Remarkable milestones at the European Open in Rome
At the second European Open of the year France and Germany were strong. In the Rome tournament held since the mid nineties as World Cup, France captured three titles. Germany and China won two titles and both among the women. The host nation saw Tiziano Falcone (ITA) winning the gold medal U81kg when he defeated Georgi Gramatikov (BUL).
As always the French women proved to have a strong team, with two gold medals the French kept their expectations, although this is another level as Grand Prix or Grand Slam level. Their reputation was clear in the women’s U57kg class where three French reached the quarter finals and Lou Lemire (FRA) defeated Seija Ballhaus (GER) in the final. There was an all French final for women U63kg between Gaetane Deberdt (FRA) and Perrine Saint Etienne (FRA), decided by Deberdt. The third gold for France was won by heavyweight Guerman Andreev (FRA) who defeated Jonas Schreiber (GER) on Sunday’s last final in Rome.
Germany captured another silver medal in the women’s U78kg but that was an all German final afterall with Anna-Monta Olek (GER) who was again on a roll when she bested teammate Raffaela Igl (GER). Olek (20) became the second youngest winner of this weekend in a competitive weight class. It was Olek's fifth World Cup gold medal. In the weight U70kg it was another German who booked an expected gold medal. Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER) made her comeback after she tore her ACL. She took a fifth place last year at the Olympic Games and was no surprise when she defeated the experienced Assmaa Niang (MAR) who was without a doubt the oldest finalist of this weekend with her 40 years young. So far the oldest medallist of a European World Cup this decade, another record set for Niang. Scoccimarro is waiting for the bigger work soon in her attempt to compete at the Olympics for a second time.
China was strong in the women’s U52kg class, where Yeqing Zhu (CHN) defeated French finalist Chloe Devictor (FRA). Spanish Eva Perez Soler (19) was the youngest winner this weekend as she claimed the gold U48kg against Chinese Shuaixia Han.
China is always strong at the women’s heavyweight category and Xin Su (CHN) didn’t disappoint taking the gold against Sydnee Andrews (NZL), the first Kiwi of this year in a World Cup final and first New Zealander on European soil to be in a final THIS CENTURY, a remarkable performance of Sydnee Andrews who had won a World Cup in Tahiti before but this time will cherish this silver medal.
Former World Champion Asley Gonzalez (2013) of Romania took the gold U100kg. The former Cuban and Olympic silver medallist in 2012 defeated Harry Lovell-Hewitt (GBR) in the final and booked his sixth World Cup victory in his career (19 medals).
On Saturday Swiss lightweight Samuel Waizenegger (SUI) was able to win the U60kg weight category after he defeated Lior Rafailov (ISR). Waizenegger is the fourth lightweight ever to win a World Cup: Kesherashvili (1994), Moret (1996) and Chammartin (2016) were the previous Swiss winners.
British Charlie Young (GBR) bested Serdar Rahimov (TKM) U66kg and became the successor of the late Craig Fallon who was the last British man to win in Rome in 2003.
Dutchman Koen Heg had a breakthrough winning his first World Cup when he defeated Edoardo Mella of the host nation. The Netherlands isn’t spoiled with successful U73kg’s as Bryan van Dijk, Dex Elmont and Sam van ‘t Westende were the only previous Dutch winners of a World Cup ever.
On Sunday Ukraine captured a gold medal when Marat Kryzhanskyi (UKR) defeated Frenchman Francis Damier.