The strongest tournament in the cadet world on the second and last day had a perfect epilogue for Croatian fans thanks to the great performance of young Croatian judokas. Marko BOŽIĆ and Nika MARKULIN won the gold medal, while Jana CVJETKO finished in 3rd place. An extremely long and tiring weekend in the “Sutinska vrela” hall is behind us, but this tournament will be talked about for a long time.
In the women’s -63kg category, an identical number of judokas competed, and Croatia even had two competitors in the final block. Markulin was better than Austrian Leonie BAYR in the final fight. Markulin demonstrated absolute dominance in the final, at the very beginning of the fight she opened with a great throw for Wazari and immediately after the first break Markulin threw for another wazari which resulted in the gold medal.
“The feeling is indescribable, for the first time I am in the finals of the European Cup and immediately the gold! I think I fought very well, I entered every fight 100%! In addition to judo, I also play handball at Lokomotiva. I don’t have any specific plans for the future, but whatever I choose, I hope it will be the right decision,” said Markulin.
Markulin, who is a student of the second year of the School of Economics in Jastrebarsko, had six victories today, she won against Chloe JEAN (FRA), Helena ROTTENHOFER (AUT), Dunja VUKICEVIC (SRB), Isabel BOB (ROU) and Luna DE KOCK (NED). In the same category, Jana CVJETKO, younger sister of Tashkent World Silver medalist Lara CVJETKO won the bronze medal by defeating Isabel BOB (ROU).
A great performance in the -90kg category was shown by Marko BOŽIĆ, who had today five ippons until the final fight. Georgian, Saba GVELESIANI, was waiting for him in the fight for the gold medal today. BOŽIĆ opened the fight excellently, calm and in absolute control throughout the entire match. As time went on, the Georgian failed to find a solution against Božić, he resorted to a careless diving attack, and by the decision of the referees, he lost the fight by disqualification, that is, Božić won the gold medal!
“I can’t believe it, I’m not aware of the results yet! As soon as I won the first fight, I already saw that there would be something from today. Even though I won the gold, I think that I could have done some things better tactically, if I had listened to the advice of coach CRNOV, it would certainly have been better and simpler for me, but in the end everything turned out well. “- said BOŽIĆ.
On the way to the final, BOŽIĆ was better than Orkhan AHMADZADA (AZE), Dmitry CHAYNIKOVA (SLO), Luka TEVDORADZA (GEO), Cristian MINICINESIJ (ITA) and Guy SONNTAG (FRA).
Zagreb once again proved to be a great destination for judokas, a new record was set that will be difficult to achieve even in Zagreb, which has already broken it twice. The judo season in Croatia has just started, in April we are expecting the European Cup for seniors in Dubrovnik, June is reserved for the Judo Festival in Poreč. And then a real treat at the end of August, IJF Grand Prix Zagreb and the World Championship for cadets.
Author: Mario Krvavac