26 April 2024


European Judo Championships Seniors Zagreb 2024


Day one of the European Judo Championships Seniors Zagreb 2024 delivered a historical moment when Sofia Asvesta reached the final block becoming the first ever Cypriot judoka to fight for a medal at such an event. Despite not taking a medal home, Asvesta is satisfied with her remarkable performance. 

From my first round fight I felt mentally and physically comfortable and I was ready for the next rounds like I was on my routine training. 

It took hard work and a lot of effort to get to this point. What else? 

I would like to say big thanks to EJU’s program for young kids which is going on at the same time as this championships. This program gave the opportunity for young Cypriot judoka to be in tribune and watch us which gave me big support to go forward each round. 

A day filled with development, satisfaction and a happy 5th place, right? 

I am very happy to introduce my small country in a so high level but behind this result it were hard work and passion for judo. I am really proud of my 5th place. The loss of the bronze is not the end of the world, it’s the start to correct my mistakes with my coaches and train harder. Sure, it would have been even better if I was on podium. My performance yesterday gave me big confidence like I never had before to continue my road to my dream. 

Asvesta had a total of five contests in Zagreb, two of which were more significant, ending with a win and a loss. The quarter final brought on a long bout against double Olympic medallist, Odette Giuffrida (ITA) moving into golden score, finishing with a defeat via the maximum of three penalties. Thoughts? 

She is very experienced athlete and I fought her before, so I understood my mistakes I need to work on more.  

Subsequently for the repechage contest 10-times IJF World Tour medallist, Astride Gneto (FRA) was ready to take on the Cypriot judoka. Was she thought? 

It was my first fight with Gneto ever. I have never even met her in training camps so I was very excited how the fight would be. My coach gave me some advice and I had them in my head. It was really difficult in the beginning, so I took 2 shido but I didn’t give up and managed it.

For bronze, Asvesta faced Ariane Toro Soler (ESP) and despite the loss, as mentioned before, a confident booster 5th place with a historical moment was carried out at the Zagreb Arena. Asvesta’s next event will be the Dushanbe Grand Slam 2024 where she will be competing exactly a week from today.  

Author: Szandra Szogedi