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European Cup in Uster breeding ground for challengers
10 Mar 2019 19:50
Georgia, France and Germany were the best nations at the first European Cup of the season held in Uster. Most over young athletes between 18 and 24 won the titles with young Georgians and more experienced French judoka. One thing they have in common, they are either approaching senior level and considered the challengers for a higher level or trying to get a foot between the door at this European Cup level, where a gold medal is celebrated as a career best.
For some athletes like Swiss Larissa Csatari (30) or Johanna Hagn (29) both fighting U57kg this tournament gives them joy to show them to the home crowd or getting a medal to get some confidence. Their career is long but almost at the end. But there was also a young Georgian men’s team and a young Dutch team gaining a few medals where their performances are the start for a new challenge soon.
On Sunday the Georgian men won all the gold medals. Vladimir Akhalkatsi took gold after a victory against French Ibrahim Keita. Lasha Bekauri won the all Georgian final U90kg against Imeda Gogoladze in the final with the youngest athletes (18 and 20). Giorgi Beriashvili captured gold U100kg, again in an Georgian final where he bested Giorgi Chikovani. Amirani Tsikoridze defeated Dutchman Stef van Kampen in the heavyweight final.
The French team was good for three gold medals. Vincent Manquest was expected in the final U60kg. He won against Tibo Volleman. Another silver medal for Holland’s team as Ivo Verhorstert couldn’t prevent a victory for Mattia Micelli of Italy U66kg. Naim Matt of Switzerland captured the first home victory for the Swiss. He sent Belgian Charly Nys to the silver podium.
In the women’s division France took another two gold medals. A French final for women U48kg won by Virginia Aymard against Faustine Bernard. Julia Tolofua secured the third and last gold for France in the heavyweight final against Croatian Zrinka Miocic.
The Swiss crowd cheered for Tamara Silva who won gold against Spanish Marta Also Montserrat in the final U52kg. The German women are traditionally at any age level. These relatively young athletes in Switzerland were successful as Pauline Starke overcame the strong Tena Sikic of Croatia in the final U57kg. Alina Boehm won gold against Celine Fluery (SUI) U70kg and Lisa Dollinger added the third gold for Germany against Renee van Harselaar who took the fourth Dutch silver medal.
Last but not least the Dutch also captured a gold medal by Esme Nalbat when she won her final U63kg against French Alexia Caillon. For Nalbat her first gold in any European Cup. The next European Cup is in Dubrovnik in April.
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Rafal Kubacki (POL)
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