The Latvian Judo Federation put themselves on the organisation map when we were slowly coming out of the pandemic break, they were the first to welcome the cadets back for their prime event of European Championships. Prior to this, we had some Improve Your Club seminars, but this was to be the first on the sports calendar.
One year on and we are delighted that judoka are able to travel to the capital of Latvia, Riga, to take part in their first ever Senior European Cup. Undoubtedly, the Latvian Federation President, Vsevolods ZELONIJS is also excited to open the doors for future events on the various EJU circuits and was also in Slovakia last week to support his athletes during the European Youth Olympic Festival.
This year, for the first time, Latvian Judo federation is hosting Riga Senior European cup 2022, which is the part of the European Tour. This is very significant moment for us, as we would like that Riga will become the host city for large judo events in the future. We started our way last year, when we hosted European Cadets Judo Championships. We did it on the high level and it increased popularity of judo not only in Latvia, but also in Baltic region. In October we are going to host Riga Cadets European cup 2022 and it will be a great pleasure for us to welcome athletes from all over the world.
The host country has a strong entry with 29 athletes, and is only rivalled by Israel with 24 and Ukraine with 20. Looking at the line up we can really look forward to some great competition as Riga welcomes the double senior world champion, Daria BILODID. It is hard to believe she is only 21 years old given her sensational list of achievements but she has been on the road to discovery as she transitioned not only to one weight class above, but two.
One of the stars of the Latvian team is Matiss ZEILA in the -81kg category. After a stellar performance only last week in Slovakia, he took a bronze medal in the European Youth Olympic Festival and demonstrated his bright future. There looks to be quite a few underdogs in this entry with a lack of senior ranking, however their achievements at cadet and junior level mean that they are a great threat.
The draw will place on Friday 5th of August at 20:00 local time, with both competition days (6th and 7th) set to begin at 09:00, the live streaming will be available on the EJU website.
Author: Thea Cowen