31 May 2023


Prague Junior European Cup 2023


There may be some front runners heading to the senior event, the Grand Prix in Dushanbe, but in the Prague Junior European Cup, we have senior world and IJF Tour medallists in the mix on the 3rd and 4th of June. What makes this even more interesting is that these athletes aren’t ranked. 

In the recent World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the Georgian mixed team finally found their place on the podium, taking bronze. As the medals and trophy were awarded, +100kg Gela ZAALISHVILI guided the trophy to the youngster and heroine of the team that day, 19 year-old Eter ASKILASHVILI. Though her rap sheet isn’t bedazzled with success, she proved that she is an epic team player and can handle the pressure and was the key to making it through the initial round in the -70kg category, but she will be representing her actual weight of -63kg this weekend. 

Eter ASKILASHVILI raising the trophy for Georgia! © Gabi Juan

Askilashvili isn’t the only Georgian with some glowing results competing in Prague, there is a young men’s team coming in hot with Saba SAMADISHVILI (-73kg) and Davit KARELI (-66kg) both cadet world champions in 2022, incidentally this was the last time they competed on the international circuit. This is also the case for Daviti LOMITASHVILI int he -60kg category who took the cadet world bronze in the -55kg category as well as the EYOF title. Age means little in this sport, and anyone can be beaten on any given day, which Kote KAPANADZE proved in the Tbilisi Grand Slam this year, defeating the now former world champion TSEND-OCHIR Tsogtbaatar (MGL) and took HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN) in to golden score during the mixed team event in Doha. If the 20 year-old is able to contend with the worlds best, there will be high hopes for him in Prague. 

Other young cadets who proved their superiority in the world championships include Anastasia SUPERSON (UKR/-48kg) and KENDERESI Peter (HUN/-90kg) who will be competing a weight class above this week. 

The -73kg category will certainly be a tough one, with the Georgian team sending some of their best, there is also a strong force from Ukraine: Yevhen HONCHARKO. The 2021 Junior European and world bronze medallist has also proven his abilities on the senior circuit with a Grand Slam bronze in Baku, defeating Yakub SHAMILOV for the medal. 

Another name that stands out is Samira BOCK (GER). Last year in Sarajevo, she gave the most incredible performance to become the U23 European champion in the -70kg category, a strong weight in Germany, and recently took gold in the Paris Junior European Cup, now she is looking to extend her golden collection in Prague. 

The European offence may be strong but there is plenty of influence from further afield including an 11-person entry from Japan heading to the UNYP Arena for the two-day event. The draw will take place on the 2nd of June at 19:00 which can be found at JudoTV.com, as can the streamed competition.


Author: Thea Cowen