25 February 2024


Riga Veteran European Cup 2024


Sydney Olympic Games bronze medallist, Vsevolods ZELONIJS is now the president of the Latvian Judo Federation. However this weekend during the Riga Veteran European Cup event, he decided to step on the tatami as a competitor once again, but of course this time things were a little different.

When competing on the international circuit, Zelonijs fought in the -73kg category, but has only different by one and instead found his way in the -81kg in Riga, and undoubtedly pleasing the home crowd as well as his family, won all of his contests and took the top place on the podium.

The last launch was 15 years ago in Beijing at the Olympic Games, together with my coach Oleg Baskin, and the feeling when the coach was bringing me out now was also a feeling that we returned to the past, also a feeling that this was missing in life, to receive again these impressions while being on the tatami. To fight at home in front of the kids and the generation that hasn’t seen me on the tatami is a great honor and task.

Zelonijs is of course well known in his home country for his Olympic glory and international success, but was also a strong element of the Bundesliga team of TSV Abensberg under the management of the EJU Vice President Otto KNEITINGER who suggested,

I like to see him back on the tatami, maybe he can have a comeback in Abensberg and the German Bundesliga!

L-R: Sebastian LIEBL, Oscar PEÑAS, Alexei BUDOLIN, Vsevolods ZELONIJS, Helmut DIETZ. Bottom: Daniel GÜRSCHNER. © Otto Kneitinger

Author: Thea Cowen