Silver for Puljiz under 44 kg
On day one of competition, Ana Viktorija Puljiz captured a silver medal in the category under 44 kg. The Croatian pocket rocket also got a silver medal in the Cadet European Championship earlier this year, but on Thursday, she could find herself in another European Championship final - This time an age category above.
Puljiz could win all her preliminary fights by ippon and narrowly lost out in the final, after having led by wazari, a strong effort from this youngster.
Borchashvili secures a Bronze for Austria
Another medal went to Wachid Borchashvili of Austria, who could pick up a bronze medal in -66 kg category. The Austrian showed a strong performance through out the day and managed to beat the number one seed, Spanish Roca on the way. Borchaswhili definately made the most out of his time at this European Championship, as 3 out of his 5 matches went to Golden score, including the bronze medal match. In total, he spent not less than 13,5 minutes in Golden score.
Esposito wins Bronze under 73kg
On the second day of action, there was a bronze medal for Italian Giovanni Esposito in the -73 kg category. Esposito recently got a strong 5th place in the Grand Prix in Budapest and definately had high expectations for this European Championship. After two strong wins, the Italian narrowly lost out in the quarter final, but came back strongly to take a bronze medal and finish his day on the podium.
Galandi wins another European Medal
Marlene Galandi of Germany picked up a bronze medal in category under 70 kg.
This year, Galandi also already picked up her first Senior European cup medal as well as an amazing 5th place is the German home Grand Slam and will be one to watch for the future in this category.
Mercedesz Szigetvari new European Champion
On the third and final day of the individual competition, four more Ippongear athletes could finish their day, standing on the podium with a European medal.
First and foremost, the new European Champion in the category +78 kg is Mercedesz Szigetvari of Hungary. She did already get her break through in the senior division last year, where she won a bronze medal at the Tbilisi Grand Prix. Today, Szigetvari was really on a roll and won all of her matches in dominant style; 4 matches, 4 ippons, meaning that this young lady, was the Hungarian hero in this Junior European Championships.
Prodan and Toth step on the Podium under 78kg
In the -78 kg category, bronze medals went to Karla Prodan of Croatia and Fanni Toth of Hungary.
Prodan won three Junior European cups this year and also placed 7th in the Zagreb Grand Prix. This bronze medal confirms how the former Cadet World Champion definitely is in good shape - She will now be looking forwards to the Junior World Championships. Prodan trains in Judoklub Pujanke in Split, which is also the club of Barbara and Brigita Matic, who are both former Junior World Champions.
Fanni Toth, former cadet Worlds runner-up, also had a strong performance through out the day. Except from losing out to Prodan in the quarter finals, she won all of her matches with ippon, securing her, her first junior European medal.
Toth takes home a another Bronze for Hungary
In the -90 kg category, another medal went to Hungary, as Apor Toth managed to take home a bronze medal. Toth made it to the semi final, where he lost out in a close fight, but came back to take a bronze medal after beating his opponent by ippon.
More IPPON GEAR athletes amongst the Top 7
We saw several more IPPON GEAR athletes getting close to the hot spots on the podium, some are going home disappointed for sure, about the missed chance of a European medal.
For example Croatian Iva Oberan (-57 kg) and Danish Lærke Marie Olsen (-63 kg) both finished with a 7th place at the second day of competition.
Both girls have been very persistant this year, having collected four Junior European cup medals each. Both have also managed to pick up a medal in the senior division - Oberan won a bronze medal in the senior European Cup in Sarajevo while Olsen recently was runner-up at the European Open in Minsk. It is safe to say, that these two girls had higher expectations for this tournaments and will definitely be someone to look out for, at the World Championships later this year.
In the category under 57 kg also Czech Vera Zemanova made it into the top 7 by claiming a 7th place alongside with Oberan.
Under 100kg, Jelle Snippe of the Netherlands ended his day with a 5th place. This young man won three European cup medals this year, and also picked up a bronze medal in the Den Haag Grand Prix last year - he will definitely aim to not miss the podium at the Junior World Championships in four weeks. Or Mathias Madsen, who was another standout througout the year in the same category. He suprisingly lost his second round match and his dream of becoming European Champion.
But all those defeats just make those young talents stronger. We can't wait to see them getting out of the gates at the Junior World Championships in October 2018.
NEXT STOP: BAKU - SENIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Next week, we will have more action to bring, as the senior World Championships will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan. A lot of Olympic qualification points will be at stake, of cause, as well as the big question of who will be crowned as new World Champions. Stay tuned.