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Patricia Sampaio defends junior European title in Finland

11 Sep 2019 22:55

   IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

The Junior European Championships will be in held in Vantaa in Finland from Thursday. In total 44 nations have sent its best juniors to compete at the second most important event of the year. The Junior World Championships take part in Marrakech (MOR) next month. The 343 athletes equals the lowest number of participants since 2010 in Samokov.

The last Finnish athlete to win a medal at the Junior Europeans was in 2017 by Emilia Kanerva. She closed a gap of 13 years for her country as in the beginning of the century Finland had quite a few talents.

The host nation sent nine athletes. The Russian team is the biggest with the maximum 18 athletes, 9 men and 9 women. Also Italy will have the maximum 18 athletes and have a very talented group in this age class. Those two countries are the most favourite for catching the most medals.

In the team of Russian Mirzo Shukoriev won three gold medals in the Junior tour this year and will play a role in the U81kg class. Makhmadbek Makhmadbekov fighting U73kg won five medals so far including two victories.

In the Italian team all gold medals achieved this season were distributed over 11 different athletes. The Italian men have doubles positions U60kg, U73kg and U81kg. The women have two athletes U52kg, U63kg and +78kg.

The one dominating the women’s division is British Kelly Petersen-Pollard in her U70kg weight class. She was in five finals this season and captured three gold medals.

The Georgian team will be strong with two World Ranking leaders Lasha Bekauri (U90kg) and Gela Zaalishvili (+100kg) so are expected to shine at the third day of the championships.

Also Serbia will have two world ranking leaders in Anja Obradovic (U63kg) and Marica Perisic (U57kg) obviously starting as number one seed.

Portugal Senior World number five Patricia Sampaio is poised to win the women’s U78kg weight class. But results made at senior level are usually not a guarantee for junior results, it’s incomparable but her level is likely already higher than the top juniors of this season such as the juniors from Germany, The Netherlands or Russia. Sampaio defends her title won in Sofia last year.

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