12 July 2023


Graz Junior European Cup 2023


“We are ready,” says ÖJV General Secretary Corina Korner. “The only thing that puzzles me is who will lay the mats in the hall on Thursday. 1,500 square metres have to be equipped. I’m still missing helping hands, most of the 70 volunteers will only be available at the weekend.” Those who help will be treated to a free pizza as a thank you, they say. Corina Korner doesn’t want to confirm this officially yet, just smiles. “We will find a solution!”
700 people – first and foremost 453 athletes from 28 nations- are expected in Graz next weekend (15/16 July) as part of the Junior Judo European Cup. Israel’s 40-strong contingent was the first delegation to arrive in the Styrian capital on Wednesday, with the majority arriving the following day. As in the previous year, Graz, or more precisely the Raiffeisen Sportpark, can look forward to a record number of participants. No other of the eleven EJU junior tournaments so far has had such a large number of participants. The quality of the starting field is also record-breaking. No less than 10 Junior European Championship medallists (including three title holders with Merve AZAK/TUR/-48, Julie BEURSKENS/NED/-57 and Shalva GURESHIDZE/GEO/+100) are announced, furthermore with Samira BOCK/GER/-70 also a reigning Under-23 European Champion (and bronze medallist at the Junior World Championships).

The sporting hopes of the hosts, who will be competing with a total of 41 athletes, rest to a large extent on local hero Marcus AUER (-60). The top seed from Graz is completing a training camp with the Austrian national team (general class) in Linz until Thursday. Last year he finished third at his home tournament in Graz. This year he wants a home victory. “I have already won two Junior European Cups this year. Of course, the goal in Graz is also to win gold. But the highlights like the European Championships in The Hague (beginning of September) or the World Championships in Coimbra in October clearly have priority. I am still missing a European and World Championship medal at junior level,” says the 20-year-old. Nina, his four years younger sister, has won two European medals in the cadet category (-40 kg). She will be keeping her fingers crossed for her brother on Saturday, as will dad Thomas and mum Claudia. “Since I have been training and living in Linz, my days at home in Graz are rare. So it’s great to see each other again at the European Cup,” Marcus smiles.

ÖJV sports director Markus Moser does not even try to dampen expectations: “Last year we had two third and two seventh places. This year we want a title or in other words: We want to be able to enjoy the Austrian national anthem once.” No less a person than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is said to have had a helping hand in the (anthem) music. The text begins with the words “Land of the mountains, land on the river…”
Head coach Yvonne Snir-Bönisch is confident that her protégé is capable of winning at home: “Marcus has developed a lot over the last year. He has matured technically and tactically and has learned to keep his concentration throughout the fight. We are counting on him to win many more medals in the next few years, also on seniors level.”
The Auer family would be delighted about a home-win on Saturday.

More facts about the Junior European Cup in Graz:


Author: EJU Media