19 June 2024


European Judo Championships Cadets Sofia 2024


From the 27th until the 30th of June, we will see six Cadet European Champions returning to the major stage, looking to add to their 2023 titles in the Asics Arena in Sofia, Bulgaria. In only one week we will commence with the draw, deciding the fate of the rising stars, and those who have already found glory at this level, and will be challenged to continue a successful streak.

The returning title holders include; Patricia TOMANKOVA (SVK) who took the -40kg gold medal last year, but will be competing in the -44kg category in 2024 as she starts to make her way in to the upper age bands and of course the eventual -48kg weight. Tomankova can also boast a World title as a cadet and has become a name that many recognise.

Vusala HAJIYEVA (AZE) became the victor of the -48kg category in Odivelas in 2023, and then went on to take the European Youth Olympic Festival gold as well, though in the next week we will see her compete at -52kg. Sinem ORUC (TUR) has managed to defend her -63kg title since 2022 and looks to make it a hat-trick, and like Tomankova, added a World title to her collection in the 2022 Sarajevo Cadet World edition. Oruc will be joined by successful -70kg Cadet European Champion and team mate, Tuana GULENAY. Though the -70kg athlete missed out on the World gold, she wasn’t far off, taking the silver medal behind eventual champion, Aleksandra ANDRIC (SRB) who will also be competing in Sofia.

The +70kg Cadet European Champion, Leonie MINKADA-CAQUINEAU (FRA) has been on a winning streak since her title win, and even bet on herself at junior level, securing a bronze in the Malaga Junior European Cup last month. As for the young men’s categories, only Nikita YUDANOV will be a returning champion, albeit in the -90kg category, and on this occasion he will be competing in the +90kg open weight. Following Yudanov’s European win, he doubled up with a World gold in Zagreb, and even went as far as making it to the U23 European Championship final, losing out to SAFRANY Peter (HUN). A new category awaits him now and he will need to contend with some of the super heavy weights as he navigates his way to the junior level and the -100kg category.

European Judo Union President, Dr TOTH Laszlo is looking forward to another great prime event in the EJU calendar,

With great excitement and anticipation, I extend a heartfelt welcome to all of you as we gather in Sofia, Bulgaria, once again after 9 years for the Cadet European Judo Championships and 2 years after a very successful Senior European Championships.

Judokas, as you step onto the tatami, know that the journey to this continental tournament, representing your nation at such a young age, is an achievement worthy of admiration and recognition in and of itself. The cadet age group serves as a pivotal juncture in the judo journey. It’s a period of growth, both as athletes and as individuals, laying the groundwork for future successes on and off the mat.

EJU President Dr TOTH Laszlo, awarding the 2023 Cadet European Championships Mixed Team Event trophies. © Gabi Juan

Let me convey my sincere appreciation to the experienced and trusted host, the Bulgarian Judo Federation, for its great organisation and support throughout the preparation of this event.


Author: Thea Cowen