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European Judo Championships Preview U48kg: New challengers vs common elite
19 Apr 2017 00:20
The European Judo Championships in Warsaw will have a few nice clashes in the U48kg category. The surprising number one seed is Milica Nikolic of Serbia. In a long era where Alina Dumitru (ROU), Éva Csernoviczki (HUN), and Charline Van Snick (BEL) dominated, this lightweight class features some new names to watch.
Csernoviczki was the only European to finish among the best seven at the Olympic Games in Rio. She is seeded sixth, but may normally reach the best eight with fingers in her nose. Milica Nikolic is a new kid on the block. Serbian Nikolic won the European U23 title in Bratislava in 2015. She took gold at the Grand Prix in Zagreb in 2016. Nikolic won the European Cup in Sarajevo in 2014 and European Open Sofia silver in 2016 and bronze in 2015. In 2014 she was fifth at the World Junior Championships in Miami. Also, she was bronze at Grand Prix Budapest and Grand Slam in Tyumen and silver at the Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi in 2016. She won bronze at the Grand Slam in Paris in 2017 and silver at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2017.
Maryna Cherniak of the Ukraine is warming up for the European Championships. With silver in Tbilisi she is getting closer to the top, but has taken a while. Cherniak is the older twin-sister of Inna Cherniak, who won the Paralympic title in Rio last year. She won national titles, a European Championships medal in 2014 and World Cup victories. With her strong Uchi-mata she can reach European top level. She was fifth at the World and European Games in 2015 and, last year in Kazan, suffered a disappointing loss in the pre-rounds.
Israeli Shira Rishony started almost everywhere this year. The lightweight won the Grand Prix in Tashkent in 2013 and European Open in Tallinn in 2014. Rishony won various medals at Israeli championships U48kg. In 2015 she won bronze at the Grand Slam of Paris and in 2016 she opened with silver in Havana. She won a bronze medal at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2017 and picked up silver at the Grand Prix in Antalya and is coming close to breaking through to the top of the podium.
In this field we also expect Melanie Clement, Monica Ungureanu, and from the non-seeded players, Irina Dolgova. She is still swimming but can suddenly reach her personal best. Fjolla Kelmendi is an outsider for a medal stunt and also youngster Daria Bilodid has proven to be among the best in all age categories. Another medal at such a level would be mindblowing for the Ukraine.
Spanish Julia Figueroa just cancelled in the last moment to compete in Warsaw. Her replacement as seeded player will likely be one of the Russians, most likely Mariia Persidskaya.
NIKOLIC Milica (SRB) 1. seed (6. place WRL)
CHERNIAK Maryna (UKR) 2. seed (7. place WRL)
RISHONY Shira (ISR) 3. seed (10. place WRL)
MINSKER Noa (ISR) 4. seed (13. place WRL)
CSERNOVICZKI Eva (HUN) 5. seed (15. place WRL)
CLEMENT Melanie (FRA) 6. seed (16. place WRL)
UNGUREANU Monica (ROU) 7. seed (17. place WRL)
PERSIDSKAIA Mariia (RUS) 8. seed (22. place WRL)
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Tom Grootjans (NED)