30 June 2024


European Judo Championships Cadets Sofia 2024


It had been an extremely exciting day in the Cadet Mixed Team European Championships 2024, ichi resulted in a Türkiye vs France grand finale! Türkiye were off to a blistering start, Burak Ismail SENGUR got the party started, scoring waza ari with morote soi nage and took the first win with a huge, ippon-scoring o uchi gari.

Burak Ismail SENGUR (TUR) © Gabi Juan

In the +63kg category, the -70kg and +70kg 2023 Cadet European Champions; Tuana GULENAY (TUR) and Leonie MINKADA-CAQUINEAU (FRA) battled it out. Half way through the contest, it was a French win, a huge soto makikomi from Minkada-Caquineau stopped the runaway train that was Türkiye and put France back in the game. The heavyweight success continued for France with Kevin NZUZI DIASIVI (FRA) in the +81kg category, who managed to use his kuzushi to unbalance Fatih DURSAN, to the point te waza won him the contest.

A second win didn’t put off Team Türkiye though, and Elif KILIC levelled the playing field with a stunning double-sleeved uchi mata in the -48kg contest against Lalla-Dounia LAHRIFI (FRA). It was 2:2 now, and the men’s -60kg contest had no clear winner with both performing well today. An initial score came from Ramazan KIBAROGLU (TUR) who over rolled an uchi mata attempt from Maxence ADRIANO (FRA), the lead didn’t last long though, and Adriano brought it back, 3:2 to France.

Pressure was on Emma BENGHEZAL (FRA) to give France the fourth and final win they needed, but the double European and World Champion, Sinem ORUC (TUR) had other ideas. Attempts were made by Benghezal but she simply didn’t match the strength of her opponent in this -63kg contest and instead picked up shidos for false attacks. In the end, Oruc may have had to settle for silver, but it was okay,

This week I didn’t perform at my best and today I was given a second chance. I’m proud of myself and the team to take this medal, and not I can prepare for the World Championships and I’m sure that I will be better and be able to win!

Both teams walked on to the tatami and waited as the big screen roulette decided who would be the deciding contest of this Cadet Mixed Team final. +81kg. Time for Dursan to redeem himself, or Nzuzi Diasivi to confirm his dominance. A giant o soto gari confirmed the latter.

It was very important to win this gold medal, I was disappointed with my performance in the individual competition so I was determined to have a better day. I will celebrate this win with my family and friends now, I’m so happy!


Author: Thea Cowen