Great Britain had a good exercise at the European Open in Belgrade. The British took home four medals including gold for Acelya Toprak, the youngest winner of the day. The 19-year old surprised Amelie Guihur of France in the final U57kg. Host Serbia won four medals today, but just missed out on gold.
Acelya Toprak couldn’t secure the match with a score in regular time. The British junior (19), who claimed European Junior silver last week in Maribor, is in shape but less experienced than Guihur (23), who won the European Open in Cluj in 2015 as highlight. After one minute in the golden score the Dutch referee gave a penalty to Guihur and Toprak claimed her highlight victory with gold in Belgrade. Toprak who fought U63kg for a long time became British Champion U57kg last year and won a tough European Cup for Juniors this year in Leibnitz.
“I was still a bit exhausted from last week, but I went to Belgrade without expectations. It’s in fact my debut at senior level abroad as I did participate at the European Open in Glasgow, but this time feels like the first time. Last week I took silver, but we went with a small team and it felt good. I really fancied to meet Guihur in the final. Things finally pay off. Since a year we’re training centralized in Walsall, near Birmingham. I’m from London myself. I changed weight category after the EYOF in Georgia in 2015 from U63kg to U57kg and I became British champion. This is definitely my weight category. My normal weight is about 60kg and it’s no problem to lose the three kgs. This time it was just a week from Maribor, so quite close, but in fact no problem. I was quite a chubby baby, haha. But coming back from U63kg where I booked some smaller successes is a good confirmation that this is the right category.”
The British lost two finals by Kelly Staddon and Lucy Renshall and took bronze via Samuel Hall. “Not a bad score 4 out of 5, we came here with the English team, and we have a few from Scotland as well here in Belgrade, but I think we did well.“
The final U48kg between Alexandra Pop of Romania and Kelly Staddon (GBR) was won by Pop who captured her first win at a European Open. For both girls, it was the first world cup medal ever. Elisa Adrasti (ITA) and Gultaj Mammadilyeva (AZE) won the bronze.
A historic gold medal in the category U52kg where Madelene Rubinstein was the first female Norwegian judoka in the final of a World Cup since 2006. Her opponent was Julia Rosso of France who won bronze this year at the African Open in Tunis. Rubinstein who is Nordic champion had defeated Milica Nikolic in the semi final. Rubinstein showed some good groundwork but couldn’t change the scoreboard. One minute in the golden score again the Norwegian benefit of her groundwork and took the gold by oseikomi. The home crowd cheered for Milica Nikolic who won the bronze. Nikolic had a convincing bronze contest where she scored wazari and strangled Tamara Silva (SUI). Francesca Giorda defeated Laura Holtzinger in the golden score.
Pauline Wulff of Germany claimed the bronze after her victory over Marica Persic of Serbia. Maayan Greenberg of Israel won her first World Cup medal ever after she bested Ibolya Siroki (HUN).
The gold medal U63kg was for Rotem Shor of Israel who scored against Lucy Renshall after after two minutes in the final. Not much later she scored for a second time and tried to finish it on the ground, but Renshall escaped. Renshall who made her comeback since her elbow injury in February couldn’t score the necessary ippon and had to be satisfied with silver. For Rotem Shor this gold medal is a highlight after she had won various medals and won her first World Cup in Madrid in 2014, but after that period her breakthrough took a long while. This gold medal brings her on track on this competitive weight in Israel with Gerbi, Shemesh and Snir.
Serbian interest for two bronze medals at the same time. Jovana Obradovic was behind in her bronze medal bout and saw her sister Anja in the lead against Cloe Yvin (FRA). Two seconds for the end Jovana threw Inbal Shemesh (ISR) for ippon and both Serbian girls won the bronze.