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Gwend and Forciniti ready to stunt at European Open Rome

Gwend and Forciniti ready to stunt at European Open Rome

17 Feb 2018 11:05
David Finch /

The international "Judo European Open in Rome" is the most prestigious tournament in Italy. At the twenty-seventh edition, the qualification tournament hosts 151 athletes from 25 nations. Although the points are a preparation for the Olympic qualification that starts at 20 May 2018.

 Last year the Italian men took care of a superb 'flash' qualifications for Rio by Elios Manzi, Fabio Basil and Matteo Marconcini but this weekend in Rome the women will fight for the gold.

The azzurri have the most numerous team with 35 athletes, followed by Spain with 19, France 13 and then Russia (12).

The highest seeded Italian athlete is Edwige Gwend number 1 in 63kg. Edwige Gwend, who turns 28 on 11 March, has the best position in the WRL of all 165 athletes in the race, she is 11th U63kg. Among the 'top' there are also the Austrian Michaela Polleres, 22nd in the 70kg, the Spanish Julia Figueroa, 23rd in the 48kg, the Japanese Nami Inamori, 23rd in the +78kg.

Among the Italian outsiders is Rosalba Forciniti, the Calabrian champion of Longobucco, bronze medalist in London 2012, is certainly the outsider of 'luxury', who turned 32 on February 13th last year and continued her career recently. She had a break for two children since 2014 but came back by takin g the title at the with the Italian championship a few weeks ago, on January 28th. The last European Open in which Forciniti competed was in Ostia, October 19, 2013. She took the gold and, after winning the final, ran to shake the hand of FIJLKAM President Matteo Pellicone.

Forciniti will face Spanish Marta Also Monserrat in the first round but has a good draw and may reach the quarter final which gives right for a repechage match or semi final. British Chelsie Giles is the first seeded athlete U52kg. Haruka Funakubo of Japan tops the category U57kg with likely Lola Benarroche of France as second strong women. This European Open gives space to young athletes. The U3kg category though is full of experience with Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN), Di Cintio (FRA) and of course Gwend. The most experienced U70kg is by far Kelita Zupancic, the former world number one of Canada but doesn’t have an easy draw against Perrot (FRA).

A small Argentine team led by former World Champion Daniela Krukower is in Rome and U78kg Lucia Cantero is leading the group as highest ranked. Valeria Ferrari wants to shine for Italy as well as Linda Politi, Giorgia Stangherlin, Lucia Tangorre and Melora Rosetta, but it won’t be easy

+78kg is by far the weakest category with 12 judoka and Nami Inamori as top favourite, probably leading to an all Japanese final against Sara Yamamoto. Many Hungarian athletes in general, 9 in total but some strong heavyweight women.

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