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Georgian men and women shine at Junior European Championships
15 Sep 2018 17:45
Georgia is traditional strong at the last day of the Junior European Championships. With their power in the categories U100kg and +100kg the Georgians celebrated two European champions on the third day in Sofia.
The third started with gold for Germany. Falk Petersilka who sometimes showed his capabilities in the senior category, was among the favourites U90kg for this Junior Championship. Petersilka though was definitely not in the hot seed, but grew into the tournament after a good victory against Harry Lovell-Hewitt in his first match. Petersilka became the winner of his pool and defeated Darko Brasnjovic of Serbia in the semi final. Number one seed Apor Toth (HUN) lost his semi final against Mert Sismanlar of Turkey who was another surprise in this class. The Turkish team is performing extremely well but this gold went to Germany. Petersilka decided the match after two minutes and gave Germany again a European title. Last year Tim Gramkow won the only gold for the German men. Hungarian talent Apor Toth took bronze as well as Russian Mansur Lorsanov.
As mentioned the Georgians with Onise Saneblidze and Gela Zaalishvili both took gold. Saneblidze was finally able to collect an individual European gold medal. As a cadet he won bronze at European and World level, in the Georgian team he won the gold medals, but individually this was his day. Saneblidze bested Shpat Zeka of Kosova that keeps surprising with new talent, also male talent. Only Daniel Zorn was able to meet the expectations of the favourites with bronze but he lost to Saneblidze in the semi final, which is obviously possible. Zorn defeated Jelle Snippe, Holland’s frontrunner since Simeon Catharina (NED) lost his first match in this class. Polish Iwo Baraniewski reached the semi final but lost to Zeka. Adil Karimli (AZE) came back in the repechage and won bronze.
A second Georgian gold for Gela Zaalishvili. Also he hadn’t won individual gold for his country in his young career, but contributed to double European team gold. This time Zaalishvili clinched with another strong German; Erik Abramov who took silver. Slovenian Enej Marinic is in a good shape and continues his way up with European bronze this time in Sofia. David Babayan (RUS) also took bronze after he bested Jonas Schreiber (GER). Over the last seven editions Georgia and Russia both took three heavyweight titles. In fact all those champions from the past were able to make the connection in the senior division.
France, Germany and the Netherlands are traditionally strong countries in the women’s U78kg division. But for the sixth time in a row a different country won the title. In Sofia it was Patricia Sampaio, perhaps Portugal’s biggest talent, who captured the title and became successor of Klara Apotekar (SLO). Portugal was close to gold on the second day, but this time Sampaio became the sixth ever Portuguese winner in history, four times gold for a woman. Sampaio had to overcome the strong Christina Faber of Germany who is used to heavy competition in her own country where a true battle is going on. Sampaio who won World bronze last year in Zagreb was able to stand the German pressure and scored wazari, good enough for the European title. Croatian Karla Prodan stays in the line of expectations with bronze after she won European Cadet bronze and EYOF bronze in 2015. Although Hungary has a strong reputation at senior level U78kg, never a Hungarian Junior was able to capture a medal, today was that day for Fanni Toth with a historic medal.
Hungary is creating strong judoka in both men and women heavyweight categories. This tournament Mercedesz Szigetvari showed her wide experience in this class with a gold medal after taking bronze last year in Maribor. Szigetvari defeated Renee Lucht of Germany in the final. We count four silver medals for Germany this championship and fortunately one gold. In the European Cups this year, eleven different countries won the gold medals, Szigetvari didn’t win gold in the circuit, but she peaked at the right moment. Kubranur Esir of Turkey finished the fantastic championship where Turkey collected six medals. Also the Georgian women added a medal, three medals for them, the last for Sophio Somkhishvili. With nine medals Georgia claims the first place in the medal table. Only in 2002, 2015 and 2018 Georgia won three Junior European titles.
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