lost their third final of the day. Martina Lo Giudice couldn’t prevent a victory for Gneto. Quite a nice podium with Amelie Stoll and Jaione Equisoain both bronze and three Italians at the first eight. Gneto who’s actually just 25 years won bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games and is challenging France’s number one choice Helene Receveaux while Pavia is absent due to her pregnancy. However this tournament wasn’t the grade for a guarantee at world level, but a good indication of confidence and match rhythm.
Same for Clarisse Agbegnenou who was the best among 33 women and the level wasn’t even so bad. A quarter final against Lea Reimann (GER), semi final against Dutch Iris Iwema and a final against Margaux Pinot a a nice serie. Obviously the match against Pinot was of a higher level and was decided after more than five minutes by Agbegnenou. Pinot who came from the U70kg class some time ago, made a good step to switch back. Pinot gave Trstenjak a really tough European Championships final in Warsaw and in Bucharest it wasn’t any different, so was the outcome.
In the men’s division the seeded players weren’t ranked very high but it doesn’t make the competition less attractive. Good judo and you will guess… an Italian silver medallist. However even silver has its value. Elios Manzi showed his face successfully U60kg but couldn’t hold Daniel Ben David, another Israelian talent two win his second European Open of the season. He also won gold in Katowice. For Manzi it was his first international appearance since the Olympic Games. Carmine di Loreto came home with bronze, same for Luka Mkheidze, the French Georgian who now took a medal at European Open, his fourth international medal this season.
Gevorg Khachatrian of the Ukraine converted his silver in Katowice into gold in Bucharest. The training sessions paid off and he defeated Alberto Gaitero of Spain, a good position for the young Spaniard after bronze at the European Juniors in Malaga last year. The number two position for the Ukraine is getting interesting with Bogdan Iadov who’s the Ukrainian champion U66kg. Good steps for the Ukrainian that has obviously European Champion Georgii Zantaraia as undisputed world class player in this category. We will see him back soon to in Budapest.
A surprise victory for Jeffrey Ruiz of Puerto Rico, the second victory in Europe ever for a judoka from Puerto Rico in a weight class with 41 rivals. At Pan American opens they take some medals, but Jeffrey Ruiz showed a breakthrough in Europe when he defeated Huseyn Rahimli of Azerbaijan in the final. Also for Rahimli a good medal with more experienced guys like Javier Ramirez and Florent Urani at the bronze stage. It says that we will see Ruiz back soon. He switched from U66kg to U73kg last year and seems to have made a good decision.
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Tom Duivenvoorden (NED)
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