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Three Italian medals in Rome Japan tops the table
17 Feb 2018 20:40
Two Japanese topped the medal table of the European Open in Rome. But two Italians stole the hearts of the home crowd. The three bronze medallists Edwige Gwend, Rosalba Forciniti and Francesca Milani. Gwend was expected on the podium as number one seed, but Forciniti again surprised, perhaps even herself with bronze U52kg, a category of 24 women.
Forciniti lost the quarter final against the later winner Takumi Miyakawa from Japan. The 32-year old mother got a repechage and survived her two contests against Tamara Silva and for bronze against Sofia Hogrefe (ESP). Miyakawa bested Spanish Ana Perez Box in the final. Katiunka Szabo of Hungary also caught bronze, not a bad result for her either.
U63kg the experienced Edwige Gwend was poised to win and she reached the semi final but lost to Tina Zelter who is back in the scene, one class higher than when we last saw her in 2014. She won even the Austrian title recently and stunned Gwend with a take-over in Rome. In the final Zeltner met with the experienced Maelle Di Cintio who defeated U23 European Champion Geke van den Berg in the semi final. French gold U63kg for the French champion of last year. International gold for Di Cintio was a long time ago in 201 at European Cup level and in 2013 she became Universiade champion, it seems ages ago.
Not a surprise was gold for the number one seed Julia Figueroa. You never know what her final result will be, it’s up and down, today a clear up, and she bested country woman Laura Martinez Abelenda in the final 48kg. Francesca Milani was the third Italian, or actually the first to medal for the home country.
Last but not least the category U57kg with 28 participants and a Japanese winner in Haruka Funakubo, the double junior World Champion of 2015 and 2017. Last year she won the European Open in Sofia, so her reputation was well known. In the final she overcame Soumiya Iraoui of Morocco. Iraoui reached the first Moroccan final on European soil since Assmaa Niang won the title at the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf in 2014, a performance worth-while to mention.
Tomorrow more action from Ostia, close to Rome.
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