Over 400 judoka from 33 nations will be competing at the Audi Arena across the two-day event at the European Judo Open in Gyor, Hungary. Normally, we speak about seedings when releasing previews of an event. For this event, we can defer from that and look at potential favourites of the overall list in each weight category as the weekend will give a platform to athletes from all generations.
The host nation certainly will have plenty to show starting with FECZKO Csanad in the -60kg category. He will have a few hurdles to tackle out of the 38 sum, yet some of his finest opponents will be former junior world medallist, Sherzod DAVLATOV (KAZ) and 2023 Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist, Theo RAOUL HEBRARD (FRA). A double Turkmenistan line up will seek to trouble some strong Brits in the -66kg. Many will try but might be testing to overcome 2023 Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist, Hekim AGAMAMMEDOV (TKM).
A weight up, -73kg favourite, SZEGEDI Daniel (HUN) is known for his robust approach with impeccable force. Add the home crowd in the mix and we should see him soaring. The British medal tally will likely increase in the -81kg category as 2023 Perth Oceanian Open bronze medallist, Lachlan MOORHEAD is way ahead of the crowd, at least on paper. The -90kg category will bring more questions around the final line up with list leader, 2022 Portugal Grand Prix winner, Jesper SMINK (NED). Following closely 2023 Portugal Grand Prix bronze medallist and World University Games winner, GOZ Roland (HUN). The list continues with 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist, Artem BUBYR (UKR), 2024 Portugal Grand Prix bronze medallist, Mark VAN DIJK (NED) and U23 European Championships 2023 bronze medallist, NERPEL Gergely (HUN).
The -100kg will allow Austria to step into the mix with Laurin BOEHLER whilst the Dutch will have yet another challenge to bring onboard with 2023 Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist, Simeon CATHARINA. 2022 junior world champion, Kenny LIVEZE will bring the young spirit of France whilst teammate Cedric OLIVAR will convey with experience. In the heavy weight, without a doubt, all eyes would have been on SIPOCZ Richard of Hungary, however, he will not be competing. Instead, it most likely will become a Dutch – German affair. Jur SPIJKERS will carry the Dutch hope whilst double act Johannes FREY and Jonas SCHREIBER will dominate for Germany.
Belgium has a strong line up of judoka in the -48kg category starting with Ellen SALENS, Lois PETIT and Jente VERSTRAETEN. Amber GERSJES (NED) will have to overcome one of them, if not more, however the ultimate test will come from Columbia’s top, Erika LASSO. The -52kg category will showcase some young talents, as young as cadets. Luciana CATANA (ROU) finished 5th place at the junior worlds last year [still as a cadet]. She will have Montreal Pan American Open 2023 gold medallist, Evelyn BEATON (CAN) to meet for a semi-final, should both pull through. Home hopes will lay in the hands of KELLER Rebeka (HUN).
Turkmenistan brings on medal chances in the -57kg category too via Maysa PARDAYEVA. The 18-year-old finished with a bronze from the 2023 Asian Games. 2023 Sarajevo European Open winner, Andjela SAMARDZIC (BIH) is not new to the block and will confidently take on all the challenges the weekend has to offer. Both 2023 World University Games bronze medallist, Martha FAWAZ (FRA) and U23 European bronze medallist, Lisa GRABNER will seek to clamp a podium spot too. German duet, regular European Open medallists, Nadja BAZYNSKI and Vivian HERRMANN will both challenge the -63kg category. Overseas trouble can come from either Zulhumar DASHKINOVA (TKM) or Isabelle HARRIS (CAN). Yuliia HREBENOZHKO (UKR) also knows her way around these events.
2023 junior European and world bronze medallist, Elena DENGG (AUT) will bring her young and talented spirit to the field of play in the -70kg category. Alina LENGWEILER (SUI) won two European Open medals in 2023, surely will be looking to top up her collection. Still in the -70kg, Kaila ISSOUFI (FRA), Samira BOCK (GER), Margit DE VOOGD (NED) and former -63kg topper Sanne VERMEER (NED) are all with the chance to claim victory. Linda POLITI (ITA), Yael VAN HEEMST (NED) and Raffaela IGL (GER) are the top picks of the -78kg category. Croatia will join the line-up for gold medal collections in the +78kg category with Helena VUKOVIC, who, on paper, should be unstoppable.
Author: Szandra Szogedi