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Majlinda Kelmendi not in danger defending her European title
20 Apr 2017 18:15
Majlinda Kelmendi won her third European title. Despite a back injury the Kosovarian was too strong for the rest. Surprise was the final for Alesya Kuznetsova. In her new weight category she is able to reach the top of Europe. Her groundwork is amazing but that was about the danger for Kelmendi. 49 seconds for the end Kelmendi struck with ippon in the final. Nothing to do against Kelmendi who won the title in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Ramos was her only dangerous opponent today.
There were a few surprises as Joana Ramos (POR) stunned Andreea Chitu in her first match. Kelly Edwards caught Amandine Buchard who was in such a good shape, but Edwards lost to Kuznetsova. The Russian non-seeded players do well today. Two silver medals for the Russian women at European level. That was a time ago. Giuffrida defeated Distria Krasniqi, that second dangerous judoka from Kosovo.
Swiss Evelyne Tschopp scored a wazari against Odette Giuffrida of Italy in the final for bronze. The runner-up of the Olympic Games in Rio wasn’t fit and suffered a foot injury. Joana Ramos of Portugal was happy to win bronze as well in her bronze bout against Gili Cohen of Israel.
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Since winning her first World title in 2013, Majlinda Kelmendi has been defeated only once in an individual tournament. That loss was to Erika Miranda of Brazil in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, just two months after Kelmendi's return to competition after a very long injury layoff. The unfortunate draw brought the Olympic medallists together in one pool. Read more
In the final itself Miranda was opposed to the best French hope for the future, Amandine Buchard. The French was the best chance of medal for her delegation in Rio in -48kg but facing weight management problems, the 21-year-old, did not go to Rio. Being now in the U52kg category, she showed that she will be one of the main contenders in the coming years. Read more
The Portuguese Judo Federation announced its team for the 2016 Olympic Games. This time Telma Monteiro is not seeded for Rio. An injury at the end of the year prevented her from fighting so far in 2016. Her last event was the Grand Slam of Paris in October 2015. The Portuguese star will go for her fourth Olympic Games, she debuted in 2004 in Athens and fought eight Olympic contests so far, but was much more ambitious. This fourth edition should bring her more luck. Read more
The weight division for women U52kg has become more competitive. In the past it was a rather boring category, but the Europeans have taken over with Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo as strong favourite, but also other athletes developed well. Andreea Chitu of Romania is one of the most experienced in the field and delivered some incredible performances. Chitu will face Laura Gomez or Distria Krasniqi, not the easiest starting match. Kelmendi truly has an easy pool and will walk straight to the semi final without wasting energy. Read more
Joana Ramos of Portugal celebrated winning her first Grand Slam gold medal as she continues to defy the odds at the age of 33. Asian Championships winner Ma Yingnan (CHN), who was fifth at the World Championships last year in Chelyabinsk, fell behind to a waza-ari after 40 seconds and that was the difference at the end of the contest as the Portuguese fighter, who won silver at the 2010 Russia Grand Slam, showed the world that she is truly in her prime. Read more
Archil Shinjikashvili (GEO)
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