JudoInside – News – Graz sets benchmark European Cup
At the European Junior Cup in Graz, Austria, 511 athletes fought for the medals. This is the same number as in 2016, but less than before the pandemic. Still over 500 athletes is far more than any other Junior European Cup since 2020. Leibnitz’s reputation continues and caught the eye of the Japanese squad who flew to Austria to make a good impression, and of course with gold medals in weight.
Martin Poiger, President of Judo Austria and General Secretary of the EJU: “We are absolutely satisfied, sometimes even very surprised. Our goal was to bring 400 starters to Austria so that we could run the tournament to cover the costs. We now have 511 participants from 37 nations. We did not expect that in our dreams, the starting line-up would be great in quality and quantity. Our coaches say: In terms of level, Graz is clearly better than a European Junior Championship. In addition to the European elite, top nations such as Brazil, Japan, Japan, Canada, Kazakhstan, USA and Uzbekistan are also included.
Japan left all countries behind with an impressive 57% share of all available titles. This could be the team to take to the World Junior Championships in Guayaquil, Ecuador in August.
On Saturday, the Japanese set the tone with the four gold medals. Rin Eguchi (JPN) defeated the talented Swiss Binta Ndiaye in the U57kg final (Sunday). Kurumi Ishioka (JPN) caught up with Maria Diniz (BRA) in the U63kg final. Nanako Hoshino (JPN) defeated Spain’s Noelia Insua Iglesias U70kg. Japan continued the U78kg success with Aki Kuroda (JPN) defeating Lieke Derks (NED) who won another fine medal, in this case the best of the rest. Heavyweight Miki Mukunoki (JPN) was too strong for Aida Toishibekova (KAZ).
On Sunday, Japan started with gold for Eguchi, but in the lightweight category there was an all-Brazilian final between Rafaela Batista (BRA) and Alexia Nascimento (BRA) won by Batista U48kg. The Italian Giulia Carnà beat the Turkish Ilayda Merve Kocyigit U52kg. Italian champion Carnà took silver in Coimbra.
In the men’s division, Kazachstan started strong at lightweight on Saturday with two Kazakh athletes in the final. Nurkanat Serikbayev (KAZ) defeated Merey Markhanbetov (KAZ) U60kg. Marcus Auer of Austria won the bronze medal. Kazachstan U66kg also won gold by Nursultan Zaizagaliyev beating his Japanese opponent Gakuto Mitsuoka. The U73kg final opposes Ryuga Tanaka (JPN) to Vusal Galandarzade (AZE), won by Tanaka.
Sunday, Daisuke Takeichi won the first gold medal of the day for Japan against Giorgi Jabniashvili (GEO) in less than 81 kg. France saw their national junior champion Aleksa Mitrovic win gold in the final against Vugar Talibov (AZE), good results for Mitrovic who took silver in Nanterre. Austria’s Aslan Papoyan won bronze on day two of competition in Graz and on day one Marcus Auer won bronze for Austria.
Two Japanese athletes formed the U100kg final; Kaito Green (JPN) beat his compatriot Tomohiro Nakano (JPN). Of course, the heavyweights are almost reserved for solid Georgian juniors. Shalva Gureshidze won the gold medal against teammate Ucha Tabatadze.
With the European Open in early September in Oberwart, the ÖJV will host another international tournament this year.