16 September 2023


Sarajevo European Open 2024


The first day at the European Open in Sarajevo could not have started better for the host of the 1984 Winter Olympics. In the hall of the “Hills” hotel, a real treat for the fans from Bosnia and Herzegovina who had the opportunity to cheer on Anđela SAMARDŽIĆ in the final of the -57kg category.

Samir AVDIĆ, Dr Branislav CRNOGORAC, Alexandr JATSKEVITCH, Ognjen PAVLOVIĆ © Tino Maric

However, before the final block began, a ceremonial opening was held, attended by Dr. Branislav CRNOGORAC – President of the Organizing Committee, Ognjen PAVLOVIĆ – President of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Judo Federation, Samir AVDIĆ – Deputy Mayor of the city of Sarajevo, and finally Alexandr JATSKEVITCH, Head Referee Director and member of the EJU board of directors who officially opened the competition.

U57kg FINAL – Anđela SAMARDŽIĆ (white) vs Lisa GRABNER (blue) © Tino Maric

The 23-year-old Samardžić met the Austrian Lisa GRABNER two years younger in the final fight. Great support for the local representative came from the stands, where there were not only fans but also her family. Samardžić went on the offensive from the very beginning of the fight and Grabner received the first penalty in the first minute. Until the end of the fight, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina increased the pace, and in the end, 25 seconds before the end of the regular part of the fight, Grabner received a third shido, which ended up being a gold medal for Anđela Samardžić.

First of all, the impressions are even better because it is in front of my audience. My heart was really full when I won the gold medal and I looked at the stands, above all my parents and sister and all those people who came to cheer. The day is quite difficult, especially mentally because I was the first seed and I can say that at least a medal was expected of me. In the end, I’m really satisfied, I finished three matches with maximum performance and I’m happy because of new points in the world ranking for the Olympic Games. I can’t say that I expected gold, but I secretly hoped, mostly because I was the first seed. However, as for the ippon in the semi-final after seven seconds, I entered the fight and just said do my judo and you know everything else. The family on the stand gave me extra security, there is my older sister Aleksandra who is also a judoka, I even looked at her during some breaks because she always gives me good advice. Mom and Dad were there, and that’s certainly an additional wind at the back.

Ana Viktorija PULJIZ from Croatia and the current winner of the bronze medal from the European Championship is certainly one of the names that was important to highlight today. The 21-year-old competitor from the city of Solin, as the first holder of the -52kg category, recorded a total of three victories today, including the final one against the Frenchwoman Leonie GONZALEZ, which she won by ippon in the second minute of the fight.

U52kg FINAL – Ana Viktorija PULJIZ (white) vs Leonie GONZALEZ (blue) © Tino Maric

I’m very happy, really, because somehow I needed this tournament to gain confidence. To come back, to start working on my fight again because I was doing poorly for a large part of the season after coming back from injury. The coach planned this before the Grand Slam in Azerbaijan to prepare a little and to free myself, thank God it worked. A very good day, three fights, I’m satisfied with how I got in, that first fight is the most important for me and I won in the semi-final against the Hungarian Gyertyas, who I lost to earlier this year at the Grand Prix in Austria after returning to the tatami.

In the -73kg category, the most famous name was the 36-year-old Frenchman Guillaume CHAINE, but today, not everything went as planned for him, he ended up in fifth place. The gold medal was won today in Sarajevo by 22-year-old Azerbaijani Nariman MIRZAYEV with a victory against Naim MATT (SUI).

The second day of the competition is scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, starting at 11:00 a.m. One of the returners on the tatami is the silver medal winner from the 2011 world championship in Paris, Srđan MRVALJEVIĆ, who then fought in the U81kg category, while tomorrow he will try out in the -90kg category.

Author: Mario Krvavac