25 February 2024


Warsaw European Open 2024


That’s all it took. 17 seconds. Kenya PERNA (ITA) has been working tirelessly to take the gold medal, and today had to battle it out in a domestic all-Italian final with Martina CASTAGNOLA to decide the -52kg winner.

What many may have assumed would be a long contest given their knowledge of one another, was over in an instant, in the first exchange Perna took the cross grip over the back and hooked in, driving with o uchi gari, then as it became too stationary and Castagnola defended, Perna changed direction and threw with a huge sumi gaeshi. This is Perna’s first continental open gold medal and was celebrated with coach, Antonio CIANO.

I’m really happy, today I was on good form and all of this, thanks for God, without him I wouldn’t have arrived here, he gave me this big experience. Martina and I know each other very well and have both won against each other, this was a tactical plan in the final.

With a silver and bronze in European Opens, this was a step in the right direction for the great goals Perna has in mind,

It was an important win for me, I am looking to the next Olympic Games, right now we have the great Odette GIUFFRIDA and because of her and Assunta SCUTTO, my training partners, I am here, I have a very strong team.

Next week the mission continues in Tashkent and with this confidence and special feeling, things are starting to change for Perna, as well her coach, who is also coach to Scutto and Alice BELLANDI, just some of the impressive talent on the Italian team. Perna may have been smiling, but arguably, Ciano’s was even bigger, so what does this success mean to the coach?

This win was so important because in the last three competitions, Baku, Abu Dhabi and Paris, I feel that she is stronger than her opponents, she is winning by waza ari, then lost in ne waza, each time. So this we worked on, after the transition it was too slow. Today though, I had a good sensation and after her first win with uchi mata, I felt good. In her second match against the French, I really felt less stress because she lost to her in Portugal and I just felt and could see that she was strong and this was the change for me.

Coach: Antonio CIANO © Carlos Ferreira


Author: Thea Cowen