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Telma Monteiro equals Edith Hrovat with 14th European medal
Telma Monteiro equals Edith Hrovat with 14th European medal
20 Nov 2020 10:25
IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

Some surprising European champions in Prague. Statisticians enjoy these championships with lots of figures thanks to the experienced judoka. But also youngsters show themselves with less than 250 days to go for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In the women's U48kg Shirine Boukli won the first gold medl for France. The 21-year-old winner of the Grand Slam in Düsseldorf is in  good shape the whole year and beat world bronze medallist and favourite Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo in the quarter-finals, before seeing off fellow 21-year-old Laura Martínez Abelenda of Spain in the semis and Serbian 20-year-old Andrea Stojadinov in the final. The Serbian won her third European medal in a month time.

Azerbaijan's Orkhan Safarov produced a major shock to win one of five titles awarded on the opening day of the European Judo Championships in Czech capital Prague.

Safarov, who had previously won world and European medals in the U60kg division, beat Italian world number one Manuel Lombardo in round one on his way to a stunning U66kg title.

Tight wins followed, before Safarov beat Israel's Tal Flicker via ippon in the final. Flicker's route to the final had included defeating past champion Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia.

Russian Robert Mshvidobadze won the other men's gold medal on offer today, becoming European under-60kg champion for the second time after triumphing at this event in Warsaw in Poland in 2017. In an all-Russian final, Mshvidobadze beat Yago Abuladze via ippon with just four seconds remaining. Since 2009 seven Russian athletes won the European title. Galstyan and Mudranov converted the success into n Olympic title U60kg. That gives hope to 31-year old Mshvidobadze.

Odette Giuffrida, a silver medallist at the Rio 2016 Olympics, ensured there was joy for Italy in the U52kg, defeating double European champion Andreea Chițu of Romania in the final. For the first time since 2008 Italy celebrated a European Champion. It was the first European senior medal ever for Giuffrida who won everything in her youth period.

In the women's under-57kg, Hungary's Hedvig Karakas (30) triumphed over Portuguese judoka Telma Monteiro (34) to claim the title - her first European medal since 2015, and 11 years on from winning bronze at this event in Georgian capital Tbilisi. Obviously it was the oldest final of the day and likely the tournament.

Karakas, who also won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2009, had never won a European crown before, whereas Monteiro is a five-time European champion and won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics. For Telma Monteiro it was her 14th medal at the European Championships. She won her first in 2004 and only twice she lost the final, she won five. She equals Austrian Edith Hrovat with her 14 medals in a regular weight category. Anton Geesink won 25 but that includes the open weight category medals.

Russia currently lead the medals table, with one gold and one silver, but France's total of three medals is the largest overall tally.