10 March 2024


Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024


Canada hailed top spot on the overall medal table at the Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024. The team bagged a total of three gold, one silver and one bronze medals. The following nations took two victories each: Croatia, Poland, Slovenia and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Netherlands and the United States of America kept with single glories, respectively. The host nation ended the weekend with two silver and a bronze successes. All in all, 19 countries took at least one medal throughout the weekend which leaves us with an indication towards great development of judo across Europe as well as overseas.

Team Canada

The last national anthem of the day was indeed the Canadian hymn playing for the winner of the +100kg category, John Jr. MESSE A BESSONG as he excelled over Stefan KOVINIC (MNE) – and the home crowd – during the final contest. Add to that, Marie-Lune TURMEL took gold in the -48kg category defeating Maria Eleni GOGUA (GRE) in the final. The triple was created with yesterday’s winner of the -73kg category, Lasha TSATSALASHVILI. Team same team also competed last weekend in Sarajevo at the first edition of junior European cup 2024. There is a plan behind these trips and junior and U23 national coach assistant of the Canadian team, Sasha MEHMEDOVIC explains further; 

There is a selection criteria in place to identify who is allowed to come to these tournaments in Europe. Some are funded whilst others are self-funded. We need experience as we always behind, trying to catch up and obviously it is expensive to come and so when we come over to Europe we need to try and combine at least two events and a couple of training camps to make sure its worthwhile. Even if they don’t win matches, we want them to get a good experience and to improve, that’s the goal. 

It is all high performance orientated, we are trying to build something, we are in a position where we need world champions and Olympic medals. This has been going on for a while but there are more competitions and opportunities now and more structure and more funding around it too. This makes a big difference. 

I was following the standings and I knew we needed the last gold to finish on top. It is not always we finish on top so like you said we are definitely doing something right and we have some good athletes and claiming top spot on the medal table makes me super happy as a coach. 

The Greek Grandeur 

Another fascinating moment of today was watching the Greek team winning one medal after the other, bagging three hardware in one day. As mentioned Gogua picked up silver in the -48kg category, whilst Panagiotis KYVELIDIS (-90kg) and Ioannis KOSTELIDIS (+100kg) won bronze correspondingly. The latter demonstrated an astounding set of skills with optimistic attitude and constant pursue for a positive score. 

The Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024 has officially ended in many victories, not only for athletes and national federations but for the organisers too as they have excelled in delivering a fine weekend as their first step of returning to the EJU map. The next junior European cup will be held in Anadia, Portugal from 23-24 March 2024. 

Author: Szandra Szogedi