6 July 2024


Tallinn European Open 2024


Opening the final block on day one of the European Open in Tallinn 2024, were the -63kg women. Hanna SEDLMAIR (GER) was quite the surprise today, defeating the top seed, Martyna GLUBIAK (POL) in their opening contest, and of course going on to the final. With peppered junior results and a bronze most recently in the East Sarajevo Pale Senior European Cup, this was a great step up for the 20 year-old. However in the final she faced the slightly more experienced, Kamile NALBAT (NED), who eventually took the gold medal win, her first European Open gold with an o uchi gari, drop seoi nage combination.

The Dutch team were in with another chance of gold from Bart WELING in the -60kg category, who took on Maximilian HEYDER (GER). Already the pair have fought on two occasions in 2024, and with a 1:1 record there was no way to predict the final outcome. Knowing each others arsenal, it was a stiff contest, but eventually, Weling scored in golden score with a signature kata guruma. Team Netherlands did their job of taking the two available gold on day one.

Though Germany were left with silver medals in the first two categories, they were guaranteed gold in -70kg. The world ranked #8 and Germany’s Olympic hope in this weight class, Miriam BUTKEREIT has been out of competition since the European Championships in April, and here she faced team mate Bertille MURPHY (GER). It took almost two minutes but Butkereit worked her way in to ne waza, scoring waza ari before Murphy escaped, however it wasn’t for long and she was held once again. This will be the last time we see Butkereit before she stands on the tatami in the Paris Olympic Games.

Though it wasn’t the fairytale ending that Jusuf NURKOVIC (MNE) had hoped for in the -66kg category as he was defeated by Romaric Wend-Yam BOUDA (FRA), throwing with ko soto gari, it was his best result to date and sets a tone. In just less than a year, Montenegro will host the Senior European Championships and it seems to have stoked a fire with Nurkovic who took his best result to date today, a silver medal is a huge achievement. Next up in his itinerary is the Zagreb Grand Prix!

Again, continuing the theme of German victory, were the women of the -78kg category as we saw Mathilda Sophie NIEMEYER (GER) and Julie HOELTERHOFF (GER) go head to head for the gold medal. It was a waza ari score from Niemeyer that earned her the win, a swift and unsuspected foot sweep in the first minute caught Hoelterhoff completely off guard. Unfortunately for the latter she was unable to bring the score back and settled for the silver. It is a great step for Niemeyer who took a Junior European bronze medal last year, and can now celebrate her first continental ope gold.

Both Chusniddin KARIMOV (CZE) and Jano RUEBO (GER) in the -73kg category were in a continental open final for the first time, and were claiming their best result no matter which ended up on top of the podium. It was a close contest, but in the end, the win went to Ruebo with some tremendous technical skill in ne waza, which caused Karimov to submit.

Closing out the final block was the athlete the crowd had been waiting for, the Estonian hope for a medal in the -78kg category today was Emma-Melis AKTAS and she made it all the way to the final against Ruslana BULAVINA (UKR), who was here to defend her Tallinn win in 2023. However with the strength of the crowd behind her, and a very vocal one at that, Aktas managed to counter a weak attack form Bulavina to score waza ari, which she managed to hold on to until the final seconds ran down. A huge win and success for the home team of Estonia!


Author: Thea Cowen