The Olympic festival is slowly coming to an end, and with that, the individual competition at the judo event also reached the finish line. 308 judokas from 43 different countries fought for the brightest medal, each of them for gold in their weight category. Today, gold medals were won by competitors from Austria, Azerbaijan, Great Britain and Türkiye. There was no shortage of attractive combats, everyone took the task seriously here in Slovenia, under the watchful eyes of Olympic Champions, Urška ŽOLNIR (London 2012) and Tina TRSTENJAK (Rio de Janeiro 2016).
There was no shortage of surprises during past days and today was no exception. British representative Julia MARCZAK was simply unstoppable today in the -70kg category. Four fights, four ippons. With only 44 seconds into the final contest, she defeated the Ukrainian Anna OLIINYK-KORNIIKO by a brilliant Ko-Uchi-Gari at which point, the celebration could begin.
I feel amazing, I feel like all the hard work paid off, ever since the European Championships I haven’t had a day off, everyday training camp, every day training. I feel very proud of myself, I beat two people that previously I lost to, so I’m very happy with the result. I came here to win, there was no other reason to come here. I believed that I can beat anybody and with the help of my brother, my coaches, my family, all my friends here supporting me, we made it happen. I love the spirit of the European Youth Olympic Festival, great atmosphere, all the cheering all the fans are just great!
In the morning program of the competition, Marczak won against Julia SZYMANIAK (POL), Nina MUTEBA (FRA) and Nadia JAAFAR (BUL).
If we say that the final of the -90kg category was the most attractive fight of the tournament, probably no one will protest. It was the meeting of the titans. Both, Saba GVELESIANI (GEO) and Aslan KOTSOEV (AZE), made their way to the final with absolute dominance where the Azerbaijani continued with the same rhythm against his Georgian opponent. The final was rather eventful with all sorts. First, Kotsoev took the lead, then Gvelesiani equalized. Not long after that, the Azerbaijani secured an osae-komi but not well enough, and the Georgian runs away from him. Half a minute before the end of the fight, Kotsoev looks much better, receives his dominant guard and throws Uchi-Mato and adds another Waza-ari to his name on the scoreboard.
I’m feeling great, feeling is amazing. I’ve had only one goal when I was coming here and that was to step on the top of the podium with gold medal. It’s special feeling to win gold at the EYOF, we all feel here like it’s Olympic Games, nice venue, nice fans, spending time with other nations and sports in the village. Specially I would like to thank my team for support, all coaches in Azerbaijan team, Azerbaijan Judo Federation and Azerbaijan Olympic Committee.
Until the final, Kotsoev won all of his victories by ippon, defeating Blin KUKA (KOS), Nikita AFANASJEVS (LAT) and Croatian Marko BOŽIĆ step by step, round by round.
Top ranked of the +78kg category, Helene SCHRATTENHOLZER (AUT), confirmed why she is number one. In the fight for the gold medal, the Austrian overcome Emma-Melis AKTAS (EST). During the second half of the contest she countered the Estonian and managed to further into transition to secure an Osae-Komi, which she held for the next 20 seconds.
In addition to the final fight, SCHRATTENHOLZER registered three more victories. She bested Dario DOLIA (UKR), Nino FILKOROVA (SVK) and Quessia DIANKOLELA-BINIAKOUNOU (FRA).
The last men’s category, also the last category of the individual competition was the men’s over 90kg, in which, Ibrahim TATAROGLU (TUR) celebrated. He faced Ramazan AHMADOV (AZE) in the final, who opened the contest with a slightly more active approach, when Tataroglu collected a shido. Maybe it was a wake-up call for Tataroglu, as he changed the pace completely and in the second minute he delivered attack after attack to then finally land his opponent into ne-waza, where he claimed victory with a well-times shime-waza.
En route to glory, Tataroglu defeated Martin SEDLAK (CZE), David TUGUI (ROU) and Shotiko GOCHIASHVILI (GEO).
Author: Mario Krvavac