Turkiye breaks with junior history with double golden performance in Prague
Turkiye surprised with two gold medals at the opening day of the European Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. We know they are always strong in the lightweights, especially when it comes to the girls… and they didn’t disappoint. Even an all Turkiye final U48kg.
Merve Azak and Sila Ersin gave a spectacular showcase although they didb’t score in the regular time. In the golden score the match went on and on with continuous attacks from both sides. But after almost eight minutes it was Merve Azak who countered Ersin and claimed the first European title of the tournament for her country.
But it wasn’t over for Turkiye despite the two female medals, Muhammed Demirel stunted to gold U66kg Although he was the number one seed in Prague, it’s still not a matter of picking up the medals in this competitive class. Demirel had a renowned opponent in Aleko Kasradze of Georgia who showed his capabilities during the day. He was the one who opened the score in the final. It was Demirel though to make the equalizer and the match opened up to become a lively match where in the end Demirel countered the Georgian for the victory, the second gold medal for Turkiye, an amazing start at the Junior Europeans.
We have to go back in history to 1994 when Turkiye had two winners on the same day, Bektas Demirel (what’s in a name) and Ilknur Kobas, two big names in Turkish Judo. Demirel later won the senior European title in 2004 in this category U66kg and competed at various Olympic Games.
Poland was successful in the men’s U60kg division with gold for Ksawery Ignasiak. No one could follow the Pole today in the lightweights with stunning performances. But also his final opponent Turan Bayramov (AZE) showed his face and in the final both young men showed off in the final. Bayramov was close to a score with sode tsuri komi goshi and was about to make the decision on the ground but the video referee interfered and got disqualified because of diving over his neck. Big dissapontment for Bayramov and Ignsaiak walked away with the gold. The first lightweight gold since Marek Rybicki in 1982, fourty years later it was Ignasiak.
Another history that was made: Finland celebrated its only Junior European Champion in 1993, Susah Koivu, now history was changed with a second title by Pihla Salonen. She struck immediately in the final against one of those favourites U52kg Chloe Devictor (FRA). The first ten second were decisive for the contest and Salonen couldn’t break the defense of Salonen during the contest. She showed to be the best today with a variation of techniques.
Another sensation was 18-year young Julie Beurskens of the Netherlands who left the competition with empty hands, well, Marta Garcia Martin (ESP) took a silver medal, but couldn’t prevent Beurskens from winning. Beurskens defeated juior World Champion Ozlem Yildiz in the quarter final. She just left her cadet period and took a silver medal at the EYOF but won the Junior tournament in Nanterre in France which was a good prediction for today. Beurskens became one of the youngest ever winners of the Junior European title for her country in this century. World Champion Yildiz added a bronze medal for the Turkish team.
Today in 2008 Lukas Krpalek won the Junior European title in Warsaw. He is now world class with two Olympic titles. This is what can happen in judo. Lukas Krpalek gave presence at the Euros in Prague to motivate the young athletes 14 years later.