11 September 2021

FONTAINE AND SIPOCZ BECOME TRIPLE JUNIOR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS

FONTAINE AND SIPOCZ BECOME TRIPLE JUNIOR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS

Day three saw two athletes become three-time Junior European Champions in some fantastic heavyweight triumphs. Both Lea FONTAINE (FRA) and SIPOCZ Richard (HUN) had targets on their backs but dealt with the pressure and took their gold medals. 

Of course it wasn’t only the +78kg and +100kg that were exciting to watch, but on the last day of the Junior European Championships 2021, we found new title holders in the -90kg, -78kg and -100kg categories. As a team, Georgia really pulled out all the stops to fly up the standings and take third place behind Russia and France. 

Nika KHARAZISHVILI (GEO) in the -90kg had a smooth day, and was happy with his performance but unfortunately had to face team mate and incidentally, best friend, Tornike POLADISHVILI in the quarter final. Though only one could continue to the semi-final for Georgia, the latter continued the fight and took a bronze. Sharing the podium was a special occasion for them. 

I really worked hard for this, I have had difficult training to prepare and then I saw my team mate take the medal and was so happy for me, even more so than for myself. 

It was an extremely tough head to head in the -78kg final between Anna Monta OLEK and Yael VAN HEEMST (NED), the pair having fought already in a final this year in the Prague Junior European Cup. In Prague it was the Dutch athlete who game out on top but today Olek levelled the field and took gold here in Luxembourg. 

As the pair know each other it was going to be close, but this became Olek’s second golden score, again against the Dutch as her semi final was with Lieke DERKS. The German was ready, she was well prepared and had felt strong throughout the day, warming up and working on situations with team mate and bronze medallist, Rafaella IGL. 

Looking at the -100kg entry, one would be forgiven for assuming that senior world bronze medallist, Ilia SULAMANIDZE (GEO) would have a reasonably easy ride to the final but he was stopped in his tracks by the eventual champion, Matvey KANIKOVSKIY (RUS). An ashi waza attempt from the Georgian went wrong and he lost balance, allowing the Russian to take advantage with te waza to secure the win in golden score. 

Kanikovskiy then had the #1 seed VEG Zsombor (HUN). Once again the Russian countered his opponent to score waza ari but the ippon less than a minute later, a very confident and controlled final to earn Russia their fourth gold. 

Fontaine had strong competition throughout the day but still secured her position as junior champion regardless of this. The French were so strong in this category that she was joined by team mate, Coraline HAYME in the final of the +78kg category. Initially Fontaine countered a seoi nage attempt by Hayme and transitioned in to ne waza to finish the contest. 

She was extremely proud to once again take the title and continue her streak. 

Similarly, Sipocz was very pleased with his result after a tough year, having covid and not being at his best. His opponents really put up a fight, and with a target on his back there was the extra pressure that he managed to harness. Especially in the final against Saba INANEISHVILI (GEO). Both the Hungarian and Georgian teams were making up for the lack of spectators and during the whole contest, Inaneishvili looked the stronger competitor, being tactical in his choices, resulting in Sipocz picking up two shidos but he was biding his time. 

With a matter of seconds left on the clock, he picked up his opponent for the most colossal performance of the day and managed to land to score waza ari. It was a disaster for the Georgian who simply didn’t have the time to make up for it, but Sipocz’s abilities won out once again making him the three-time junior champion. 

It is an amazing feeling to take this title again, for me I made the ‘pressure’ a good opportunity. The Georgian athlete was very strong today, but the judo decided it, I think they expected him to win but I scored with the very last bit of strength I had. 

The standings finished with Russia in the lead followed by France and Georgia, but the slate will be cleaned for tomorrow as we go in to the mixed team event! 

-90kg Medallists 🥇 KHARAZISHVILI Nika 🇬🇪 🥈 RENES Tigo 🇳🇱 🥉 POLADISHVILI Tornike 🇬🇪 🥉 SAFRANY Peter 🇭🇺

-78kg Medallists 🥇 OLEK Anna Monta 🇩🇪 🥈 VAN HEEMST Yael 🇳🇱 🥉 DERKS Lieke 🇳🇱 🥉 IGL Raffaela 🇩🇪

-100kg Medallists 🥇 KANIKOVSKIY Matvey 🇷🇺 🥈 VEG Zsombor 🇭🇺 🥉 SULAMANIDZE Ilia 🇬🇪 🥉 JEDRZEJEWSKI Michal 🇵🇱

+78kg Medallists 🥇 FONTAINE Lea 🇫🇷 🥈 HAYME Coraline 🇫🇷 🥉 OZTURK Hilal 🇹🇷 🥉 KAMPS Marit 🇳🇱

+100kg Medallists 🥇 SIPOCZ Richard 🇭🇺 🥈 INANEISHVILI Saba 🇬🇪 🥉 KONE Losseni 🇩🇪 🥉 KORDYALIK Wojciech 🇵🇱


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European Junior Mixed Team Championships 2021

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Author: Thea Cowen