9 March 2024


Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024


During day one of the Podgorica Junior European Judo Cup 2024 we have witnessed an even field with 15 countries taking a medal a piece, at least. Croatia collected the most, finishing on top of the medal table with a sum of two gold, one silver and one bronze medals. Serbia followed with a single gold and bronze figures. Canada, Slovenia, the United States of America, and the Netherlands took a single victory, each. The host nation also hopped on the medal wagon and kept two medals on home grounds, a silver, and a bronze. 

The host nation

Staying on the topic of the locals, Andrijana SUTOVIC (MNE) excelled for bronze in the -70kg category, winning her first contest against Una MICIC (BIH) before taking a defeat from Holly DEVALL (GBR) during the quarter final stage. Sutovic bounced back via the repechage when she outclassed Magda GLUBIAK (POL). For the third place, she overcome Alexandra PAPAGIANNAKI (GRE) via an ippon score within the first minute of the medal bout. The hope for gold was still standing until the last contest of the day as last week’s junior European cup silver medallists, Jovana MRVALJEVIC (MNE) booked herself a spot in the final of the +78kg category. Facing her was Tara JANJIC (SLO) who took a downfall from the Montenegrin judoka during the preliminaries. One might wonder how? Due to the number of entries in this weight class, a round-robin system took place where Mrvaljevic proven to be the better of the two. Not in the final, thought. It was a different Mrvaljevic on the mat, whether due to the potential home pressure or a long day in the office, she managed this contests differently. This allowed Janjic to surpass and claim gold for Slovenia. Evidently, second silver snaring for Mrvaljevic within two weeks. 

Single hits

Some of the nations are represented with a single entry this weekend. Today we first saw Nancy NGUYEN (USA) supplying well-structured technical and tactical skills, allowing her to take victory in the -70kg category. Jochem VAN HARTEN (NED) fancied delivering a glorious solo medal for his country too as he presented himself being unstoppable in the -66kg category, spending less than a full contest time as his overall fight time. Finland’s single entry was Emma KRAPU who took bronze in the -78kg category with Dmitrii EFIMENKO replicating the same scenario in the -60kg category under the Individual Neutral Athletes. 

The fact that more than half of the representing countries were able to take a medal during the first day of the Podgorica Junior European Judo Cup 2024 speaks volume and indicates that the L.A. wave is looking good. 

Opening Ceremony 

The Opening Ceremony took place prior to the final block where the President of the Montenegrin Judo Federation, Mr Jovica RECEVIC addressed the crowd first;

Dear Secretary General of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, Mr. Igor Vušurović, respected representative of the European Judo Union, Mrs Catarina Rodrigues, representatives of national judo federations, coaches, athletes, dear guests and sponsors. 

It is my pleasure to greet you on behalf of the judo federation of Montenegro, express gratitude for your presence, and wish you success during the competition in Podgorica. We are delighted to host this competition, featuring 28 countries and 207 athletes. Our federations aspire to secure its place on the European judo map and this weekend is the first significant competition we are organising. This is just the beginning. 

We are grateful for the trust bestowed upon us by the European Judo Union. We hope you enjoy your stay and depart from Montenegro with beautiful memories. We extend a special thanks to President of EJU, Dr TOTH Laszlo. Wishing you a successful final block. Thank you. 

The Secretary General of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, Mr. Igor VUŠUROVIĆ was up next; 

On behalf of the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, I welcome you all in Montenegro. First of all, I would like to thank the European Judo Union and the national judo federation Montenegro for this beautiful sport event. I wish all of you successful medal matches, and I am sure that if not this year but at the following summer games we will see many of you competing. Thank you once again, enjoy your time in Montenegro. 

EJU Head Sport Commissioner, Mrs Catarina RODRIGUES concluded; 

Dear Mr President of the judo federation of Montenegro, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee, judo family, ladies and gentlemen, 

On behalf of EJU President Dr TOTH Laszlo, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to Podgorica for the first ever junior European cup in Montenegro. At EJU, we are always honoured to receive new organizers for our tours. This year, Montenegro will host not only a junior cup but also a senior cup later in September. Both events are important steps on a path that both the Montenegrin Judo Federation and EJU are making together, side by side. 

Hosting this event at a high level is a very good example of the committed professionalism displayed by the federation. I then take this opportunity to congratulate all the local organising team for a good organisation and positive attitude. I would like to thank the Sport Minister of Montenegro for the support given to judo and all dedicated sponsors for investing in our sport and our events. 

I wish all coaches, athletes, and officials good luck for the remaining of the event. I now declare the Podgorica Junior European Cup 2024 is officially open. Let’s enjoy the competition.  

Tomorrow the tournament will begin at 11:00am (GMT+1) with the following weight categories: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, and +100kg. The final block is scheduled for 16:00 (GMT+1). Watch all actions live online. Good luck for you all tomorrow!

Author: Szandra Szogedi