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Serbian men strong at European Cup in Dubrovnik
4 Oct 2020 19:10
Today was an important day for Croatian judo with day two scheduled in Dubrovnik of the European Cup. Today lots of medal candidates on the tatami, of which two turned into gold for the Croatians. Still Serbia dominated the men’s tournament with three gold medals including the return of Aleksandar Kukolj who was fighting U100kg.
The tall technician from Serbia was in a pool of five athletes including the Kumric brothers. The former World number one U90kg won all his fights and some were fingerlicking. Marko Kumrić fought for gold against the European champion from 2017 but lost by ippon. The bronze went to Kumrić's older brother, Zlatko, who’s fight with Kukolj was also interesting. Kukolj used his chance in the last minute and celebrated against the man from Split.
Darko Brasnjovic took gold for Serbia U90kg defeating Josip Buic in the final. Josip Bulić showed a lot of energy and will, beating Čirić and Nikolić from Serbia, but in the final against Brašnjović was too strong in a real Grand Prix atmosphere. Both judokas received two penalties Brašnjović was able to finish the fight in his advance.
The heavyweight gold was for Zarko Culum, also from Serbia who defeated Vito Dragic. All athletes in this class know each other well. Enej Marinic fought back in the repechage and took bronze. Semi finalist Goran Prgonjic won his last fight for bronze.
In the Croatian final U81kg was definitely a highlight The who Dominiks: Družeta and Sumpor, justified the enthusiasm and the favorite won the match by wazari in the "golden score", but it was an excellent fight by Sumpor as well, especially in the first two minutes of the final.
Two categories for women on Sunday and the women U70kg had quite an interesting field, of course with Barbara Matic, but also Anka Pogačnik, two world class players. As expected, Barbara Matić dominated until the finals, where the experienced Pogačnik was waiting for her. Matic was more aggressive, but Pogačnik managed to resist Matic and claimed the gold medal after her wazari score.
Matic reacted: “I was aggressive and after the first two easy victories against Pogačnik I felt top quality. We will review the fight, see what I could have done better and continue to work.
The world cadet champion from 2017, Helena Vuković, qualified for a dream final against Larisa Cerić (BIH), winner of European and world medals. Cerić was impressed by the 20-year-old Vuković who kept the pace well and in the 7th minute of the fight she forced Cerić to the third penalty and reached a big gold medal for her. For Ceric this was a useful finger practice to see what needs to be done. Despite the low participants field, the vibe of the fighting spirit was a relief for 98 athletes, judo is back albeit with small steps.
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