25 June 2024


European Judo Championships Cadets Sofia 2024


With the draw of the Cadet European Championships 2024 only one day away, we look at the potential talents on day two of the event, the top seeds who have found success already this year.

Two-time Cadet European Champion and 2022 Cadet World Champion, Sinem ORUC (TUR) is the strong leader of the -63kg category. The surprise win in 2022 instilled a confidence in her she didn’t know was possible and has since gone on to win more titles and reign supreme in this category. Since her first title, Oruc has never missed a final, only settling for silver on one occasion in the EYOF. With a target on her back, the number two seed, Lucia CARPIO FERNANDEZ (ESP) could be the one to slay the champion, if she can conquer her side of the draw, she is also a strong contender with four European Cup golds, most recent in Coimbra. There will be new head to heads for Oruc, including that of Hanna ZAITSEVA (POL), who made her cadet presence known in October with a win in Riga and hasn’t left the podium since! Fourth seed is Ilariia TSURKAN (UKR) who has been extraordinarily busy in 2024, attending a whopping 10 events already, including junior level. Tsurkan comfortably found success in cadet level events and then challenged herself, also proving she can find glory at the next level with a gold medal in the Kaunas Junior European Cup, and only two weeks ago, a 5th place at senior level. She will most definitely be one to watch!

Ilariia TSURKAN (UKR) winning the Kaunas Junior European Cup 2024. © Rolandas Vaizgela

Leading in the -66kg category is Giorgi GIVISHVILI (GEO), the Cadet European and World bronze medallist, and an athlete who in fact has never left an event without a medal. Givishvili’s most recent achievement was the gold in Teplice. Following is Rufus BARSKE (GER), his resume may not be quite as star studded, but his consistency is, placing in each event since October 2023 where he kicked off his stream of success with a win in Koper. In a similar situation is Illia NAZARENKO (UKR) whose confidence will be fuelled by good preparation as well as a gold in Bielsko Biala last month. Rounding out the top four is Alexander MARLOV (SWE) who has the most experience of the bunch, his cadet results dating back to February 2022, medalling in his first event in Lignano. Moving from the -55kg category created a gap in his results as he adjusted, but he seems to have found his rhythm, again with multiple results in 2024.

In the -52kg category, it has always been gold for VAS Mira (HUN). With only three Cadet European Cup results, it is incredible that on each outing she managed to secure the top place position on the podium; Gyor, Teplice and Bielsko Biala events served her well and she will have unlimited confidence competing this week. Monica MARTINEZ DE RITUERTO MORILLAS (ESP) on the other hand has a little more experience, and also placed numerous times, including a gold in Poreč. Only one place behind Martinez in the WRL, Elise RUSTIGE (#9/NED) is the third seed in this category, and though she has tasted glory in bronze and silver form, she is still looking to add gold to her collection. Laura BARISIC (CRO) follows at fourth seed, who has seemingly had a tough run in 2024, with her last gold and bronze results in 2023, but each event is a fresh one and she is ready for change. Notably in at #26 in the WRL is the -48kg 2023 European Champion, Vusala HAJIYEVA (AZE).

Bogdan VELICKOVIC (SRB) © Carlos Ferreira

Serbia will lead the -73kg category with Bogdan VELICKOVIC, who is on a streak of devastation, winning the last three events in Samorin, Teplice and Bielsko Biala. Velickovic is also coming from a place of experience, taking the bronze medal in Odivelas last year, as well as in the European Youth Olympic Festival, and a fifth place in the Cadet World Championships. Now another year on, his results are mirroring a potential champion. That being said, champions can always fall, and betting on that is the number two seed, Noah BOUE (FRA) who can also boast of a winning streak of four European Cup gold medals, which also means the pair haven’t faced one another before. Latvia’s Aleksandrs AVDEJEVS has rumbled with the top seed before however, most recently in Bielsko Biala and knows what to expect. France have a double assault in the top four in this category, with Mehdi SALAH who has medalled in each event he has competed in this year so far, but still hunts the gold.

Hili ZAKROISKY (ISR) comes in to these Cadet European Championships as a Cadet World medallist, securing the bronze in Zagreb last year, and has gradually been making her way up the podium since, finishing with a gold in Bielsko Biala. She is also one of the five athletes who have the WRL #1 status. The top five of this -57kg category are all top five in the WRL, she will be chased down by Poland’s Emilia BIELAWSKA who, like Zakroisky, finished in fifth place in last years Europeans. Martina CAPEZZUTO (ITA) follows up as finalist on two occasions in 2024; Fuengirola and Porec, and in the latter event lost out to the fourth seed this week, Manon AGATI-ALOUACHE (FRA). This will be Agati-Alouache’s first opportunity at a prime event, and can back up positioning with three Cadet European Cup gold medals.


Author: Thea Cowen