Reaching the top in sports is easier than staying on top. Clarisse Agbegnenou is the absolute top in women’s judo. At the European Championships she is no doubt the big favourite to win her fifth European medal and third in a row. Agbegnenou didn’t make any mistake today in Prague when she qualified for the finals.
Her opponent will be Austrian Magdalena Krssakova who surprised Martyna Trajdos in de the semi final. Trajdos goes for bronze against Szymanska (POL). Slovenian Andreja Leski defeated her country woman Tina Trstenjak and will face Juul Franssen (NED) for bronze.
Sanne van Dijke demands European title
Dutch Sanne van Dijke was European Champion in 2017 and can repeat her title. Perhaps she learned from last year in the same final in Minsk against Margaux Pinot. The Frenchwoman is the current European Champion. It’s van Dijke’s change to take distance to Kim Polling her Dutch rival for a spot in the team for the Olympic Games. Polling withdrew and suffers corona. Van Dijke defeated Pinot twice in her career but lost last year. Previously Van Dijke defeated World Champion Marie Eve Gahie, an easier opponent for herself. Pinot overcame birthday girl Alice Bellandi who will fight for bronze against Madina Taimazova. Miriam Butkereit will face Gahie.
Shavdatuashvili close to European title
For the first time since 2011 a Moldovan judoka reached the final. Victor Sterpu surprised, but is in good shape and captured the European U23 title last week in Porec. He was European Junior Champion last year and is the rising star U73kg. Great confirmation today in Prague where he defeated Nils Stump, another booming athlete in the semis. Sterpu’s opponent will be the experienced Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO) who won the title in 2013 U66kg and took silver in 2016, despite his reputation as former Olympic Champion. Still Shavdatuashvili is the favourite against Sterpu. Both have never met in a contest.
Tommy Macias (SWE) will fight Fabio Basile, the successor of Shavdatuashvili in 2016. Both Shavda as Basile stepped up to U73kg successfully. Stump will again face Rustam Orujov, considered Europe’s best man U73kg. Stump was close to a victory in Budapest a few weeks ago against the Azeri, but Orujov also kept on going against the dangerous Swiss who tried to counter Orujov all the time. Stump defeated Macias in Prague, Orujov lost to the fox Shavdatuashvili.
Grigalashvili crowns the season
World number one Matthias Casse will fight for bronze in Prague. The Belgian will have to battle with his friend Sami Chouchi, a strange contest. Casse lost the semi final to the man in form, Tato Grigalashvili who is poised to win the European title, as crown on his excellent season in which he won the Grand Slam in Düsseldorf and took the European U23 title last week. Griga’s opponent will be Ivaylo Ivanov, a dangerous man who beat Grigalashvili last year in Baku but also lost to him in Budapest last year.
Frank de Wit will try to win bronze for the Netherlands against another Georgian fighter Luka Maisuradze who was in the same pool with Grigalashvili and lost to him in the quarter final but fought back against Fatiyev.