4 June 2024


Madrid European Open 2024


One of the final qualifying stops on the European Judo Tour will be the Madrid European Open 2024, and with this, it’ll bring some top names who are either looking to strengthen their position in the seeding or confirm their qualification spot for Paris 2024. 

Last week in Marrakech, the likes of the Teddy RINER (FRA/+100kg), Marcus NYMAN (SWE/-90kg) and Mihail LATISEV (MDA) topping the podiums of the African Open tournament. As we know, the French have a home nation spot in every weight category but Riner is already in the top eight, but with some extra points could find a strategically better position. Nyman is chasing down team mate Ida ERIKSSON (-70kg) for the continental quota place, and if he manages the gold this weekend, could earn his place in the Paris line-up. As for Latisev, he already has the continental quota position but these extra wins could put him in a more secure position. 

Teddy RINER (FRA) © Gabi Juan

Along with some repeat performances, we have one special figure, one donning a golden back patch; Lasha BEKAURI (GEO). Bekauri already sits on top of the world ranking list in the -90kg category, so there will be no advantage gained by his presence in Madrid, but it’s a final opportunity to compete after missing the World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

There is a huge French entry, 81-strong to be exact, most of whom won’t be seeing out their Olympic dream in Paris, but are showing strength in numbers regardless. Masters silver medallist Alexis MATHIEU (-90kg), Coralie HAYME (+78kg), Benjamin AXUS (-73kg) and Manon DEKETER, who will likely take the place of Clarisse AGBEGNENOU as the leading -63kg competitor following the current Olympic Champions retirement. There is also a surprise at the bottom, Axel CLERGET will be competing at the -100kg weight, and even though we originally thought his big farewell was in Abu Dhabi, we are pleased to see him again with the team this weekend.

We haven’t seen the last of Axel CLERGET yet! © Gabi Juan

Given the names already listed, the categories will be very strong, but the host nation, Spain, have a few weapons in their arsenal, and with a 97-strong team, we can see some medals on the horizon.

After taking a third place position last year, Jorge CANO GARCIA has been making a name for himself in the -73kg category, defeating the likes of Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI, competing as a member of OJK Belgrade, winning the Champions League. Gemma Maria GOMEZ ANTONA is the next highest ranked entry but in the -48kg category, claiming a 5th place in the Kazakhstan Grand Slam last month as well as a silver medal in the U23 European Championships. Laura VAZQUEZ FERNANDEZ, the current U23 European Champion in the -63kg category, took 5th place in Madrid last year, but with the extra experience on senior level will have bettered her chances in the 2024 edition. Ayumi LEIVA SANCHEZ also launched herself in the -52kg category, with two Grand Slam bronze medals in 2024; Antalya and Kazakhstan.

Of course this is just a small selection of Team Spain, but their achievements come in droves and history could very well be made on the tatami on the 8th and 9th of June.


Author: Thea Cowen