8 June 2024


Madrid European Open 2024


On the first day of the Madrid European Open 2024, in one of the last qualifying events prior to the Paris Olympic Games, we saw many talented judoka, some more new to the senior scene that others. One who we expect to see in Paris is Barbara TIMO (POR), though today she was competing in her old category of -70kg category. It seemed that -63kg is much better suited to the double world medallist as it was an early exit for Timo in the preliminary rounds.

The focus, however, was predominantly on the Spanish team today, though they had a great French rivalry, and the latter managed to top the medal table with six gold medals, three of which came from all-French finals.

Only one gold medal didn’t go to Team France on the initial day that saw the lightweight men and heavyweight women compete, and that was from the -60kg Luis BARROSO LOPEZ of the host nation. The #4 seed, 21 year-old from Valencia has already achieved success, a silver medal in the U23 European Championships and a bronze medal in this event in 2023, his only senior continental open medal. It seems Madrid gives Barroso strength given his eventual gold medal.

Luis BARROSO LOPEZ (ESP) © Gabi Juan

In the final he took on Austria’s Daniel LEUTGEB, and though in the first half of the contest they appeared evenly matched, Barroso dug deep, motivated by the crowd, and threw with o soto gari, transitioning directly in to kesa gatame to finish the contest in ne waza.

It was Manon DEKETER (FRA) who started the team’s gold medal haul, defeating Vivian HERRMANN (GER) in the first minute of the contest with shime waza in the -63kg category, Lucie JARROT was next up in -70kg, scoring initially with de ashi barai and then countered a weak drop seoi nage attempt from team mate Florine SOULA. Alexis RENARD scored waza ari with tomoe nage against Theo RAOUL HEBRARD (FRA), enough for the gold medal win in the -66kg category. Then -78kg Liz NGELEBEYA (FRA) showed great strength with a koshi guruma attack, scoring and finishing the contest by holding Linde HANSTEDE (NED) for ten seconds.

Benjamin AXUS was in an incredible clinch contest with Javier PENA INSAUSTI (ESP) in the -73kg category, keeping the crowd guessing which way it would go. A mistake was made by Pena, as he came in for ura nage then tried to change direction, instead of surprising Axus, it was anticipated and Pena landed on the wrong side of a hold. Closing out day one were the +78kg women, and Grace-Esther MIENANDI LAHOU played a tactical game against team mate, Lucie DUPIN, who picked up three shidos, handing the win to Mienandi.


Author: Thea Cowen