French quartet clinch European team title in Baku
The French men have their title back, they lost for 11 years, but found it back, it was presented in Baku at the European Games on a golden plate. With just for men, without the injured Alexandre Iddir, the team of France defeated triple European Champion and World Champion Georgia by 4-1, all matches were won.
First it was Loic Korval who defeated Amiran Papinashvili. Then it was the turn to Pierre Duprat who snatched the a tight match against Nugzar Tatalashvili. Loic Pietri could already decide the match and he did against his enemy Avtandil Tchrikishvili. European Champion Adam Okruashvili could save the honour against the much lighter but quicker Cyrille Maret who won the fourth bout and the French regained their title won in 2004 in Paris when also the women won the title, just like Sunday competition.
Varlam Liparteliani has experienced many highlights in his career and always remains sportive.
"I want to say congratulations to the French team and all the people in France and I want to say thank you to my team. We had been waiting for this final and we hoped for a gold, but this is judo, this is sport, we got a silver and we'll just have to try to come back and win a gold at the world championships instead."
"For me It's not a good feeling, but not that bad either, because at this big competition every big country comes here and wants a gold medal. All of us also wanted to win, but there can only be one gold medallist and today wasn't our day."
Loic Korval was ecstatic after the final. But he was the one who started the four victories.
"It is not difficult at all for me to go first and to set the pace. I know what I want for my team and for my country and for myself. It is a great honour for me to go first and to try to push my team. It boosts me."
Loic Pietri defeated World and European Champion Avtandil Tchrikishvili.
"We started slowly, as usual, but then we got into it and when we met the Georgians we stepped it up and we were ready for it."
The Russian team defeated Germany in the bronze final. Russia had earlier lost to France but won a pool with Ukraine and Slovenia.
The Ukrainians came back in the repechage by Portugal and defeated the team of Hungary for the last bronze battle. It was Iakiv Khammo who had such a great tournament this week, who secured his second bronze in 24 hours. The Ukrainians had been on the podium since their European title in 2011 but missed out a medal last year in Montpellier. Now they came back with an excellent bronze medal. Russia lost the last three European Champions Team finals but now they at least won their last match against Germany.
Bronze winner Kirill Voprosov (RUS) said "Our team got third place. We only had four men in the team, we didn't have a heavyweight as he was injured and three in our team didn't get medals in the individual events. So this third place in the team event is a kind of consolation. At least we go home without a medal."
"We probably were lacking freshness a little after the individual competition. The preparation was very hard, we fought and we were tired. And we had some back luck."
Ukrainian hero Iakiv Khammo was very happy:
"Today all my muscles ached, my whole body, and I was so tired after yesterday. But the team called me and I knew I could win the medal. I did it. But I didn't fight in the early rounds, but they needed me in this match. It was a lot of responsibility and I'm so pleased to win this medal and yesterday's. It was superb. I'm the youngest in the team, only 21, so I'll do whatever the others tell me." The European Junior Champion said.