Judo gave the host nation the first gold medal at the European Para Youth Games in Liguria, Italy, on Thursday, 12 October thanks to an outstanding performance from Simone Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro finished the round robin men’s junior -73kg competition with all four of his victories by ippon. Silver went to Germany’s Tim Meiss. Henry Mackney also from Germany and Oscar Widegren from Sweden were the bronze medallists.
“Four bouts and four ippons, I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this! I dedicate this medal to my family and my coach,” said the Italian judoka.
It was one of 10 gold medals for the hosts on the first day of the European Para Youth Games. But despite the strong Italian performance, it was Germany that finished day one top of the medal standings with 14 golds, ten of them coming in Para swimming.
The young German athletes also achieved great results in goalball winning all three matches against Portugal (10-0), Romania (13-7) and Sweden (14-9). The teams now play the return fixtures with the final taking place on Saturday, 14 October.
In football 7-a-side Great Britain beat Spain 6-2 to qualify for the final, also on Saturday (14 October). All is not lost for Spain though, who could still reach the gold medal match if they beat Denmark in the other qualifying game.
More than 600 Para athletes from 26 countries are competing in eight sports at the fourth edition of the European Para Youth Games. The event finishes on Sunday, 15 October.
More information can be found on the 2017 European Para Youth Games official website and Facebook page.