27 June 2024


Slovenj Gradec Junior European Cup 2024


Slovenia will welcome the junior athletes to Slovenj Gradiec this weekend the Junior European Cup 2024. With 338 athletes from 35 nations inscribed for the event, it will be an exciting weekend. With the live draw tomorrow at 20:00 CEST, the athletes are preparing for competition on the 29th and 30th of June.

Both days will see athletes compete within the top 10 of the world ranking list, including WRL #1 Yuli Alma MISHINER (ISR/+78kg), who took bronze in the Junior European Championships last year, narrowly missing out on the podium place at world level, and still only 18 years old. However the home crowd favourite on day one will be Kaja SCHUSTER in the -70kg category, the current Junior European Champion.

Incredibly, three of the -78kg category entries are within the top ten in the WRL; led by Emma KRAPU (FIN), winner of the Anadia and Kaunas Junior European Cup this year. Sofija PAJIC (BIH) had success in 2023, and as a cadet, but a win was fuelled by the home crowd in Sarajevo this year which has boosted her position and encouraged her to compete at senior level, placing seventh in the East Sarajevo Senior European Cup last month. Finally, it has been a busy few months for Nika JAKUS (CRO), medalling in four Junior European Cups, one gold in Rijeka, as well as fifth place finishes in Senior Cups; East Sarajevo and Dubrovnik.

Emma KRAPU (FIN) © Paulo Porfírio

All but one of the top ten are in the heavyweight categories, women will compete Saturday, men on Sunday. This means lightweight men will compete Saturday, and lightweight women Sunday, the only top ten lightweight will be Austria’s Carina KLAUS-STERNWEISER at -52kg, who most recently won at home in the Graz Junior European Cup.

Slovenia will continue to have high medal hopes on day two, Vid KAVNIK is WRL #7 and will be the number three seed in the -100kg category behind three-time Junior European Cup winner, Jakob VARES (EST) and Junior European bronze medallist, Bogdan PETRE (ROU). Kavnik may have some junior wins but he can also lay claim to senior gold medals including the Montreal Panamerican Open, as well as the junior gold in the same event.

Vid KAVNIK (SLO) © Filip Roganovic

In the -90kg category, one to watch will be Miljan RADULJ (SRB), the WRL #2 who took a Junior European bronze last year, adding to his EYOF and Cadet success in previous years. Radulj will be contested by Ivan KUTENKOV (UKR), the Junior European silver medallist from 2022. This year, Kutenkov also tried his hand on the senior circuit, succeeding to take silver in the Gyor European Open.

History making Giannis ANTONIOU (CYP) will also be looking to improve his standing, currently #2 in the WRL, the Junior European silver and World bronze medallist had made a huge mark on the map for Cyprus. He won’t be without competition on day two however, with Darius DOBRE (ROU) on his tail, who has not only been successful on the junior circuit but secured an U23 European bronze in 2023.

Find the full line up of athletes at JudoTV.com.


Author: Thea Cowen