23 April 2014

Defending Champions on show in Montpellier

Defending Champions on show in Montpellier

European Judo Championships kick off with the draw

12 reigning European Champions plus four reigning World Champions headline the European Championships in Montpellier, France, this week. Competition should be exciting in all weight categories with champions, newcomers and veterans vying for the medals.

Defending Olympic, World and European Champion Teddy Riner (FRA) leads a deep and highly talented field at these championships. The French heavyweight is keen to collect his fourth European title, this time on home soil where he can count on the support of an enthusiastic and expectant crowd. In the women’s all seven reigning European Champions have returned: Eva Csernoviczki (HUN, -48kg), Natalia Kuziutina (RUS, -52kg), Automne Pavia (FRA, -57kg), Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA, -63kg), Kim Polling (NED, -70kg), Lucie Louette (FRA, -78kg) and Lucija Polavder (SLO, +78kg). In the men’s events, five out of seven defending champions are competing in Montpellier: Amiran Papinashvili (GEO, -60kg), Rok Draksic (SLO, -73kg), Avtandil Tchirikishvili (GEO, -81kg), Lukas Krpalek (CZE, -100kg) and Riner (+100kg).
Making things even more difficult on the Montpellier tatami will be the presence of four more Europeans who are reigning World Champions. These are Majlinda Kelmendi (IJF, -52kg), Yarden Gerbi (ISR, -63kg) as well as Loic Pietri (FRA, -81kg) and Elkhan Mammadov (AZE, -100kg).

In total, 321 athletes from 43 countries will battle it out to determine who are Europe’s best judokas. “The European Championships are our flagship event and they are also an important step towards the next Olympic Games”, said EJU-President Sergey Soloveychik at the opening draw on Wednesday. “I expect a very high level of competition”, commented Jean-Luc Rougé, President of the hosting French Judo Federation.

Montepellier hosts the European Judo Championships for the first time.

For EJU Media Team
Tatjana Flade