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Maribor proud host of Junior European Championships

13 Sep 2017 17:55

   Andre de Heus

Slovenia is of course well known for its success in the women’s divisions for the last five years with two Olympic Champions in London and Rio and bronze for Ana velensek. Silver at the recent World Championships for Tina Trstenjak and of course surprise Mihael Zgank U90kg gave Slovenian judo another boost. Perhaps in the junior division less dominant as before, but still medal chances for some of their youngsters.

This year was less successful for the Slovenian women in the Junior European Cup. Over the last 15 years 2017 is one of the least successful years in the Junior European Cup with 5 medals, only 2011 was worse.

Almost 200 young women will be at the start in Maribor including the current most successful youngster Lois Petit of Belgium who will try to take the European title as last piece of art in this category U44kg. Opposition will come from France with World number one Marine Gilly and last year’s winner Justine Deleuil.

U48kg Turkish Melisa Cakmakli had a good pre-season as only athlete with two victories but for the Slovenians Marusa Stangar will be their favourite to follow up European senior champion Daria Bilodid who won’t be fighting in Maribor. It will be a very competitive category with Daria Pichkaleva as world number one, strong Spanish in Hidalgo and Martinez and Dutch Amber Gersjes.

Another strong Belgian is Myriam Blavier U52kg. British Chelsie Giles and double European Cup winners Nazakat Azizova and Betina Temelkova, now Israelian. Who knows what World Cadet champion Seija Ballhaus can do in this age category.

The category U57kg was always strong but not easy to make a transition to the seniors. However when they do, they get far such as former winners Automne Pavia, Hedvig Karakas and Helene Receveaux, all became world players. Of course also in this category a Belgian contender in Mina Libeer. The Belgians will be strong in the team event this year. Sarah Cysique won two European Cups this year and we just mentioned, the French have a reputation.

U63kg is always competitive with good winners as Szabina Gercsak and Lucy Renshall. Last year’s winner Sanne Vermeer (NED) was the youngest ever winner in this category and will this time also try to prolong the title. Nadia Simeoli (ITA) was successful in the pre-season. The World Ranking though looks totally different with Piovesana and Olsen in the top, so enough rivalry. Andreja Leski (SLO) might surprise.

They’re almost seniors, those women U70kg, experienced, tall and ready for a big battle. Michaela Polleres (AUT) and Gabriela Willems (BEL) both won two events, but Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) is experienced at senior level. All European Champions of the past made it at senior level, so a good outlook for these juniors. Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER), Hilde Jager (NED) and Karla Prodan are worth-while mentioning as outsiders.

Compared to U70, the division U78kg requires more power to breakthrough at senior level. Svetlana Voronina (RUS), Julie Hoelterhoff (GER) and Ilona Lucassen (NED) give a good impression this season, but there are lots of potential surprises as anything is possible U78kg. Klara Apotekar may have the best papers at home.

Traditionally less competition O78kg. Russian Anna Gushchina is the number one of the world ranking whereas Mercedesz Szigetvari (HUN) is the most successful this season. French Romane Dicko got a boost at the World Senior Team Championships and might retain the title for France.

France will certainly have a good share at the European Team Championships with quality women, but also Belgium, Russia and Germany seemed to deliver great teams. The team event will still be separated in men and women’s teams.

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Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Aleksandra Samardžić (BIH),  GreenHill Sports (RUS) - Grand Prix Düsseldorf (2017, GER) - © Klaus Müller, Watch:
  • Nadia Simeoli (ITA) - European Cup U21 Lignano (2017, ITA) - © Sebastiano Simeoli
  • Lubjana Piovesana (GBR) - Training Centre Papendal (2017, NED) - © Andre de Heus

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