Russia was the expected leading country after day one of the European Cup in Orenburg. The host nations claimed five out of seven medals. Canada and Kazakhstan took the two other medals. All male gold medals went to Russia. In the women results had a better distribution among the 15 participating nations.
U60kg Yago Abuladze bested Sukhrob Boqiev in the final. Many of the fighters were from Russia but in this category also a large French influence, Jolan Florimont took bronze as well as Amartuvshin Bayaraa (MGL). The Russian U23 Champion Abuladze won his five matches in a field of 28 fighters. Abuladze is a former Junior Russian champion.
Isa Isaev (24) became the winner U66kg again, he successfully defended last year’s title. In 2014 he was Russian UI23 champion. In Saturday’s final Isaev defeated Aleksandr Kulikovskikh (RUS). Dutchman Mathijs van Harten won bronze against his compatriot Roy Schipper. French Franck Vernez overcame Antoine Bouchard (CAN) for bronze.
Saian Ondar was an expected winner U73kg, but he got good opposition from Belarussian Vadzim Shoka whoh was defeated in the golden score. Arthur Margelidon (CAN) won bronze as well as Ferdinand Karapetian (ARM).
In the women’s category two medals for Russia for Ekaterina Dolgikh against Anfisa Kapayeva U48kg. U63kg Russian won a second gold by Iana Poliakova. She bested another Belarussian, Yauheniya Zaitsava, it was the third silver for Belarus. Gold U52kg was for Nazgul Yelmuratova of Kazakhstan who beat Nazgul Bobrikova (RUS). Canada celebrated gold via a victory of Jessica Klimkait, the current Pan American Champion. The Canadians have an amazing choice at world level U57kg and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard and Ecaterina Guica both took bronze. Silver was for Dilbara Salkarbek Kyzy.
Klimkait had a perfect tournament record. “I think the highlight was my winning my first four matches. I was able to win them all using ground techniques. It’s nice to see that I’m developing more on the ground. I was pretty dominant in all my fights, but in the final, it was difficult for me to score against the Russian. I wasn’t able to throw her but I did a lot of attacking. She wasn’t attacking me at all and she got three penalties, so that was how I ended up winning.”
In Klimkait’s opinion, one of her strengths in international competition is that she is able to focus on the present moment and take one match at a time. “I concentrate on what I’m doing, never on the end result. I focus on doing my best, and usually, when I do that, it works out well.”
Guica started her day in fine form with two victories in the preliminary rounds. The Montrealer lost by ippon to Salkarbek Kyzy in the semi-final but came back to win her final match by throwing Russia’s Viktoriia Baidak.
Beauchemin-Pinard’s day played out a little differently. She lost her two first matches in the preliminary rounds but beat her two opponents in the repechage.