Tbilisi 2009-Preview 3rd day

EJU Article – The preview for day 3 of the European Championships in Tbilisi.


Women U78
If Celine Lebrun (FRA) wins a medal she will become the leading French fighter with a total of ten European Championship medals. West German Barbara Classen is still on top of this list. She died in 1990 and won 5 European titles amongst her 15 medals.

Lebrun won the European title in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005

Anne-Sophie Mondíère and veteran Céline Lebrun have won five in a row but the record is held by Austrian Edith Hrovat who won eight European titles in the lighter weights and Dutch woman Angelique Seriese. Alina Dumitru (ROU) failed to win her 6th consecutive title on Friday.

Esther San Miguel has won three consecutive bronze medal since 2006 in this weight category.

Last year Dutchman Mark Huizinga became the oldest ever European Champion at the age of 34 years. Esther San Miguel can improve the record in the women’s category if she wins the European title today. However she will not break Huizinga’s record who was 6 month in 2008 than San Miguel today.

Nino Odzelashvili is the youngest participant.


Women +78
Elena Ivashchenko (RUS) is one of the favourites to win the O78 weight class today. Se can bring the fourth medal for Russia. The last Russian to win the O78 weight class was Irina Rodina 10 years ago.

Russian Nifontov’s gold medal was the 101th European medal of Russia since 1993. With Friday’s and Saturday’s 5 medals making total of 104 medals, 32 gold, 31 silver and 41 bronze. Today Russia has a number of favourites with Elena Ivashchenko, Tagir Khaibulaev, Ivan Pershin and Aleksandr Mikhailine as major candidates for gold.

Slovenia has never won a gold medal in this class, but Lucija Polavder is for sure another favourite. Yesterday Slovenia celebrated its second gold medal ever in the history of the European Championships with the victory of Urska Zolnir.
In total Slovenia have won 2 gold medals, 2 silver, and 13 bronze including the surprising Aljaz Sedej (SLO – U81) who beat Olympic Champion Ole Bischof yesterday.

Lucija Polavder however seems to have a subscription on bronze medals at European Championships. She has won three consecutive bronze medals since 2006.

Let’s not exclude Urszula Sadkowska who may be able to win the first Polish gold in this class after Beata Maksimov won her third gold medal in this class in 1997.


Men U90
Milan Randl (SVK) and Karolis Bauza (LTU) were both born on 24 April 1987, so celebrated a modest birthday on Friday. They will both fight in the U90 kg weight class today. A medal would be a great delayed birthday present.

World Tbilisi seems to be a good indication for success at European Championships. Volodymyr Soroka of the Ukraine won at the World Cup event in January and won the European title yesterday.

This year’s World Cup for men in Tbilisi had four European winners who will be present at this year’s Europeans. Three of them are from Georgia; Amiran Papinashvili (U60), Varlam Liparteliani (U90) won the World Cup in Tbilisi this year as well as super heavyweight Adam Okroashvili (O100).

Georgian Varlam Liparteliani has won more than 90% of his fights at major events, the best record of current participants in the sport. Liparteliani became European and World Junior Champion and has won the World Cup events in Vienna and Moscow. In 2009 he won the World Cup in Tbilisi and finished fifth after losing to Takashi Ono at the Grand Slam in Paris. Liparteliani makes his debut at the Europeans.


Men U100
Israeli Ariel Zeevi has won the European Championship in the U100kg class three times and is the most successful fighter ever from his country, winning 41% of Israel’s medals. Zeevi debuted in the 1996 European Championships and is (one of) the most experienced judokas at this year’s championships. Yael Arad is the only other Israeli to have won a European Judo title.

Daniel Dichev will be the youngest participant (17) at this European Championships. Competing for Bulgaria in the under 100 kilogram weight class he has the difficult task to win a medal. The last one to win a medal for Bulgaria was Georgi Georgiev. The only Bulgarian gold medalist ever was Georghi Petrov in 1981 (U78).


Men +100
Georgian judoka Zaza Kedelashvili has an even more impressive 100% record at European Championships, winning 14 matches out of 14, but he won’t compete this edition.

45 years ago, the European Championships took place in Berlin. The championships consisted of the amateur participants (subleague) and the seniors. The star of 1964 was Dutchman Anton Geesink who won two European titles (his 19th and 20th out of 21 in total), and later that year his first Olympic title. On Sunday this is exactly 45 years ago.