As expected Russia was the strongest day at the first day of the European U23 Championships in Izhevsk. With three gold medals the Russian team took the majority of the medals. Belgian Amber Ryheul captured the title for women U52kg and Eteri Liparteliani keeps on continuing impressive medals, this time with European U23 gold.
The Spanish team was also expected, especially on the first day in Russia. They have a strong team in the lightweight and middle weight categories and captured three medals today. Still a bit sour as two finals were lost. Mireia Lapuerta Comas couldn’t prevent that the European title went to Russian rival Daria Pichkaleva. The lightweight wasn’t in an easy pool with Germany’s Mascha Ballhaus but she won that quarter final and moved on defeating Sofia Petitto of Italy who was able to send Andrea Stojadinov to the repechage to snatch bronze afterall.. The Serbian was expected on the medal table. Pichkaleva was opposed to Lapuerta Comas who overcame Tamar Malca of Israel in the semis. The Spaniard couldn’t hold on and lost in 90 seconds against Russian U23 champion Pichkaleva. She was in a good shape in the European Cups and won gold in Orenburg, Saarbrucken en Bratislava last year and took silver in Orenburg this year but seems ready to move up to IJF World Tour level.
Nina Esteo Linne of Spain was sentenced to the second spot as well, this time it was Amber Ryheul of Belgium who became the third ever winner of her country at this level. Amelie Rosseneu (2010) and Roxane Taeymans (2013) previously won the European title. Ryheul won all of her four contests, although the field was not exceptionally strong. Many top athletes passed this championship in the Ural in Russia and only 235 athletes took the time to go to Izhevsk. Fifteen women fought U52kg with some good women from Spain, Germany and Belgium.
Eteri Liparteliani recently won the Junior World title for Georgia and is still on very good form with this new European title. Adding the Junior title in Vaantaa in September, the last two months are extremely successful for the 20-year old youngster who won the EYOF title in 2015 and started off her rocket career. In Russian Liparteliani was unstoppable, even for Russian finalist Danna Nagucheva who was not expected, but Liparteliani knew her from the EYOF in 2015 where Nagucheva took bronze. The Georgian won her four contests by ippon and needed only six minutes all together. Portuguese Wilsa Gomes (POR) gave herself a late birthday present with a bronze medal and Tihea Topolovec lost in 14 seconds to Liparteliani but came back successfully in the repechage and won bronze for Croatia. She is of course the first Georgian female winner
Russian men take two gold medals
Ramazan Abdulaev captured the first gold for the Russian men. In an all-Russian final he defeated Ayub Bliev. The podium was accompanied by two Georgian men. Both Temur Nozadze and Jaba Papinashvili lost the semi finals against their Russian opponent but won the bronze after all.
Murad Chopanov won the European title U66kg. The Orenburg winner who took World Junior bronze last year now florished and defeated his Azeri opponent Nurlan Osmanov. Also the 20-year old was a surprise but in this field everything was possible. David Garcia Torne took the third Spanish medal with bronze and Italian Mattia Miceli had a career highlight with such European podium.