France was the best nation at the European Cup in Belgrade in the men’s competition on Sunday with two gold medals. There was silver and bronze for the Serbian men and in total Serbia captured six medals at the first European Open. This year the level of the tournament was raised from European Cup to European Open. Israel won the medal tally with the last gold medal of Li Kochman.
U81kg resulted in an all French final between Dimitri Gomes Tavares and Guillaume Rioux. Gomes Tavares won a World Cup each year: in 2015 in Casablanca, last year in Tunis, and on Sunday in Belgrade, when he caught Riou within two minutes by ko-soto. He simply had too much quality. Jovan Niksanovic of Serbia looked good the whole day and was about to crown his performance with bronze against Nicolas Chilard (FRA). But in the last two seconds he was sloppy and gave Chilard the chance to get back by wazari. In the golden score he lost by a penalty. Fagan Guluzada (AZE) took the bronze in his contest against Nicklas Bloechl (GER).
Serbian Champion Bosko Borenovic got the applause of the home crowd, but couldn’t prevent Li Kochman from taking away the gold medal for men U90kg. This time Kochman won the gold after three silver medals in major events. Kochman was awaiting his chance in the match. That chance came in the last minute and he held on for gold. Of course, this match was observed with interest by Serbia’s stars Nemanja Majdov and Aleksandar Kukolj. Majdov defeated Kochman in Israel for the European U23 Championships last year. Next year the senior European Championships will take place in Israel.
Reece Calder (GBR) won his first World Cup medal as he defeated Ionut Vasian (ROU) for bronze U90kg in the golden score. 30-year old Walter Facente of Italy won his tenth World Cup medal after his victory over Dario Kurbjeweit Garcia (GER) in this category with 26 men.
The gold medal in the final U100kg was won by French Cedric Olivar. Against Croatian champion Marko Kumric he scored after a minute. In the last minute he decided the match by ippon. Olivar is less famous compared to Maret, Iddir and Delvert, but internationally he found a way to score. Olivar and Ariano Rebouka are the younger French fellows in this category. He will turn 22 in December.
The experienced Frenchman Ludovic Gobert won bronze against Bojan Dosen of Serbia in the golden score. The Serbian men were not so lucky with two lost finals and two lost bronze medal contests this weekend. Still, Serbia won six medals overall, three each from the women and the men. German Philip Galandi had a quick victory over Zalan Ohat (ISR). Galandi was the only German man to win a bronze medal contest as four Germans lost their last bouts for a medal.
There was also gold for Romanian in the last final of the day. Victor Simionescu was opposed by the fast and slim Jalil Shukurov of Azerbaijan. Shukurov, who started his career U81kg, moved up quickly to U90kg in 2011 and in 2013 to U100kg. Since this year he wants to fill up the gap in the heavyweights for Azerbaijan. The athletic athletes may have a future in the heavyweight category but the tough guy Simionescu didn’t get the message from Shukurov and threw Shukurov when his moment came within two minutes for a huge harai goshi. Simeonescu looks up now to the competition with Mircea Croitoru and Daniel Natea.
the last bronze medal fights guaranteed Serbian success with three Serbian fighters in action. Goran Prgonjic defeated Vladimir Gajic whilst Romanian heavyweight Mircea Croitoru defeated Zarko Culum. Two silver medals and bronze for Serbia this tournament.