24 February 2024


Warsaw European Open 2024


Opening the final block of the Warsaw European Open 2024 were the -48kg category women. It was a hard fought final between Anais PERROT (FRA) and Giulia GHIGLIONE (ITA), remaining even until the final seconds. After taking the silver medal in Gyor two weeks ago, Perrot was not willing to settle again and following a seoi nage attempt, she came out and went straight back to attack with a ko uchi maki komi, scoring waza ari. This was enough to bring her a well deserved gold medal in the lightweight women’s category. The US Orleans Loriet Judo competitor was very pleased with her medal ahead of her voyage to the Upper Austria Grand Prix,

This is my first gold medal so I’m so so happy, it took a lot of time, work, tears but wow I’m so happy with this. I was in such a bad mood after Gyor, I wanted the gold medal so badly, that when I left with silver, it made me want this even more today.

My weight is so strong, we have a good federation, we have so many -48kg athletes, and because of this we are always pushing each other up and this is always the case.

Anais PERROT (FRA) © Carlos Ferreira

France could already celebrate another gold medal in the -60kg category, guaranteed by either Enzo JEAN or Maxime MERLIN. Jean immediately came out as the aggressor, startling his opponent in the opening seconds, but with some encouragement from his coach, Merlin was able to get himself back in the game. With just over half of the contest gone, this domestic became somewhat heated, both happy to bring the fight to this final, and the pair went full time with no shidos and no score, leading in to golden score. Eventually it was a ko uchi gake that brought Jean the winning score.

This is the first time we have competed, not even at home, he is a little older than me. I prepared with my father and I knew that I didn’t have a coach in my chair so I had to be strong in my mind. My opponent has a very good coach so I knew I needed to be very strong. I was really proud to score in golden score because this is really not easy for me, I put all of my energy in to the fight so I was tired but it’s okay, two golden scores, semi and final, I’m happy. For me, this competition was really important, just for myself, because I lost in the French Championships so it was important to win an international competition.

Enzo JEAN (FRA) © Carlos Ferreira

Yet another domestic approached in the -52kg category with an all-italian bout between Martina CASTAGNOLA and Kenya PERNA, and unlike the previous final, this was over in the blink of an eye, or 17 seconds to be exact. Immediately Perna took the cross grip over the back and hooked in and driving with o uchi gari, then realising it was too stationary, Perna changed direction and threw with a huge sumi gaeshi. This is Perna’s first continental open gold medal and was celebrated with coach, Antonio CIANO.

I’m really happy, today I was on good form and all of this, thanks for god, without him I wouldn’t have arrived here. This was a tactical plan in the final, we know each other very well and have both won against each other.

Kenya PERNA (ITA) © Carlos Ferreira

Serdar RAHIMOV (TKM) and Mykyta HOLOBORODKO (UKR) in the -66kg category had both demonstrated ballistic judo throughout the day, entertaining the crowd in the COS Torwar Arena, and so were wary of each other going in to the final. Once the niceties were over, there were huge attempts and even more cat-like escapes, leading in to golden score. In those seconds going in to extra time, Rahimov simple lost concentration and was unable to defend against Holoborodko, who took advantage and went straight to the ground to secure the osae komi for his gold medal. This is Holoborodko’s third gold at a continental open, adding to his achievements in Tallinn and Sofia last year.

I had a really good feeling today, maybe a little lucky in the first round! [he laughs] but this is my third gold in Europeans opens, never another medal so it’s just amazing. Young of Great Britain, I lost to him in Czech Republic for the bronze, so winning this one was important to me and it felt good. Also, my whole team is here, there are lots here to support me.

Mykyta HOLOBORODKO (UKR) © Carlos Ferreira

Maysa PARDAYEVA (TKM) was the only number one seed to make it in to the final of her category, the -57kg, where she met Marta GARCIA MARTIN (ESP). It was a tough back and forth, but early on Garcia was chasing after Pardayeva put the first score on the board with a drop morote seoi nage. Unfortunately Garcia was unable to bring herself back before a second score was achieved by Pardayeva with uchi mata sukashi.

In the opening exchange between Samuel GASSNER (AUT) and Manuel PARLATI (ITA), the latter committed with drop seoi nage which was so dynamic it was originally awarded ippon, however after a replay, waza ari as decided. Shortly after, Gassner scored with sumi gaeshi, levelling the playing field. Still with over two minutes left on the clock, the pair continued their dance, but Gassner executed yet another waza ari-scoring sumi gaeshi to bring Austria their first gold.

This win really means a lot to me, my last international medal was as a junior in 2021 and since then I lost a lot of competitions, my mentality was really bad, I didn’t believe in myself and so this means so much. In training I feel strong and also my coaches believe in me and tell me over and over I can do it. In the past I made too many mistakes, but today I feel like my tactics were good, I was going left and right, it was a great day.

Samuel GASSNER (AUT) © Carlos Ferreira

Gassner will now go on to compete in the Upper Austria Grand Prix on home turf between the 8th and 10th of March.

Wrapping up the first day of the European Open here were the -63kg women, Viktoria FOLGER (GER) and Nadiah KRACHTEN (NED). This truly was a battle of wits and was won by Krachten based on this. Following the win, the Dutch athlete was delighted to be victorious,

Taking gold today means a lot, I have really worked hard the past few months and now that I have the gold, it’s amazing. All my fights were good but my second contest was really tough, against the French, we were in golden score for so long it was incredible! After that I thought I just can’t lose!


Author: Thea Cowen