While the senior French team are arriving in Doha for the world championships, their younger counterparts are setting up for a weekend of competition in Paris for the Junior European Cup 2023. The host team have an entry of 114, and relatively even with 58 men and 56 women in the line up.
There are plenty successful athletes from France, and one of the lightweight men already has some pretty esteemed results as a cadet. Yahn MOTOLY BONGAMBE delivered in 2022 by becoming both the Cadet World and European champion in the -50kg category, but now in the junior realms he will be in -60kg. This will in fact be his first attempt at this level and will soon find where he now lies in his new weight.
Another French athlete who has had more junior experience is Lea BERES in the -52kg category, already achieving continental championship medals at this level and even flirted with the IJF World Tour, securing a bronze medal in the Portugal Grand Prix last year. The 19 year-old managed a silver medal in this event last year and will be vying for gold this weekend.
Although the French team may be strong, Germany are sending the likes of the 2022 U23 European champion, Samira BOCK in the -70kg category and Spain has Eva PEREZ SOLER who has really transformed this year, taking the -48kg gold medal in the Rome European Open.
It will be a tough tournament, attracting teams from outside Europe including Japan, Brazil and Canada. The draw takes place today at 19:00 local time, follow both the draw and live action all weekend at live.ijf.org.
Author: Thea Cowen