Every step along the way counts, and Italy’s Odette Giuffrida is making all the right steps at the moment. Her goal is quite clearly to qualify for the Olympic games in Rio in 2016. Along the way there will undoubtedly be a variety of milestones to indicate her development and these European Championships for Junior’s demonstrated that the 19 year old Italian has the beating of her peers at this level. Retaining titles is something that Giuffrida has done before (she won the European Championships for Cadet’s in 2009 and 2010) and with the junior world championships coming up in a couple of months Giuffrida will be grateful for what will be seen by many as perfect preparation. In response to a question regarding the importance of this title Giuffrida said “Of course it was important for me to retain my title. But I had decided when I woke in the morning that I wanted to win doing good judo. It was not at all easy and I want to thank my family and friends for all their support”. One of the things that may have pleased Giuffrida most was her win in the final against the fast emerging Astride Gneto FRA. The pair had never fought before but Giuffrida came out winner against her younger opponent. “I hope very much to produce the kind of strong performances that I am known for in junior’s at senior level one day and be one of the best” said Giuffrida. There were gold medal winning performances to from Giuffrida’s team mate Angelo Pantano ITA in the -55kg category, as well as an impressive performance from Francisco Garrigos ESP in the -60kg category. The other gold medalists were Baruch Shmailov ISR -66kg, Benjamin Axus FRA -73kg, and for the women Borislava Damyanova BUL -44kg who retained her title, Dilar Lokmanhekin TUR -48kg, and Anna Borowska POL -57kg category.
Day two action begins at 09:30 with live coverage on: http://www.eju.net/calendar/?mode=showLiveTransmission&id=1843
Watch all the photos from day one: http://www.eju.net/media/?mode=showEvent&id=1843
All results: http://www.ippon.org/ec_jun2014.php