Judokas fight for Euro glory

Paralympic, world and European champions among competitors at 2017 European Championships. 03 Aug 2017
a man bites his medal in celebration

Azerbaijan's Ramil Gasimov is the reigning Paralympic, world and European up to 73kg champion.

ⒸWagner Meier
By Adam Bailey | For the IPC

Six Rio 2016 medallists highlight a field of around 100 judoka competing at the 2017 International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) European Judo Championships, which begin on Friday (4 August) in Walsall, Great Britain.

Here is who to watch out for over the three days of competition, which is also being live streamed on British Judo's website:

Day One – Friday, 4 August

Men: up to 60kg, up to 66kg, up to 73kg, up to 81kg

Women: up to 70kg, over 70kg

Paralympic, world and European champion Ramil Gasimov of Azerbaijan is searching for a third successive European title in the men’s up to 73kg. The world No.2 enjoyed a successful Rio 2016 cycle, winning the world title in 2014, as well as the European Championships in 2013 and 2015, before taking gold in Rio.

But he will have to get past two other Rio medallists; Ukraine’s Paralympic silver medallist and world No. 1 Dmytro Solovey and Paralympic bronze medallist Nikolai Kornhass of Germany are also gold medal favourites.

Another Azerbaijani judoka seeking day one success is Bayram Mustafayev as he targets a fourth successive European title in the men’s up to 66kg division. Ukraine’s Davyd Khorava lost to Mustafayev in the final in both 2013 and 2015, but the current world No.1 will be hoping to go one better in 2017.

Ukraine’s two-time European champion Oleksandr Kosinov heads to Walsall in search of another continental title in the men’s up to 81kg, while Romania’s Paralympic bronze medallist Alex Bologa targets his maiden European title in the up to 60kg.

The women’s up to 70kg division sees three 2015 Europeans Championships medallists renew their rivalry. Russia’s Tatiana Savostyanova* is targeting back-to-back European titles, but her compatriot Olga Zabrodskaya* and Croatia’s Lucija Breskovic will be hoping to improve on their respective silver and bronze medals from 2015.

Turkey’s Mesme Tasbag will try to defend her over 70kg European title, with Russia’s No. 7 Svetlana Ganieva* likely to be the Paralympic bronze medallist’s closest challenger.

Day Two – Saturday, 5 August

Men: up to 90kg, up to 100kg, over 100kg

Women: up to 48kg, up to 52kg, up to 57kg, up to 63kg

German twins Carmen (up to 48kg) and Ramona (up to 52kg) Brussig have identical goals this weekend: European gold. Carmen will go for her first European title since 2007, while Ramona last won gold in 2013.

Carmen will face tough competition from Ukraine’s No. 3 Yuliya Halinska and Turkey’s No. 4 Ecem Tasin. Ramona’s main challenger is most likely Ukraine’s No. 11 Liudmyla Lohatska.

With Paralympic, world and European champion Inna Cherniak not competing in Walsall, there will be a new up to 57kg European champion in 2017. While Sweden’s Nicolina Pernheim will be looking to repeat her 2013 European success in the women’s up to 63kg,.

After finishing as runner-up in the men’s up to 90kg at both the Paralympics and Europeans, Ukraine’s No. 3 Oleksandr Nazarenkowould like to change his fortune.

The British crowd would cheer loudly for Chris Skelley (up to 100kg) and Jack Hodgson (over 100kg).

The three days of competition will be rounded off with the team competition on Sunday (6 August).

The Championships will be live streamed on British Judo's YouTube channel and can be followed on Twitter and Facebook using #VIJudoEuros2017.

*Editor’s note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games. For further information please click here