25 February 2024


Warsaw European Open 2024


The remaining weight categories of the Warsaw European Open on day two included; -70kg, -78kg, +78kg for women and -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg for men. 

Arguably the most anticipated contest of the day was the -100kg final, a rematch of the Gyor European Open with two top athletes, Laurin BOEHLER (AUT) and Simeon CATHARINA (NED). On the previous occasion, Boehler secured the win and made it a 3:1 record against his Dutch opponent. Today, the run of play suggested a repeat as Boehler steadily made his way through his half of the draw, whereas each contest was a tough battle for Catharina, yet when it came to the final, both seemed rather well matched.

Then a first shido was awarded to Catharina, Boehler began to take the lead on attacks and attempted transitions, narrowly missing out on a shime waza opportunity. The pair went in to golden score, two shidos now against Catharina’s name, and after an exchange as he went to the ground, Boehler capitalised on a stray arm to apply the juji gatame for yet another European Open gold, and now a 4:1 record.

Opening the final block on day two of the Warsaw European Open we had the -81kg men, and what a surprise of day! Both the finalists, Magerram IMAMVERDIEV (AZE) and Maxim TRIGUB (IRL) were unseeded and not picks of the day, but proved all wrong with incredible judo and a very intelligent approach on the tatami.

In the end, Imamverdiev was the victor, securing the win with a waza ari scored in the first half of the contest, countering an ashi waza attempt with his own, something he had been winning with throughout the day. It was a tremendous win for the young Azeri athlete who also took an U23 European medal last year, and although there was a final loss, this was a great win for Team Ireland and Trigub.

Today was a very hard day but I am very focused on this competition and training hard every day after a little injury and today I won the gold! 

My back was a little hurt but maybe tomorrow a little more! After the gold though my feeling is good, takes the pain away a bit! My opponent from Ireland is very strong, tactical and good seoi nage, but I had to rely on my tactics in that final and it worked for me. For me, my brain doesn’t do too much work when I fight, my body takes over and the ashi waza was just natural. 

Friederike STOLZE (GER) found success in Potsdam last year, taking an -70kg medal in the U23 European Championships and today she battled her way in to her first European Open final, defeating CZERLAU Jennifer (HUN) with uchi mata sukashi. Meeting Stolze for the golden challenge was Alina LANGWEILER (SUI), who defeated Kaila ISSOUFI (FRA). After attempting a soto maki komi, she came out but continued rotation to throw with sumi gaeshi, scoring in golden score. 

In the final, Langweiler was persistent with her soto maki komi and after a few attempts at countering from Stolze, she changed tactics and scored initially with ashi waza. With a waza ari on the board, Langweiler was forced to chase, but stuck with her forward throwing attempts, which unfortunately did not work to her advantage as Stolze eventually used her entry and threw with te waza, bringing Germany the gold medal.

I’m so happy, so much stress has left my body, really im so very happy. The final was really difficult because we know each other from other competitions and I know she is really strong in the grip fighting, because I knew this I had to make sure I was harder. This was the only thing in my brain, the techniques were more of an automatic movement. 

My preparation was okay, some little issues as always. I ws really hyped to fight today, last time I lost my second fight so I was really motivated. I came here as the eighth seed, I wanted a medal but I wasn’t thinking so much on the gold. 

Friederike STOLZE (GER) © Carlos Ferreira

NERPEL Gergely (HUN) had have another shot at the European Open gold, following a silver medal win in Gyor two weeks ago, but his journey to the final was not easy. In his semi final against Luka BABUTSIDZE (GEO), there were a few back and forth decisions, scores and shidos from one very complicated action. Eventually however, it was a head dive from the Georgian athlete that awarded Nerpel the win. On the other hand, Mario FALCONE (ITA) left no room for second guessing and devastated his opponent with a running o uchi gari for an ippon win on the other side of the draw. 

It was a hard slog as Nerpel and Falcone went head to head for the gold. A golden score contest ensued, both picking up only one shido in regulation time. After a couple of attempts from both, Falcone executed a very low uki goshi, scoring waza ari for his second continental open gold medal, the first he took at home in Rome last year. This of course meant that Nerpel settled for silver for a second time but can still celebrate that he was once again a finalist.

I feel very well, this my first comp after a long stop, last summer I had surgery on my shoulder. Its a new weight category and I feel very comfortable here, I feel like it suits my judo and my style better so of course I’m very happy. In my third contest, the quarter final, I felt something wasn’t quite right in my knee, and I just powered though and it was totally worth it! 

I try not to think so much about the time, I was focussed, but I also felt my knee so I just had to think to keep going. This is a restart for me, a new category after nine months, but this make me confident for the future and happy to be back. I have big goals and this is the first step back. 

Tiziano FALCONE (ITA) © Carlos Ferreira

There were multiple golden score situations already in the final block on day two, but putting a stop to that was Lyse VERMISSE of France, who managed to secure her gold medal in the -78kg category in only 20 seconds, a beautiful uchi mata scoring ippon against Vicky VERSCHAERE (BEL).

I’m so very very happy, it’s a big day for me and was very difficult. It was a surprise in the final, uchi mata is my technique, my specialty but for it to happen so fast, you saw my reaction I was just like wow. 

Coralie HAYME (FRA) came in as the number one seed of the +78kg category and swiftly defeated her teammate, Anne Fatoumata M BAIRO for the place in the final, and based on experience and results, the favour lay with Hayme. Contending with the top seed was Ukraine’s Khrystyna HOMAN, who did not put her opponent on any time of pedestal and instead dominated the contest from the very start, and in the end, it was a double sleeve seoi nage that transitioned immediately in to osae komi that brought about the surprise win for Homan.

There was yet another silver medallist from Gyor who was hoping to improve his result, and that was Movli BORCHASHVILI (AUT). Following the success of his team today, he started strong against Amadou MEITE (FRA) who really couldn’t find a way to deal with Borchashvili in the early moments of the contest and instead ceded two shidos. It was incredible how the Austrian judoka could not be held on the ground and escaped on multiple occasions, however he let it go one too many times and eventually Meite found his way to secure the osae komi, and forced a submission from Borchashvili.

It’s my first medal in the European Open and I’m happy, I was feeling very good today and strong. I had the goal to be in the final, it was a big and hard day but I was strong mentally and now I have the gold.

Amadou MEITE (FRA) © Thea Cowen

Author: Thea Cowen