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Day 5 of the EYOF summarises the tournament
1 Aug 2015 19:00
It was a true race between Italy and Georgia for the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival overall medal count. On the last day, Georgia gained another title but Italy’s Annalisa Calagreti won the fifth gold medal for Italy, amazingly. Stephan Hegyi gave Austria ecstasy with his gold medal, the first Austrian gold since 1999 by Hilde Drexler.
The Austrian Heavyweight champion is always close to gaining a medal, who finished fifth at the European Cadet Championships and won bronze at the European Cup for Juniors in Leibnitz. In Georgia, he was finally able to defeat all his four opponents. In the final he overcame Ukrainian Vladyslav Berezka. In the semi final Hegyi had beaten favourite Gela Zaalashvili.
Hegyi: "At the European Championships I finished fifth place. I had a hard fight against the Russia and then I also lost against the Georgian. Today, it was important for me to beat him in the semi-final and to show everybody that I am able to beat him. To lead with a little advantage against the Ukrainian in the final was the best thing could happen to me.”
Yahor Kukharenka of Belarus won the bronze medal despite his loss in the quarter final against Zaalashvili, but he won two additional matches. Zaalishvili finished with bronze and concluded the successful EYOF for Georgia with the 9th medal; four gold and five bronze for Georgia, none of the medal fights were lost with 100% effectivity.
The gold for the men U90kg was for Onise Saneblidze of Georgia. He added the fourth gold for Georgia after his final against Russian Alumar Tumaev. Saneblidze won his four matches, in the semi final against Oleksii Babenko who won the bronze medal. Also bronze for the Netherlands, for Simeon Catharina who also took bronze at the European Cadet Championships in June. Babenko was ranked fifth in Sofia but today he won his last bout. Saneblidze won bronze in Sofia but was today the strongest, fanatically supported by the home crowd that experienced a great week of judo.
Saneblidze: "Of course it is a big success for me but right now I am a Cadet which means this is only the beginning of my career. I want to win more and more competitions to be a great judoka. The national team of Georgia is one of the best teams in the world and us, young athletes are looking up to them and now we are trying to also achieve many successes."
In the women’s division, Annalisa Calagreti finished the amazing week for the Italian team by claiming the fifth gold medal, the previous record of 2 gold medals and 5 medals in total from 1991 was destroyed. Calagreti defeated Israelian Raz Hershko, the reigning European champion. In Sofia, Calagreti finished fifth, now she threw her way to gold on the waves of the Italian flow and beat Hershko this time.
Calagreti: "During the day I have had lots of emotions…I put all my effort into every single contest and it paid off and this is what I wanted by the end of the day, to win it… I was very nervous in the final because I lost against Hershko (ISR) at the Cadet Europeans so I knew I have to do my best.”
Marketa Paulusova (CZE) was seventh in Sofia but today, she won the bronze in Tbilisi. Hungarian Champion Mercedez Szigetvari won the second bronze. This year, she won five bronze medals paired with a gold in Cluj, but this bronze tasted sweet as Georgian wine.
The last day of the EYOF summarised the performances of the two strongest nations this week: Italy and Georgia. The EYOF gave chances to unveil their talent in front of other nations.
This competition was a wonderful preview of what is to come next week in Sarajevo, the Cadet World Championships.
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