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European Cup Belgrade perfect host for 261 athletes
8 Jun 2018 09:20
261 Judoka from a record number of 34 nations will be fighting this weekend in Belgrade for the European Cup, slightly earlier than last year when the previous edition was held in September. More then 25% of the field in filled with Serbian athletes. Unfortunetaly not with World Ranking leader Aleksandar Kukolj nor World Champion Nemanja Majdov. But that’s the same as last year when the event gave space to new talents to set a career highlight.
Among the talents also well-known athletes such as Charline van Snick who this time fights U57kg to gain get in shape for the Olympic qualification via this warm-up event at European Cup level. Andreea Chitu, last week’s winner in Madrid is listed but won’t fight in the Serbian capital and prepare for the next level after winning gold last week. She will prepare in Casteldefells and the training Centre in Rome and after that the Zagreb Grand Prix.
Belgrade was awarded the European Open status last year, but each year it switches from European Open to European Cup. Since the organisation set a good standard at European Cup level it was a World Ranking event, but this even year it's back to European Cup for one year. and back to the previous Sports Hall Vozdovacki Centar Sumice.
Among the teams good presence from Hungary with a team of 34 athletes, Romania will send a strong team with 21 judoka, but without Chitu as mentioned and Ungureanu. Heavyweight Daniel Natea who won in Madrid as well, will be fighting in Belgrade. He won the tournament also in 2015. His countryman Vladut Simionescu won last year. In the Romanian team also the comeback of Corina Stefan, better known as 2012 Olympic Games runner-up Corina Caprioriu who was fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Also Croatia will have a team of 20 youngsters, all from the clubs easy ride by car, and so most athletes are coming from individual clubs.
Follow the European Cup this weekend with all ins and outs from the spot with lots of Serbian influence in the medal table. Expect Andrea Stojadiinov (the last winner for Serbia), Jovana Rogic, Jovana Obradovic, Tea Tintor and among men Strahinja Buncic, Stefan Majdov, Dosen Bojan and Zarko Culum. In total 67 athletes from the host nations will be in action.
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Sergejs Rumjancevs (LAT)