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European U23 Championships in Podgorica opportunity for new generation
10 Nov 2017 09:35
Mattias Casse is the only World Junior Champion who appears at the European U23 Championships in Podgorica. The Belgian world champ is one of the favourites in the category U81kg and the highest seed. As usual a tough category with Anri Egutidze (POR), Fagan Guluzada (AZE), Dominik Druzeta (CRO), Jim Heijman (NED) and Nicklas Bloechl (GER) as medal contenders. Also home player Arso Milic is a well known fighter who won his first European medal in 2012 at the Cadet European Championships in Bar, also in Montenegro, the first major event in this relative young country.
Casse is one of the few judoka who won a senior title this year, in Katowice he won the title at the European Open. Also Jovana Pekovic won a senior championship for women U70kg. The Montenegro super talent won the European Cup in Belgrade and she will be the eye-catcher for the home-crowd in Podgorica. Although Pekovic will fight in a strong category with World Junior runner-up Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH), last year’s U23 Champion Szabina Gercsak (HUN), bronze medallist Elisaveta Teltsidou (GRE) and World Junior bronze medallist Michaela Polleres (AUT). But this category has lots of dangerous outsiders.
Five athletes defend last year’s title won in Tel Aviv. Denis Vieru of Romania won the category U66kg. This will an interesting category U66kg with Grand Prix Tashkent winner Dzmitry Minkou (BLR) as number one seed. The 21-year old Belarussian develops strongly this year. The Belarussian have more potential medallists with Minsk European Open winner Yahor Varapayeu U90kg and last year’s European silver medallist Mikita Svyrid and Daniel Mukete U100kg. Also this category is highly competitive with always strong Russian judoka such as Niyas Ilyasov who won bronze last year. Croatia’s Marko Kumric and Germany fighter Johannes Frey are among the top tips U100kg.
Beka Gviniashvili of Georgia is another title defender U90kg. He won three medal at previous European U23 Championships. Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo won the title last year in Tel Aviv U52kg and is again aiming to prolong the title. Larisa Florian (ROU) and Anja Stangar (SLO) may be tough opponents but the Kosovarian is the number one candidate. Not Theresa Stoll but sister Amelie will have to defend the family title U57kg. Theresa Stoll won the title last year. Amelie will be challenged by strong women from Croatia, Kosovo, Italy and Austria.
The Ukraine has a strong team again with Anastasiya Turchyn as title defender U78kg. Russia, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany are traditionally strong and tall.
Most judoka can be found in the category U73kg with 29 judoka of a total of 301 athletes from 41 nations. The best seeded women’s category is U52kg with 25 athletes.
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