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Georgia shows off with 100% gold among junior men

14 Sep 2019 19:50

   Marco Krachten
20190914_vantaa_ecj_mk_101_gela_zaalishvili

Georgia achieved a fantastic haul of medals at the last day of the individual tournament of the Junior European Championships in the Finnish city of Vantaa. The Georgian men captured all available three gold medals on Saturday. World cadet and junior champion Lasha Bekauri opened the gala with gold U90kg.

Bekauri won the cadet world title U73kg two years ago and one year later he was crowned world champion U90kg. A remarkable jump but he made a successful transition of 17kg difference. This weekend he added another crown as junior European champion, he had already won the cadet Europeans in 2017 and we look forward to future results as he develops rapidly and already won two senior events in Europe and competed at Grand Slam level. On Saturday Bekauri was too strong for Roland Goz of Hungary in the final U90kg. There was a second medal in this category for Mikhaili Bekauri and Darko Brasnjovic of Serbia captured the second bronze medal.

Ilia Sulamanidze continued with Georgian success and claimed gold U100kg in the final against Yevgen Yehera of the Ukraine. 17 Strong men in this category and Sulamanidze won a strong pool with Emils Gerkens of Latvia who came back in the repechage and won bronze. Hungarian Veg Zsombor won his quarter final against Danish talent Mathias Madsen and fought back to bronze after he lost to Sulamadidze in the semi final.

Who else then Gela Zaalishvili won the heavyweight gold. The Georgian superman is one of those athletic heavyweight talents and recently won the Grand Prix of Zagreb and already won Grand Slam gold in Baku this year. As a junior he just confirmed the gap with his rivals and overcame Erik Abramov of Germany in the final. Normally it takes years for a heavyweight to grow to the top of the world but Zaalishvili has launched himself as a rocket.

Speaking about rockets, Patricia Sampaio rocked herself to gold in Vantaa, but nothing else was expected. She prolonged her European title and given her fifth place in August at the senior World Championships, this title was just a confirmation, that junior level is not anymore her goal, but still nice to take such title. Portugal had only five European junior champions in the history and Sampaio is the only now with two titles. Her two bronze medals at World Championships shall now be improved in Marrakech in October as new goal in this age class. On Saturday Sampaio defeated French Assia Said Errhamani in the final.

The French caught gold afterall, the second this week. Heavyweight Lea Fontaine won her category in the final against Daria Vladimirova. Fontaine became the fourth French heavyweight to win this title in 20 years history. Romane Dicko won the title in 2017 and also won the senior European title. Julia Tolofua won in 2016 and Ketty Mathe, aka Kayra Sayit won the title twice and was in fact the most successful in the seniors, in this case for her new country Turkey. Helena Vukovic (CRO) and Marit Kamps (NED) won bronze for their countries.

Clearly Georgia won the medal table with six gold medals. Russia won eight medals but only one gold, The French junior women took two gold medals. Last year Georgia also won nine medals but took three gold medals, still enough for the victory.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Ilia Sulamanidze (GEO) - Junior European Championships Vaantaa (2019, FIN) - © Marco Krachten
  • Lasha Bekauri (GEO), Mikheili Bekauri (GEO) - Junior European Championships Vaantaa (2019, FIN) - © Marco Krachten
  • Patricia Sampaio (POR) - Junior European Championships Vaantaa (2019, FIN) - © Marco Krachten

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