Belarussian youngster Dzmitry Minkou added another important milestone to his impressive career. Minkou won the European Gold medal for judoka U23 years in Podgorica, Montenegro. Another confirmation that belarus judo is growing strongly and with this generation the European Games in 2019 can be a massive success with judo as main sport.
In October Minkou also claimed the gold at the Grand Prix in Tashkent so he is used to senior level. The 21-year old judoka as European Junior champion last year in Malaga and in 2015 he was silver medallist at the U23 Euros. In 2012 he won silver at European Cadet Championships confirming his steady line up. Minkou domininated the final with three wazari, but should have had an ippon earlier in the match. Minkou won his four matches and overpowered his opponents Wawrzyczek (POL), Aleksanyan (BEL) and Alim Balkarov (RUS) in the final.
Distria Krasniqi prolonged her title in her category U52kg. The Kosovarian defeated Larisa Florian of Romania, the other favourite in the dream final, but same final as last year with the same outcome. Krasniqi was also World Junior champion in 2015 and is in the same category with Majlinda Kelmendi the Olympic Champion.
Krasniqi started her day with a win over Grand Prix Tashkent winner Betina Temelkova of Israel, Daria Bobrikova and Francesca Giorda followed to reach the final. It was the fourth European U23 title for Kosova as in 2012 Kelmendi won the title, in 2014 Gjakova and now Krasniqi twice.
Portugal was very strong in the women’s division U48kg with two medals and two semi finals. Not a surprise that the Portuguese took the title by Maria Siderot (21) who bested Serbian fighter Andrea Stojadinov (17) in the final. Siderot overcame Kelly Staddon (GBR) in the semi final whilst Joana Diogo who captured bronze lost her bout against finalist Stojadinov. Staddon and Diogo won bronze afterall. For Portugal it was the fifth ever European U23 title. Ana Cachola in 2004, Telma Monteiro and Ana Cachola again in 2006 and Jorge Fonseca in 2013.
For the third time in a row Germany claimed the gold medal for women U57kg. This time number one seed Amelie Stoll won the gold for her country. She followed up her sister Theresa and in 2015 it was Sappho Coban who took gold. This edition Stoll started with a win against Asamina Theodorakis of Austria with a victory in the golden score. Ibolya Siroki (HUN) followed in the quarter final and Spanish Tecla Cadilla was defeated by wazari in the semi. Natalia Golomidova who won bronze last year in Tel Aviv now became the silver medallist as Stoll scored wazari in the third minute of the contest and kept that lead until the end.
Russia was strong for men U60 with a victory for Russian senior champion Gamzat Zairbekov, he won his first major international title by defeating Yago Abuladze in an all Russian final. Abuladze was more expected to win the gold. Russia took five medals at day one including three lost finals, but is firmly leading the medal table.