27 April 2024


European Judo Championships Seniors Zagreb 2024


There are names and faces we regularly see on the podium of the IJF World Tour, so it is hard to imagine that they have never succeeded on the Continental Championships stage. However this has been the case for two finalists on Friday; Elisavet TELTSIDOU (GRE) and Frank DE WIT (NED). Both managed success as junior athletes, a title for De Wit in 2015 and silver for Teltsidou in the same year, and now the pair have risen to the top as seniors.

For Greece’s world ranked #3 in the -70kg category, Teltsidou has battled for a long time to earn her stripes and find success in this category, her first senior European Championships was nine years ago, and only last year she managed to make it in to a medal contest, but narrowly lost out to Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED). Today however, she was unstoppable and then gifted a pass in her semi final round due to an injury of her opponent, Miriam BUTKEREIT (GER). Guaranteed a medal, this is a huge accomplishment for Teltsidou and of course the Greek delegation.

I aim happy that it is my first senior medal, I am so proud to put the medal in my collection, I trained so hard for it. I’d also like to thank the Kosovo team as I’ve been training with them a lot, thanks to Toni Kuka. It’s a special day, it’s the birthday of my brother and my coach so I’m glad I could win this today. I felt well prepared, usually I feel quite anxious in big events but now that I’ve taken a medal, I feel much better.

-70kg finalists 2024; Barbara MATIC (CRO) and Elisavet TELTSIDOU (GRE) © Carlos Ferreira

Not having so many attempts, but De Wit still competed seven times at senior level on seven occasions prior to today, earning three bittersweet fifth places in 2016, 2017 and 2020. After a smooth day, he finally defeated the defending European Champion, Vedat ALBAYRAK (TUR) to take on defending World Champion, Tato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) int he -81kg final.

You always want to win the final but I’m really happy with the silver medal, it took a while but here we are. Eight times at senior level with three fifth places so I was really ready for this medal. I was focussed but he [Grigalashvili] caught me in a great moment and that’s judo, now we are just looking for a plan to beat him on the next occasion, maybe we can surprise him! I am 28 now, and this was always a dream, I was always wondering if it would happen, to take this European medal so it really is a dream come true.

-81kg finalists 2024; Frank DE WIT (NED) and TATO GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) © Gabi Juan


Author: Thea Cowen