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Medal chances at first European Open in Belgrade
22 Sep 2017 17:30
This year’s European Open in Belgrade will count more than 60 athletes from the home nation. In total 240 athletes from more than 30 nations will be present in Belgrade. For the first time the event has the status of European Open, compared to European Cup last year.
In total 83 women and 157 men are ready for this inaugural European open. Serbia is proud to host a higher level event the next few years and will have the numbers 1 and 2 of the IJF workd ranking in house to promote the event. This morning World champion Nemanja Majdov and world number one Aleksandar Kukolj were present at an official gathering with the Japanese embassy that will sponsor new talents with an amount of 34,000 euro. Serbian Judo Federation President Ivan todorov hosted the event iand is determined to use this money in the best and efficient way.
In 2016 tiny youngster Andrea Stojadinov (16) captured the hearts of the home crowd winning gold U48kg. This year Alexandra Pop may be the strongest U48kg. In total Serbia won 5 medals last edition, given the strength of the tournament this is an ambitious goal to achieve for this year’s edition.
Mainly the men have been successful in Belgrade but also the Serbian women can mingle in the medal stages. Despite the strong men U90kg Milica Nikolic is currently ranked 5th U48kg and is the first seed in Belgrade. Also Jovana Rogic is seeded first U57kg with strong French competitors. Although the Serbian women U63kg are young, they may have medal potential. Tea Tintor, the Obradovic sisters.
the category U63 has a good field with 21 strong athletes and will see the return of British Lucy Renshall who makes her comeback after an injury since February.
U66kg Ilija Ciganovic is in a good shape U66kg. At the European Cup in Bratislava he took a silver medal and he might snatch a medal like in 2015. U81kg also two seeded players in Aleksej Nefedov and Stefan Majdov. Zarko Culum retained his title in Bratislava in September and seems to be in form to have a share in the medal stake of Serbia again, last year he took bronze.
The start of the competition on Saturday is 11;00h and on Sunday at 10;00h. The final block on Saturday starts at 17:00h and on Sunday at 15:00h Read more about the European Open in Belgrade.
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Vicky Verschaere (BEL)
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