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New tall generation will dominate European Open in Lisbon
2 Feb 2018 11:45
Lisbon is the centre of women’s judo this weekend. The European Open will be held at the Odivelas sports centre with 14 Portuguese women. Joana Diogo is the highest seeded Portuguese woman in the starting grid. She should be able to show the Portuguese flag on the podium. The 22-year old won bronze at the European Open last year in Minsk and might be an ace U48kg.
All Portuguese athletes will be supported by Olympic medallist Telma Monteiro who is a proud ambassador of the tournament. Monteiro won the event in 2007 and 2009. Coach Ana Hormigo was the last Portuguese woman to win in Lisbon.
In 2009 Yahima Ramirez captured the gold medal, she is still fighting and on Sunday she will try to aim for gold U78kg. The 38-year veteran won 19 World Cup medals including bronze at the Grand Prix in Zagreb last year. The Cuban born is the oldest active judoka in the World Tour. In Odivelas she is still seeded as second best. But the youth is knocking on the door with Patricia Sampaio who won World bronze at the World Junior Championships in Zagreb last year. She is 20 years younger than Ramirez.
Unfortunately no judoka from the top 10 in Lisbon. Ecaterina Guica of Canada is the highest ranked athlete in the tournament. She tops the category U52kg. Polish Anna Borowska leads the category U57kg followed by Spanish Equisoain. This is an interesting category with medal chances for judoka outside the seeding list such as Diana Dzhigaros (RUS) and Christa Deguchi of Canada who will make her international comeback on European soil. So a good outlook for the Canadian team, including Stephanie Tremblay starting U63kg. Number one seed though is Katharina Haecker who seems to be a stable athlete for the top 20 in the world. No guarantees to win here, but the Australian (former German) is still developing well and took bronze at the Grand Prix in Tunis in January.
Without a doubt Giovanna Scoccimarro is the major favourite for the title U70kg. The field is full with tall youngsters from Germany, France, Belgium. The Ukraine will dominate the plus category with another tall youngster Yelyzaveta Kalanina in the lead.
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Portuguese veteran Yahima Ramirez has been fighting internationally at the senior level for over 25 years. The London 2012 Olympian has earned one Grand Prix medal and one Grand Slam medal. The 40 year old record breaker has been to eight World Championships, 32 Grand Slam events and 46 Grand Prix events for her adopted country of Portugal. Read more
The Netherlands won three gold medals at the first European Games edition in 2015 in Baku. Marhinde Verkerk was the winner U78kg. The Dutch have always had a strong line-up in this class and since that period Guusje Steenhuis took over the lead in this division. The former World number one faced some injuries but seems back in time for a good campaign in the road to Tokyo with stepping stones in Minsk, Tokyo, Prague in 2020. Read more
A German final for women U70kg at the European Open in Odivelas, outside of Lisbon. World Junior Champion Giovanna Scoccimarro again defeated Sarah Maekelburg. They know each-other well and usually those battles aren’t the best, but the Portuguese judo fans couldn’t complain about this one. Read more
Hamada Shori won the gold at the Grand Prix in Zagreb, one of the five gold medal for Japan this weekend. France's Hawa Camara was the favourite of the competition in Zagreb, but her entry into the final was not guaranteed. Read more
Daniel Pacitti (GBR)