Five different nations have won European gold at the first day if of the European Championships in Prague. Some surprising champions such as Orkhan Safarov, Shirine Boukli and perhaps the biggest surprise Hedvig Karakas. An Average age of 27 seems normal but is quite high as Boukli is just 21. Robert Mshvidobadze is 31.
The title for Odette Giuffrida may not be such a surprise given her reputation but for her it’s huge step in her career. What a relief for her after her team was so dissapointed not taking part in Budapest. She became fifth four times in her career and never took a medal. It was just a bad marriage with the European Championships, while she won everything as a young player. This time, despite the absence of Majlinda Kelmendi, you would expect Kuziutina to shine, but she finished fifth. The whole day it was Giuffrida who dominated and booked solid victories. Two Spanish women performed well, Estrella Lopez and Ana Perez both took a semi final spot, but only Estrella Lopez walked away with medal. Andreea Chitu was strong against Kuziutina and reached the final. Kuziutina lost to Estrella Lopez in a tough bronze medal bout deep in extra time. Giuffrida wrote history for Italy, finally. Six years after her last European title in 2014 she did what was expected for some years, win gold at the senior Europeans. She took two Cadet titles, won the EYOF and two European Junior titles. Italy celebrates a European Champion for the first time since 2008 by ‘grandmaster’ Ylenia Scapin and the first Italian champion U52kg since 25 years. More important it was a revelation for teamplayer Giuffrida. She is beloved and was happy with some victories in Brasilia and Tbilisi, but this is the big one.
Andreea Chitu took silver this time, also not so bad and quite unexpected despite her bronze medal in Budapest last month. Chitu captured her sixth European medal. She collected all colours twice now and the Romanian is back on the spot that she deserves. Spain won the first European medal in this category for the first time since 2013 by Laura Gomez. A big relief for Estrella Lopez. Belgian Charline van Snick performed well taking bronze and still counts.