28 June 2024


European Judo Championships Cadets Sofia 2024


Top seed in the -73kg category, Bogdan VELICKOVIC (SRB) had a lot of pressure coming in to the Cadet European Championships 2024, and was dealt a tough card in his final with Timur DAVIDOV (AIN) who had been sweeping through his side of the draw with huge ura nage techniques. Davidov wasn’t able however to catch his much taller opponent Velickovic with such moves in regular time, and the pair delved deep in to golden score. After an incredible back and forth for seven minutes, with the athletes picking up only one shido each, the Serbian athlete took a stance looking to throw forward and Davidov fell for the feign, Velickovic changed direction and threw with o uchi gari scoring a crowd-pleasing ippon.

Now behind the celebration, there was a solemness in his demeanour whilst waiting for his medal,

I felt like I could win today and I am so happy to be champion, but I didn’t know if I would make it here. Two days ago, I lost my grandfather and competing here was a second thought, but now I can dedicate this medal to him and he would be proud.

Bogdan VELICKOVIC (SRB) © Gabi Juan

Unseeded and ranked #32 in the world, Valeriia KOZLOVA (AIN) was not pegged as the Cadet European Champion when the athletes filtered in to the Asics Arena on day two of the championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. However, she steadily made her way to the final of the -52kg category, defeating top seed, VAS Mira (HUN). Then taking on the #2, Monica MARTINEZ DE RITUERTO MORILLAS (ESP), it took her a little time to find her way in, but a sode tsurikomi goshi gave her the winning waza ari score. With only one previous result on the international stage, this was a welcomed surprise!

It feels so good to win today, everything just went perfectly for me. I felt very good in my preparation and in training camps so I was confident in my contests and I felt like I could win today.

Valeriia KOZLOVA (AIN) © Gabi Juan

Following on in the -66kg category, Abdullakh PARCHIEV (AIN) was yet another unseeded surprise, ranked #47 in the world, with a single silver medal in his collection from the Goygol Cadet European Cup, he took on top seed, Giorgi GIVISHVILI (GEO). Initially, Parchiev went up a waza ari, changing direction and scoring with tani otoshi, though Givishvili gave his all in this fast-paced final, he was caught for a second time with a timely spinning uchi mata from his opponent. Another win in the bag for the individual neutral athlete team and for the underdogs.

This is my first championship medal and it’s gold so I feel really great about the result today, it wasn’t so easy but my semi final was the most difficult I think, my opponent [Vasil GAMEZARDISHVILI (GEO] was very tough and very strong.

Abdullakh PARCHIEV (AIN) © Gabi Juan

Cadet World bronze medallist in the -52kg, Maya TOSZEGI (GER) came to conquer the Cadet Europeans in her new -57kg category and she succeeded in her mission. Breaking the trend of success for the neutral athletes, she worked her magic win ne waza against Aleksandra SHESTOPALOVA (AIN) in the final, claiming the gold with shime waza. It was also the #8 seed Toszegi who took out the top seed on her route to the final today, proving that she can beat the best of the best.

I’m very happy and a little surprised that I won gold today, I didn’t look towards the final, just took one fight at a time. It was also different for me, I much prefer tachi waza but somehow it was my day for wins in ne waza.

Maya TOSZEGI (GER) © Gabi Juan

Only one and a half minutes in to the contest, one of the biggest surprises of the day, WRL #19 Amelia PTASINSKA of Poland took her Cadet European Championship title with a clinching ko uchi gari. Stunning the crowd in the early rounds, she defeated the two-time Cadet European and World Champion, Sinem ORUC (TUR) and went through her opponents one at a time before reaching the final against Viktoriia MARTYNENKO (AIN) who was out strengthened in the final exchange.

It was a real surprise for me today to become the champion but I am just so happy! I can’t believe it! Winning against the defending champion gave me a lot of confidence for my next contests, also I lost to Tsurkan in Samorin, so winning in that semi final was a big moment.

Amelia PTASINSKA (POL) © Gabi Juan


Author: Thea Cowen