Georgia have a new European Judo Champion after Lukhumi Chkhvimiani defeated Spaniard Francisco Garrigos in the men's judo U60kg final at Chizhovka Arena. In the ranking of the first eight athletes four athletes with Georgian names, the original Georgians took two medals, gold and there was bronze for Amiran Papinashvili who bested Dutchman Tornike Tsjkadoea.
Lukhumi Chkhvimiani became the winner and became the successor of Papinashvili who was the last Georgian to win the title in 2013. Chkhvimiani became the winner of a pool with Dutch Tsjkadoea who had an impressive pre-season so far but became fifth afterall. Chkhvimiani defeated 2016 European Champion Walide Khyar of France in the semi final. Khyar beat Papinashvili in the quarter final.
Spaniard Fran Garrigos reached the final after victories against Roy Koffijberg (NED) and Belgian Jorre Verstraeten. The Belgian game back strongly in the repechage and captured a precious bronze medal against Khyar. Garrigos beat Germany’s Moritz Plafky who resisted Albert Oguzov (RUS) and Luka Mkheidze (FRA), another fighter with Georgian last name.
Chkhvimiani struck in the final in the golden score by wazari against Garrigos who won bronze in 2017 after beating the Georgian, this time it was Lukhumi who set his career best.
Lukhumi Chkhvimiani on winning gold: "It was a very hard preparation process. This was a different championship for me and it was very hard to get the title. I want to thank my coaches and everyone who helped me to finally win this title."
On the final: "I had met Garrigos before, but this time was very special, to compete against him in such a big final. It was very important to me. I had lost to him several times before."
On the semi-final that he won with a golden score against Walide Khyar (FRA): "I know him very well, I met him for the third time. He is very strong and this time luck was on my side."