Russian Copper Company European Mixed Team Judo Championships

History was made here in Ekaterinburg, seeing the first senior European Mixed Team Judo Championships arrive on the calendar. The 21 teams exceeded expectations on the Russian stage, impressing the packed out Palace of Sports DIVS venue, the excitement and passion of the crowd making it an unforgettable event. After this European premiere, it can be said that there has been great success in the progression of judo and the introduction of the Mixed Teams events over the past year.

The home nation had a fantastic start to the day; Daria MEZHETSKAIA not only showed her brave throwing skills, but added her highly developed transitional ne waza; Khusen KHALMURZAEV demonstrated a beautiful uchi mata and Ivan VOROBEV ensured the crowd were entertained, by throwing with a perfectly timed harai goshi for ippon in golden score.

The third seed team, Germany, fought their way to the top of the podium today, beating the Slovenian, Turkish and Russian teams on their ascent to glory. They stole the show in the semi final, winning 4-1 against the Russians. Throughout the day the eleven strong German team, including World Championships 2018 nominees, threw with dynamic and explosive techniques adding to the electric atmosphere, without question earning their place in the gold medal contest. European Championship 2018 Silver Medallist Theresa STOLL set the ball rolling for her team with a win against Anastasiia KONKINA. Hohhot Grand Prix 2018 Bronze Medallist, Anthony ZINGG followed with a tough fight against home favourite Denis IARTCEV, performing some outstanding uchi mata attempts until finally taking the win. Eduard TRIPPEL was taking no prisoners in his approach to his contest against KHALMURZAEV, channelling the teams determination making the score 3-1. Securing the place in the final was Carolin WEISS, with tremendous instinctive ne waza against Ksnenia CHIBISOVA.

Germany managed a fifth place in the World Championships Mixed Team event in Budapest, Hungary 2017. So naturally they came looking for a better result here in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The final line up included; Igor WANDTKE, Marc ODENTHAL, Sven HEINLE, Theresa STOLL, Szaundra DIEDRICH and Anna Maria WAGNER. Those sitting on the sidelines willing their team mates on were; Anthony ZINGG, Eduard TRIPPEL, Amelie STOLL, Laura VARGAS KOCH and Carolin WEISS.

The final was close, Germany were off to a great start at 2-0 when the Dutch team started to gain on them and in the end, every player had the chance to help their team to glory. To avoid a draw, Germany’s HEINLE needed to dig deep to defeat Jur SPIJKERS and fortunately scored late on in the contest to take the gold.

It is not only the trophies and the medals the teams will get. The sponsor Russian Copper Company had set 80.000 Euro prize money. 30.000 Euro for the winning team and 20.000 for the silver medallist. Both bronze medallists got 10.000 Euro and even the 5. place can look forward for 5.000 Euro. 

Team events truly bring out the spirit of judo and the unity it stands for. Competitors come together from across their respective countries for one purpose and all teams represented themselves extraordinarily. More than 3.000 fans cheered and celebrated the 21 teams. To guarantee this big number of teams and to support smaller nations the EJU covered the teams with flight tickets and accommodation.

Congratulations to all the players and their coaches for creating the best experience for the first Senior European Mixed Team Judo Championships.

By Thea Cowen

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