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Double Dutch Gold at European U23s in Podgorica
11 Nov 2017 19:50
The Netherlands claimed two gold medals at day two of the European U23 Championships. With Geke van den berg and Hilde Jager the Dutch had a great day. Saian Ondar (RUS) and Dorin Gotonoaga (MDA) claimed gold in the men’s division.
The category U63kg was won by Geke van den Berg who was fifth last year. Van den berg is a former bronze medallist at the Junior Europeans in 2015 and winner of the European Cup this year in Bratislava. She is the number three of the Netherlands at Senior championships but today everything went according the books. One of the major victories was in her quarter final against the strong Romanian Stefania Dobre, also a former Cadet and Junior champion who stepped up one category to U63kg. In the semi final Van den berg bested Israelian Inbal Shemesh by wazari. Shemesh lost her bronze bout against her compatriot Gili Sharir. The Dutch dental hygienist progressed to the finals and defeated Kamila Badurova of Russia in the golden score.
Her country woman Hilde Jager became the youngest winner of the tournament. The 19-year old made an excellent progression in this category U70kg. She once won European Cadet bronze in 2014 but she grew so fast she sort of skipped the class U63kg and started in U70kg last year. After a lot of silver medals at Junior European Cup level this is her main career prize. Three weeks ago Jager contributed to the silver medal at the World Team Championships, now this gold medal as a prove that her move to the central training accommodation starts to pay out. In her first match she defeated Kosovo promise Loriana Kuka, followed by the world’s Junior silver medallist Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) who won bronze later. Last year’s bronze medallist Elisavet Teltsidou lost to Jager in the semi final, but won bronze as well. In the final Jager bested Junior World bronze medallist Michaela Polleres in an exhausting match in the golden score by wazari. That was a clear revenge for her seventh place at the individual World Championships where she lost to Polleres.
The Dutch won 13 European U23 titles since the start in 2003. Eleven of the title won by women and seven of those in the categories U63kg (4) and U70kg (3).
The gold medal for men U73kg was for Saian Ondar. The Russian winner was fifth last year and improved that performance to the ultimate gold medal. The Russian U23 champion Ondar won the European Cup in Orenburg this year. But Ondar is really a man for the future and already competes at a good level in the senior division. This time he defeated Kosovo runner-up Akil Gjakova in the final and became the best among the 29 men. Ondar had quite a good draw but had to fight long in total. The semi final went fast for Ondar against Marcel Cercea (ROU), a match that Ondar dominated. In the final a tense final was expected between Ondar and Akil Gjakova. But it was Ondar who scored wazari first and finished the golden job after two minutes in the match and the Russian claimed his biggest career win.
The Moldovan performances at European U23 Championships are stunning. Again the small judo nation took a gold medal. Last year by Denis Vieru, this time U81kg by Dorin Gotonoaga. In his fourth appearance at this championship he took the gold. In 2015 he won European Junior bronze. In the final Gotonoaga he defeated Dominik Druzeta in a lively final. He had some tough opponents towards to final with Dutchman Jim Heijman (later bronze medallist) in the quarter final and Joao Martinho (POR) who defeated World Junior Champion Matthias Casse (BEL) in his second contest. Heijman and Martinho won bronze and Nicon Zaborosciuc, also from Moldova took the fifth place.
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