27 June 2024


European Judo Championships Cadets Sofia 2024


Already we can celebrate some new and defending Cadet European Champions in Sofia, Bulgaria. The 2024 edition is off to an exhilarating start, the lightest weight categories donning the tatami first. Four of the six top seeds succeeded in their bid to compete in their respective finals, and first up was Aiora MARTIN CARRICHES of Spain.

Martin met Mathilde AUREL (FRA) in the final of the -40kg category which turned in to a golden score endeavour. Though Aurel fought hard to find her way in, she was meeting an incredible defence from Martin and ceded the final contest by picking up three shidos. This is the first continental championship medal for the Spanish athlete and top seed of the -40kg category.

I was feeling very nervous coming into the competition because it was difficult to make the weight. The semi final and final were very tough, but I am very happy with my gold medal today!


Bahadir FEYZULLAYEV (AZE) came in as the number one seed of the -50kg category and was dealt a hard draw Rostyslav KOSTRYKIN (UKR) throwing against the elbow, but continued the action, AZE worked hard to secure the arm lock while referee commission deliberated. Once mate was called, the hansoku make was announced.

I am very proud of my win today, I was very confident when I arrived here that I would be able to take the gold medal. Now that I have this title, I look forward to the World Championships and I only have eyes for a gold medal there too. It was a tough day, but my hardest contest was the semi final as I was fighting my team mate, Mahammadali HUSIYEV who took the bronze.

Bahadir FEYZULLAYEV (AZE) © Kostadin Andonov

The final of the -44kg category was by far the hardest that Patricia TOMANKOVA (SVK) had to deal with today. The 2023 Cadet European and World Champion came to Sofia in a new weight category to once again become the champion, but Africa PUENTE LOPEZ (ESP) did everything in her power to prevent that from happening. Though Puente picked up two shidos, she was on the attack and Tomankova was put under strain throughout. The pair delved in to golden score, but at 1:47, the Slovakian superstar pulled out an exhausted maki komi to score waza ari and take yet another title.

Patricia TOMANKOVA (SVK) © Kostadin Andonov

The -55kg category saw Khazar HEYDAROV (UKR), who took out the top seed, Gal BLAZIC (SLO) go head to head with the unseeded Magomed ABDULAEV (AIN) who only just took his first international result in the Goygol Cadet European Cup last month. Heydarov had the support of two continental cup gold medals leading in to these Cadet European Championships, and gave him the fourth seed position, but Abdulaev was the surprise for the young men today. A hard-fought contest ensued, and Abdulaev the eventual victor as Heydarov picked up three shidos.

I was a little bit scared to change the weight category, but I think it was the right decision because -40kg was too low and it was hard, and now I hope the -48kg will be even better! I already tried at junior level and took a bronze, but now I felt that my weight was a little issue, I need to be a bit heavier. In the final, I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard, the Spanish competitor is very good and I’m really glad that it was a good fight in the end.

Magomed ABDULAEV (AIN) © Gabi Juan

Instead of a final head to head between the top two seeds in the -48kg category, we saw numbers three and four, Charlotte NETTESHEIM (GER) and Barbara TWAROWSKA (POL), regardless of a gold or silver result, this was the first European Championship medal for both athletes. Twarowska already proved today that she was comfortable in the defensive position, and proved it quickly as Nettesheim attacked with o uchi gari, and the Polish athlete took a sizeable step back and countered with her own ashi waza. Going in to the final minute, Nettesheim was desperately trying to even the score, and on the buzzer succeeded with harai maki komi. Hooking in for o uchi gari again, Nettesheim made the ultimate comeback for her European title win.

I think the waza ari [from Twarowska] was a wake up call for me, and then in those final seconds, I just thought I have nothing to lose I need to give it everything. After scoring, I had that extra motivation and I was 90% positive I would win the contest then! I didn’t really expect this result today but I’m so happy to win the gold.

Charlotte NETTESHEIM (GER) © Gabi Juan

Izhak ASHPIZ (ISR) came to Sofia as the 2023 bronze medallist, and current Cadet World Champion, on a mission to complete his cadet collection, but in his way was Jakub KUROWSKI (POL) who has medalled in his past six events, with two continental cup golds, two silver and two bronze. It was a strong contest, but Ashpiz had a fire in him that would result in nothing but a gold medal.

Since becoming World Champion, I’ve had higher expectations for myself and it’s very exciting to take a gold at the Europeans as it’s my last year. My hardest fight was with my team mate,

Izhak ASHPIZ (ISR) © Gabi Juan


Author: Thea Cowen