At the first day of the European Cup for Juniors in Coimbra the Italian team was celebrating three gold medals, including the victory delivered by Luca Carlino. "We are very happy. Luca is very young, it is his first year in this age category and with this win he is going to gain some points for the Cadet World Ranking List." said Nicola Moraci, head coach of the Italian team. Although this was Luca's first participation in Coimbra, winning here runs in his vains - his brother won the portuguese cadet cup two years ago and last month was second in the junior division. The total number of 326 athletes from 23 different countries are competing this weekend at the Cadet European Judo Cup, hosted by Portuguese city of Coimbra.
The opponent of Luca Carlino was Portuguese home favourite Francisco Mendes. From the beginning of the competition the eyes of the local crowd were on Francisco Mendes (-55kg), who turned out to be, undoubtly, the best Portuguese athlete of the day. Mendes, National Champion and bronze medalist of last week's Junior European Judo Cup in Coruna (ESP), finished the event with a silver medal.
"My fights were very even, I believe we were all at the similar level. I entered the final fight being very focused and I was eager to win. I was at the same level as Luca (ITA) but I made a huge mistake by putting my arm over him. Anyway, I'm very happy with finishing second and the crowd's support was amazing!", said Mendes after the final.
"Francisco had a very good performance today, I'm not sure what happened in the final. Nevertheless, he has a great future ahead of him and right now we're focusing on the upcoming European Championships, where I believe he will be able to win a medal", added the coach, Alan Massart.
Italy scored two other gold medals by Biagio D'Angelo U50kg and Luca Caggiano U60kg, in the tradition of the strong Italian lightweights. Italy also won two silver medals by Sofia Petitto and Ludovica Lentini in the women's division.
Neighbour Spain won gold by means of Laura Martinez Abelenda U44kg. Cyprus medal was special U40kg by promiss Vasiliki Kourri. Dutch hope U48kg Aniek Norder was happy with a gold medal in Coimbra.
German Annabelle Winzig took the victory U52kg. Belgium won a gold medal in the young men's U66kg by Jeroen Casse.