Unique European titles for Corrao and Kopecky
Two athletes wrote history for their country: Adam Kopecky of Czech Republic and Belgium’s Alessia Corrao captured the Cadet European title for the first time in the history. In the 19th edition of Euro’s that started in 2000 another two countries set their milestone. Going back a bit further there have been Cadet European in the previous century until 1978 and Pierre Auspert won the title for Belgium in 1977, but okay, let’s stick to this 21st century and celebrate Belgium’s future.
Alessia Corrao was expected at the podium. She won the Cadet European Cups this year in Teplice, Berlin and Bielsko Biala. So also Corrao had a good experience in Poland just like some of the champions of the first day. In Warsaw Corrao had to win four contests but did it in style. With an average of 80 seconds she defeated all her opponents. In the final Corrao was able to overcome Laura Vazquez Fernandez of Spain. Her category U63kg is highly competitive with 30 athletes, but she is used to such competitions as the European Cups have far more girls in the starting grid.
First seeded Alessia won her pool and reached the semi final but also other favourites did their jobs in the preliminaries. Corrao defeated Lidia Brancheva (BUL) in the semi final and Laura Vazquez Fernandez bested Katarina Kristo of Croatia. Brancheva and Yeksan (TUR) captured the bronze, another medal for Turkey, but the party wasn’t over.
Turkish youngsters on form
Ozlem Yildiz added the gold medal, the second for Turkey which is still quite a new judo country. The Turkish were always successful in the light and heavyweights in the age U18 years. It was the 14th title for Turkey since 2000 and only in 2007 and 2017 Turkey was able to snatch two titles. After two days that record is achieved. In Warsaw Yildiz defeated Florentina Ivanescu of Romania and also in this category U57kg all first seeded and protected athletes reached the semis. Ivanescu defeated Alexe Wagemaker (NED) in the semi-final, Yildiz defeated Kseniia Galitskaia of Russia who took the bronze with teammate Natalia Elkina.
Italy was again successful, and again a young woman captured the gold. Veronica Toniolo this time won the European title. Last year she took the silver, just like Assunta Scutto, but Toniolo learned of each loss and the competition in Italy is severe. Toniolo defeated Austrian surprise Anika Schicho who never won a medal but competed three times in such championship. Still she wasn’t expected in the final, but this category was a surprise anyway with many new girls showing their best. Toniolo grew into the tournament and was convincing and took her most important individual medal so far in her career.
Russia did win gold for men U66kg. With 40 participants this is the most crowded weight category and it resulted in an all-Russian final between Adam Tsechoev and Saikhan Shabikhanov and the matched evolved into a thriller that needed extra time where Shabikhanov got his third penalty. Michail Tsoutlashvili (GRE) and Mo van Dun (NED) took the bronze.
Unique gold for Czech Republic
Adam Kopecky of Czech Republic finished the day with gold for his country. Adam Kopecky was the man on form. Kopecky won five medals in the pre-season and gold in Zagreb, Berlin and Coimbra. In Warsaw the Czech defeated Luigi Centracchio, a busy Italian family as last week sister Maria won the bronze at the European Games and their parents were again present to support their kids. This category is very competitive and not all favourites survived the shift. The number one of the World Ranking lost to Centracchio in Follonica and Teplice and beat the Italian in Fuengirola. Kopecky was clear in his ambitions and showcased in 39 seconds how to win the gold.
Aleksandar Rajicic (SRB) and Dzianis Yauseyenka (BLR) won the bronze. This resulted in the first place for Italy in the medal tally after two days in Warsaw.