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Maryna Slutskaya first female European Champion for Belarus
22 Apr 2017 22:30
There was yet another miracle on Saturday at the European Championships in Warsaw. Maryna Slutskaya became the first woman ever to win the European title for her country, Belarus. The heavyweight, coached by Leonid Svyrid, claimed the European title after she defeated Svitlana Iaromka of the Ukraine in the final.
The tiny Belarussian is in good form and recently won the title at the Grand Prix in Tblisi in April. Earlier this year she won the European Open in Prague. It has been eight years since a woman from Belarussia won a medal. In 2009, Sviatlana Tsimashenka won bronze, but now there is a gold for Team Belarus. It was the country's only medal at the competition, but the team performance was good: two fifth place finishes and noticable growth in the relatively young team.
Slutskaya (25) bested Ksenia Chibisova of Russia in her first match and then faced Larisa Ceric of Bosnia Herzegovina. Slutskaya struck with a waza-ari and reached the semi-final. Ceric fought back to win the bronze. Slutskaya was opposed to Ukrainian talent Yelyzaveta Kalanina, but she also went down with a strong Slutskaya waza-ari. In the final, Slutskaya needed just two minutes to get Iaromka into oseikomi. Iaromka, who is a real thrower, caught a few favourites in Savelkouls and Kayra Sayit, the later in the semi-final.
German Carolin Weiss, who fought a great match against Sayit, won bronze. Despite her loss against Sayit she came back and defeated Savelkouls and Kalanina.
Slutskaya is not new in Europe. She was in the final of the European Championships in 2008... in Warsaw. She also missed out on a gold in 2010 at the Junior Championships. This time, however, the fight swung quickly in her favor. At the European U23 Championships she collected two bronze medals in 2010 and 2011. Six years later her future looks bright again in her best year.
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Bas Meerveld (NED)