30 June 2024


European Judo Championships Cadets Sofia 2024


During the individual competition, either the French or Turkish team performed quite as well as they have have predicted, but this is judo and anything can happen. That being said, this certainly motivated some of the individuals who missed out on medals.

The first semi final was between Team France and Team Georgia.

Emma BENGHEZAL (FRA) was first to put a point on the board, defeating Mariam NATELAURI (GEO) with shime waza in the -63kg category. In the men’s -81kg weight, Saba SONGULASHVILI (GEO) managed to steal it back and level the playing field with a drop morote seoi nage against David IURCOVSCHI. Unfortunately for Team Georgia, this would be their one and only win in this semi final.

The 2023 Cadet European Champion and 2024 silver medallist, Leonie MINKADA-CAQUINEAU (FRA) secured the second point, scoring with uchi mata and transitioning immediately in to osae komi in the +63kg contest. Punching the ticket for France in the +81kg category was Kevin NZUZI DIASIVI (FRA), though he struggled against Nodar KOBALADZE (GEO), he had the upper hand in contest management, forcing three shidos on Koboladze, the final shido was given for a leg grabbing infringement.

Team France © Kostadin Andonov

There looked like there could be a comeback for Georgia, as Mariami TUMANISHVILI was initially given a waza ari score, through regrettably waved off. Lalla-Dounia LAHRIFI (FRA) was not about to give up the final place for France, but it wasn’t easy, the pair headed in to golden score and in the end, it was a drop seoi nage win.

With France’s position secure, it was time for Türkiye to take on the Netherlands.

Up first in the -63kg category was the two-time Cadet European Champion and 2022 World Champion, Sinem ORUC (TUR). After missing out on a medal this week, she had extra fuel and motivation, and defeated Kaya PANNEGIETER (NED) with sumi gaeshi. Omer Faruk TURGUTLU (TUR) felt the energy and started quickly, scoring with uchi mata and then sumi gaeshi for the -81kg win against Midas VAN HUIJSTEE (NED).

Team Türkiye © Kostadin Andonov

There were also high expectations for the 2023 Cadet European Champion and World silver medallist, Tuana GULENAY (TUR), but she narrowly missed out on her -70kg bronze, settling for a fifth place. Like Oruc, she went to work fast, an o uchi gari scored waza ari, and then she sealed the deal with a deep ko uchi against Xanne VAN LIJF. Only one more win would have given Türkiye a clean sweep but Dwayne KOREVAAR (NED) stole the win in the +81kg category, defeating Mahmutcan MADEN with a drop seoi nage.

The Dutch team continued in this spirit, and in the -48kg category, Indy PANNEGEITER (NED) worked tirelessly against Elif KILIC, eventually finding her way in in ne waza and secured the osae komi, with the help of her cheering delegation, she counted down the seconds for the win. Pressure was now on Bo SUSEBEEK (NED) to create a draw situation, but the desperation was stronger from Ramazan KIBAROGLU who stretched across for ashi guruma, scoring the ippon to put Türkiye in to the final against France.

Ramazan KIBAROGLU (TUR) © Kostadin Andonov

The Netherlands will now compete against Germany for the first bronze, and Georgia will face the most successful team of the individual tournament, Poland.

Author: Thea Cowen