It is the eve of the Teplice Cadet European Cup and with an astronomical entry of almost 1000, there is an especially exciting buzz surrounding the event. Thankfully for the hosts, Czech Republic, this is a six-mat event, ensuring smooth and efficient running for our future superstars.
There will be athletes from 39 nations and four continents all battling, and as a result of the numbers, will likely have many contests on the road to gold, making success that little bit sweeter. Among the vast entry are four world number ones, all from the European Judo Union.
Dusan GRAHOVAC (SRB/-81kg), Nikita YUDANOV (UKR/-90kg), Abil YUSUBOV (AZE/-66kg) and Sinem ORUC (TUR/-63kg).
The latter of the athletes, Oruc, surprised her team mates and her opponents alike when she came out blazing in 2022 to become the Cadet European Champion, and then again at the World Championships she confirmed it wasn’t just a lucky day. This weekend will be her first time back in competition since her world title achievement in August and we are certainly looking forward to seeing her back on the tatami.
From the host nation, there are 56 athletes representing, and the top ranked of them all is -70kg Stepanka HOJDAROVA. Though she has a collection of medals, and two finals at cadet level, she is striving for the gold and maybe will have that extra push with the support of a home crowd. Her last performance saw her in the final block in yet another highly populated tournament in Zagreb but narrowly missed the podium.
Join us on Friday 7th of April for the streamed draw on live.ijf.org as well as full coverage during the two day event on the 8th and 9th. Best of luck to all athletes!
Author: Thea Cowen