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Dutch women rule at European Cup in Saarbrücken

Dutch women rule at European Cup in Saarbrücken

16 Jul 2017 16:50
Klaus Müller / Watch:

The Dutch women’s team struck on Sunday at the second day of the European Cup in Saarbrücken. Both World Championships medal candidates Guusje Steenhuis and Tessie Savelkouls took the gold (U78kg and +78kg). Surprising was the victory of judo teacher Antoinette Hennink; talented to the bone, but freewheeling through life.

“Teacher Antoinette” had a rough career, not an easy youth, but now she teaches judo to young talents in the east of the Netherlands. Judo can help youngsters as it is more than sport, but unlike many, Antoinette can still compete. The 27-year old club manager adores playing with kids and her technical skills and groundwork are exceptional. For fun she participates in some events close by and Hennink simply loves sports. She also did gymnastics, football, and rode horses, but judo was her life. On Sunday in Saarbrücken she was the best among 24 women. Although the competition wasn’t at world level, Hennink won her three matches reaching the semi-final against Alina Langweiler. In the final she bested Assmaa Niang of Morocco. But Holland has both Kim Polling, European Champion Sanne van Dijke, Hohhot medallist Natascha Ausma, and no space for Hennink, who doesn’t even have ambitions for doing the Tour; but the pure fun in judo was there. Hennink brings back the medal to her kids.

Speaking about world level: Ivaylo Ivanov tested his World Championships form with gold U81kg and Russian Niyaz Ilyasov is getting closer to the top with gold U100kg against Arman Adamian (RUS). Frenchman Alexandre Iddir took the bronze. In the "plus" category it was another all-Russian final won by Ruslan Shakhbazov against Tamerlan Bashaev.

Again a remarkable victory for Eduard Trippel as youngest winner of the weekend. He is perhaps Germany’s biggest talent in the men’s division. The 20-year old German champion keeps on winning. He proved to be better than Marc Odenthal who will go to the World Championships. In June he won in Celje where again he defeated Odenthal. In Saarbrücken he beat Ciril Grossklaus (SUI) in the final and Krisztian Toth of Hungary in the semi-final. How good is Toth, 44 days in advance of his home World Championships?

Saarbrücken was an interesting test for the Worlds, although for the German team not many top athletes could participate due to injuries. German head coach Richard Trautmann commented that, unfortunately, there were many ill or injured athletes who couldn’t start, but the ones who started, showed good results in a good field.

Two world class athletes Guusje Steenhuis of the Netherlands and Hungarian Abigel Joo qualified for the final U78kg. World number one Steenhuis proved to be too strong for Joó and dispatched her with an ippon. But the victory for Steenhuis wasn’t a surprise. Steenhuis, though, was coached by Jean-Paul Bell, former Performance manager of the British Judo Association. So, there is another foreign coach in the Dutch team. Michael Bazynski was also in action for the Dutch.

Olympic number seven Tessie Savelkouls defeated Sarah Adlington (GBR) in the final +78kg so the Dutch won the medal table with four golds, one more than host Germany.

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