EXCELLENT PREPARATION FOR JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN PAKS

Duesseldorf, Germany, February 25 – Grand Prix Duesseldorf 2017 (Photo © by Klaus Mueller. All rights reserved. Including image always credited to Klaus Mueller)

At the Junior European Cup in Paks some senior level athletes participated. There was an interesting battle between Aleksandra Samardzic of Bosnia Herzegovina and Austrian Michaela Polleres, where the former was victorious. The Austrian is in good shape, winning in Athens and Leibnitz this season, while Samardzic had some problems winning, but found the cure in April when she won in Sarajevo, says JudoInside.com.

Aleksandra Samardzic took the gold at the Balkan Championships last week and now captured gold in a competitive weight category U70kg. She is the first Bosnian to win twice in Paks and she is the all-time topscorer for Bosnia in this age category in the Junior European Cups with five wins. Paks was her first win in 2014.

Canada was the surprise at U63kg with an all-Canadian final between Hanako Kuno and Emily Burt. Emily Burt and Hanako Kuno managed a Canuck one-two finish in the U63 kg category, after each judoka had a perfect day. The teammates faced each other in the final round, where Burt quickly got the better of Kuno with an ippon. On her way to the finals, Emily Burt defeated her rivals in the first three preliminary round matches, then took on and bested Denmark’s Laerke Olsen with an ippon in the semi-final. Kuno also arrived in the finals with a record of three wins and no losses. In the semi-final, she scored a winning waza-ari against Georgian Mzia Beboshvili in overtime. Burt won last week in Gdynia, but for the first time in the Canadian history there was an all Canadian final at a Junior European Cup.

Austria won the gold U78kg by Maria Hoellwart who bested Italian Ilaria Qualizza. Hungarian heavyweight Mercedesz Szigetvari defeated Croatian youngster Katarina Vukovic in the final and captured the second victory for the home nation, both in the heavyweight category.

Italy was the strongest in the men’s division and on Sunday Biagio D’Angelo and Gabrielle Sulli grabbed two gold medals. D’Angelo won against his compatriot Patrick Cala Lesina in the final U60kg. Sulli overcame Bence Boros of Hungary. Vlad Luncan was the best among the lightweights U55kg. Luncan beat Aussie Oceania champion Bryan Jolly in the final. Slovenian Martin Hojak added a second victory this season. Lignano was his first. Canadian Francois Gauthier Drapeau couldn’t prevent a win for the Slovenian World bronze medallist. This year the Junior World Championships will be in Croatia in October and the Atom Cup in Paks is one of the most important preparations.

Italy, Hungary, Spain, Romania and Bosnia Herzegovina all won two gold medals and host Hungary won the most medals (10). Three Junior European Cups to go: Prague, Berlin and Cluj-Napoca.

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