The European Juniors are preparing for the World Championships this year in Marrakech in Morocco, before that the Europeans take place in Vaantaa in September. The European tour consists of 13 events and the Junior European Cup in Paks, the former Atom Cup is a tournament with a long history. Most of the top players fighting now at the European Games have won medals in Paks.
More than 400 athletes competed in Paks with a strong field U73kgs with 73 athletes, almost a record at Junior level. Only Leibnitz and Lignano had higher records in this division.
On Sunday Hungary outperformed and it started with Benedek Toth winning the first gold medal of the day, that was good for the spirit as on Sunday there was only silver for Andras Vidas U60kg. Benedek Toth was the third Toth who won in Paks as big boy Krisztian won in 2010 and 2011 and was already World Championships silver medallist in 2014. This is how fast it can go. Apor Toth won last year U90kg.
It was good to be in side the sportshall as it was raining cats and dogs outside, but the temperature inside got warmer and warmer with the performances of the Hungarian men. Three gold medals was the final result for the home team. Also Peter Arvai took a gold medal U100kg after he defeated Yvo Witassek with Dutchman Kylian Bulthuis gaining more confidence with bronze and Marius Fizel of Slovakia adding bronze to gold in Athens and Lignano. Richard Sipocz captured the gold medal +100kg which was more expected. The heavyweight defeated Jonas Schreiber of Germany in the final. Eniel Caroly won gold for France U90kg, his first victory this season.
Semen Kurtashov of Russia took the gold medal U60kg, an improvement of the silver of Coimbra. There was bronze for Joshua Giles, his sister won bronze too in Minsk. Lucian Bors Dumitrescu prolonged the title from Paks of last year taking gold for men -66kg. Petru Pelivan won the first gold medal for Moldova this season.
German and British women
Germany and Great Britain have good women as usual and both captured two gold medals. On Saturday the German girls showed their best with cadet World Champion Raffaela Igl who captured the gold for women U78kg against Dutch woman Kim Hooi. Samira Bouizgarne won gold for Germany in the heavyweight category. Bouizgarne became familiar as Instagram GIF, but showed she can make her moves in any form. Great Britain’s Kelly Petersen is in a good shape and she took gold U70kg against Martina Esposito, another family with double good results in Paks and Minsk this weekend. There was an all Croatian final between Iva Oberan and Lara Cvjetko U63kg, won by Oberan who also won the European Cup for seniors in Dubrovnik.
On Sunday Kazakhstan was able to snatch gold and silver U48kg with winner Galiya Tynbayeva.
Italian clean sweep
There was a clean sweep for Italy in the women’s U52kg division with four Italians on the podium. Chiara Palanca, her first victory in 2019. There’s so much to offer in Italy since the Olympic success in 2016 by Giuffrida and Basile. Everywhere you see Italian success at junior level and actually also in the seniors there’s a fast transition. It’s a matter of time that there is more success.