Ecuador provided the perfect setting for our junior athletes to take world titles and showcase what they have to offer, as well as their potential for the future.
This week, Prague welcomes the European junior athletes for the prime event of 2022, the Junior European Championships with the live draw going ahead today which can be viewed at eju.net from 16:00 local time.
As it turns out, we will have a whole new collection of European title holders this year as none of the 2021 gold medallists will be in attendance in Prague, however there are a number of finalists looking to secure the gold rather than silver.
For France, this is the case for Chloe DEVICTOR (-52kg) and Arnaud AREGBA (-81kg). Also looking to be crowned champion is Yael VAN HEEMST (NED). Usually we see the Dutch face common opponent Anna Monta OLEK (GER), but in her absence there is now another threat and it comes in the form of her team mate, Lieke DERKS. The junior world ranked #3, Derks, took bronze last year but has been topping the podiums in 2022, and also secured bronze in the world championships last month.
The 2021 junior world champion and silver medallist in Ecuador, SAFRANY Peter (HUN) missed out on doubling up glory in 2021 when he took bronze in the Junior European Championships in Luxembourg, but he is in with a solid chance to correct it.
This also goes for the current junior world silver medallist, Hilal OZTURK (TUR). A great final was seen in Ecuador but she was unable to best her Japanese opponent but she has the potential to win out here in Prague.
The home nation are sending a strong team, the highest ranked being Adam KOPECKY, in the -81kg category. He comes in as the number three seed. As a cadet he secured both the European and world title and hopes to repeat his successes as a junior athlete, last year it was a bronze and he matched that terrific result in this years worlds but at home, it is a different ball game.
Author: Thea Cowen