Lots of surprises at closing day of European Championships
Again surprises throughout the third day of the European Championships in Sofia and in the end not the first names on the podium that would have come up in your mind estimating the winners. Again the men’s tournament was a big graveyard especially in the men’s U100kg where World Champion Jorge Fonseca lost by a huge ippon of Piotr Kuczera who qualified for the final.
Fonseca wasn’t the only victim: big names like Liparteliani, Kukolj, Sherazadishvili, Paltchik, Sulamanidze lost too early given their ambitions to win the European title. The man who sticked to the initial plan was Dutchman Michael Korrel who had only won a European medal in 2016 but this time walked away with the gold after he defeated Kuczera in the fourth minute of the golden score with an ura nage.
Jur Spijkers closes historical gap
The Dutch were good on the last day, a relief as there wasn’t much to cheer so far. With three finals on Sunday it was actually more than the expectations. Heavyweight Jur Spijkers captured the gold medal. In the final he defeated another surprise: Johannes Frey of Germany. Spijkers reach edthe smi final against big name Guram Tushishvili and surprised the Georgian who was poised to win the gold. That opened all chances for Spijkers who saw that Johannes Frey did a huge job in his pool and Hungarian Richard Sipocz both reached the semis. Johannes Frey does two attacks off a cross grip. While the attacks are a little bit different -- the first one is a type of tai-otoshi and the second, more like an osoto, the gripping pattern is the same. First he goes for a high, dominant grip. This distracts uke from his real intention, which is to grab the cross-grip. From there, he does his surprise attacks. Frey won his third contest and defeated Sipocz and now had to fight the Dutchman. Also Frey never won a European Championships medal. Spijkers followed up Dennis van der Geest who won the last heavyweight European title for the Dutch in 2000, well if you include the open weight Van der Geest took one twenty years ago in 2002, a big gap now closed. Roy Meyer took bronze for the Netherlands and Tushishvili came back with bronze.
The title for men U90kg went to Georgia’s Luka Maisuradze, his third European medal and first title. In the final of this surprising class he defeated Serbian Darko Brasnjovic. He was the dark horse of today who survived a pool with Michael Zgank, Anri Egutidze and Jesper Smink and surprised Greek Theodoros Tselidis in the golden score. Tselidis was leading in the last minute by wazari, but Brasnjovic pushed out a miracle and got even. It was Tselidis who eventually received his third penalty. In the final Brasnjovic gave a good fight to Maisuradze but he was a class above the rest today. Tselidis had done a great job in defeating Mamadali Mehdiyev in the quarter final. Krisztian Toth was an expected man in the semis but lost to Maisuradze. In the end Mehdiyev came back against Toth for bronze and Tselidis got awarded for his work with a bronze medal after a win for Christian Parlati.