16 March 2024


Riga Senior European Cup 2024


The first day of the Riga Senior European Cup saw Kazakhstan topping the medal table with two gold and a single silver medals. Meanwhile, the British team was able to clamp two silver and two bronzes until the final of the -66kg category, where a victory from Finlay ALLAN (GBR) set the Brits to be the best European country of the day. 

Allan, originally from Scotland but been training full time at Camberley Judo Club (CJC) in Surrey since 2020 finished 5th place last year in Riga. Returning to Latvia, a medal, at the very least, was the objective. Defeating teammate, Michael FRYER in the semis, the opportunity presented itself for Allan to take victory. It was the second time the British judoka found himself in the final of a European cup. The situation was not unfamiliar, only the opponent was different, precisely, Serdar RAHIMOV (TKM). The contest went into golden score where two penalties each was on display. It was around two minutes into extra time when Rahimov endangered Allan with a shime-waza attempt, almost setting the CJC fighter up for silver. A good defence and even higher spirit kept Allan going forward and a minute later he was returning the favour when taking victory over Rahimov with a shime-waza himself. After a silver and two bronzes, how do you feel to finally win?

I am really happy to win my first gold on the European Cup tour. I had some really hard close fights and I had to dig in all day. I would like to thank everyone at Camberley Judo Club and Judo Scotland for their continued support.

The remaining medals for Great Britain won by the following judoka: silver by Tatum KEEN (-52kg) and Lanina SOLLEY (-57kg ), bronze by medals Michael FRYER (-66kg) and Josie STEELE (-63kg).

The opening ceremony was honoured by the presence of the President of the European Judo Union Dr. TOTH Laszlo. He expressed his greetings to the organisers and congratulated for a successfully tournament whilst noting that in 2023, the Latvian Judo Federation (LDF) celebrated its 50th anniversary, for which he awarded LDF President, Mr Vsevolods ZEĻONIJS with an Order of Merit. The award showed a significant acknowledgment and gesture of appreciation for LDF’s contributions to the development of judo in Europe and Latvia. Additionally, EJU President, Dr TOTH Laszlo acknowledged the decades of effort from EJU Head Referee Director, Mr. Alexandr JATSKEVITCH as he presented him with an Order of Merit too.

The President of the Latvian Judo Federation, Mr Vsevolods ZEĻONIJS and EJU President, Dr. TOTH Laszlo. © Roberts Voskans – SportaFoto.com

Meanwhile, LDF President, Mr. Zelonijs also presented a 50th-anniversary medal to EJU President Dr. TOTH Laszlo, showing gratitude for the trust and support given to the Latvian Judo Federation in organizing events of such scale. This, once again, confirmed the close cooperation and mutual support between the European Judo Union and the Latvian Judo Federation.

The host nation fallen short on a medal during day one, however, with 11 members of the team left to compete on Sunday, their spirit remains in line. 

Author: Szandra Szogedi