Anyone who wins an under-23 European Championship title can count themselves lucky. If you then manage to defend your title the following year, you are on your way to becoming a top player yourself. No fewer than seven weight classes were contested on the first day of competition in Potsdam, including four women’s categories (-48, -52, -57, -63). Roza GYERTYAS (HUN/-52) has so far been the only defending champion in Potsdam to achieve this feat.
Her parents realised early on that Roza doesn’t like to show weakness. At the age of five she was beaten by a classmate. He was a judo beginner. Roza had no idea about martial arts at the time and got the short end of the stick. “I then begged my grandad to let me go to judo training too. Luckily, we had a dojo right in the neighbourhood…. A few months later, I returned the favour to the boy,” smiles the 21-year-old Hungarian.
Little Roza has since matured into a top athlete. “In Sarajevo last year, my Under-23 title surprised everyone, including myself. I didn’t have any pressure then. This time, it seemed like everyone expected me to win the gold medal – that put a lot of pressure on me. So it’s all the better that I still managed to win my second gold.”
She has been training with Tibor Szabó for three years. “Now our hard work is paying off more and more. It’s nice to see that I’m also competitive on a Seniors level.” The long-term goal has long been clear: “I want to be at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. That’s my ultimate goal.”
The first interim goal is already in sight on Sunday, when Roza and the Hungarian team will compete for a medal in the mixed team event. After Friday’s gold medal, the (personal) pressure of expectation is limited. “Everything that comes next is a bonus…” The favourites this time are others, such as defending champions Georgia, last year’s finalists and hosts Germany as well as Georgia.
Author: EJU Media