27 April 2024


European Judo Championships Seniors Zagreb 2024


On the third and final day of individual competition in the Senior European Judo Championships 2024, there were early upsets in the -100kg category. The current World Champion Arman ADAMIAN (AIN), fell at the hands of Zlatko KUMRIC (CRO), much to the delight of the home crowd and double World Champion Jorge FONSECA (POR) didn’t make it past the first round with 2022 Tokyo Grand Slam winner Gennaro PIRELLI (ITA). In the end, Kumric and Pirelli will go head to head for the bronze medal.

We almost saw a rematch of the 2023 European final in the -100kg category, Ilia SULAMANIDZE defeated Kumric, after putting a waza ari score on the board, he was taken off for medical assistance, and then returned to claim his place in the final with an effortless de ashi barai. Last year, it was Zelim KOTSOIEV (AZE) who left Montpellier with the gold medal, and was close to defending it, however Matvey KANIKOVSKIY (AIN) stood in his way. Kotsoiev scored with ko soto gake in the first half of the contest, and took a risk with ura nage that didn’t pay off, instead Kanikovskiy caught the leg to score and transitioned immediately in to osae komi to meet Sulamanidze in the final.

Ilia SULAMANDIZE (AZE) © Emanuele Di Feliciantonio

Reigning World Champion, Inbar LANIR (ISR) was devastating her opponents today with her signature ura nage and ballistic judo, however Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) put a stop to this. After securing a strong grip on the collar, Tcheumeo attacked with harai goshi, though it was evident the kuzushi was a winning factor as there was barely any need for contact with the leg. Incredibly, Tcheumeo is on course to take a fifth European title, her first in 2011, but before she can celebrate, she needs to beat Anna Maria WAGNER (GER) first.

Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) © Carlos Ferreira

Wagner has earned titles at junior and U23 level, however the senior title has evaded her, including a senior final meaning this is her best result in a continental championships to date. The World Champion and Olympic medallist fought tactically against Yelyzaveta LYTVYNENKO (UKR), and in the end the young Ukrainian athlete picked up three shidos.

Waves were felt in the -90kg category, current Olympic Champion Lasha BEKAURI (GEO) was on top form in his opening rounds, and then faced Eljan HAJIYEV (AZE) in the quarter final. The pair last met in the final of the Tbilisi Grand Slam final last month where Bekauri has an astonishing performance in front of his home crowd, he simply couldn’t lose. Today however, it was a different story and Bekauri was devastated with a huge ura nage. Hajiyev then took on Alex CRET (ROU) for his place in the final. An initial score came quickly from uchi mate, and again within the first minute of the contest, scored another waza ari with a drop morote seoi nage.

Eljan HAJIYEV (AZE) © Carlos Ferreira

There was a chance for an all-Azeri final as Murad FATIYEV contested TOTH Krisztian (HUN). Unfortunately this head to head ended with shidos, but for Toth this is his second European final, the previous in 2016 where he picked up a silver medal, losing out to Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO).

In the +78kg category, the semi finals were incredible tough, both concluded with shido accumulations, first up were Kayra OZDEMIR (TUR) and Raz HERSHKO (ISR), with the latter coming out on top to go in to her third consecutive European final. On the previous two occasions she admitted defeat, ceding to Romane DICKO (FRA), yet in her absence Hershko will face another French athlete, Julia TOLOFUA who saw out Rochele NUNES (POR).

Raz HERSHKO (ISR) © Carlos Ferreira

As always, we are waiting for fireworks in the +100kg category, and today can boast some of the most exciting athletes on the IJF World Tour. Firstly, current World Champion and 2021 European Champion, Inal TASOEV (AIN) defeated Marius FIZEL (SVK), scoring waza ari in the first minute with sasae tsurikomi ashi. Following his win, he stayed almost mat side to watch the following semi final between team mate and Olympic medallist, the 2020 European Champion, Tamerlan BASHAEV and the Olympic silver medallist, two-time European Champion, Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO). Last year, Tushishvili lost out to Marti PUUMALAINEN (FIN) so came today with golden intent, eventually defeating Bashaev, scoring with ashi guruma.

Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) and Tamerlan BASHAEV (AIN) © Carlos Ferreira

Tasoev in fact congratulated Tushishvili when he left the tatami and then commiserated Bashaev, walking away to prepare for the final block together.


Author: Thea Cowen