On the first day of action, host nation Hungary had something to celebrate, as Reka Pupp made it all the way to the final in the category under 52 kg. Pupp has previously won two bronze medals at U23 European Championships, but this time, she upgraded to a silver medal.
Pupp had a strong performance throughout the day and won all of her preliminary fights by ippon. Only in the final, she had a small slip in Golden score and narrowly lost out after a hard and even match.
On the first day of competition, also two 7th places went to Christopher Wagner of Austria (-73 kg) and Iva Oberan of Croatia (-57 kg)
The Golden Girl this weekend, was Michaela Polleres of Austria, who claimed the gold medal in the category under 70 kg. The 21 year old Austrian is on great form at the moment and in only one month, she has managed to pick up her first Grand Prix gold medal, her first Grand Slam medal and now her first European title.
Polleres came into the tournament as the number one seed and did surely prove, that she was worthy of that spot. Winning all of her matches by Ippon, Michi once again confirmed that she is one of the most dominant young athletes in this category.
In the same category, Szabina Gercsak of Hungary, could be happy about picking up a bronze medal, in front of her home crowd. The tall Hungarian is usually a spectator’s favorite with her impressive throwing skills, which she could show off, in front of friends and family this weekend.
Gercsak already won not less than 10 European Championship medals and this weekend, she could add medal number 11 to her collection. What a record for this young lady.
As well in the -70 kg category, Andela Violic of Croatia, ended her day with a 7th place.
Another youngster who had an impressive performance this weekend, was Renata Zachova of Czech Republic, who picked up a silver medal in the category under 63 kg.
Her way to the final was definitely not easy, but Zachova showed determination and a strong will and after three hard fought fights in the preliminaries, of which two of them went 3 minutes into Golden score, the only 18 year old Czech, could find herself in her first ever European Championships final.
Even though the final did not end in her favor, Zachova can be proud of a very good performance and a well deserved silver medal.
In the same category, Louise Hansen of Denmark ended with a 7th place.
In the category under 73 kg, Akil Gjakova of Kosovo, captured his third consecutive U23 European medal, this time in Gold showing absolute dominance .
The Paris Grand slam winner, did clearly show who the title belonged to, as he won all of his matches by Ippon, to raise the flag for Kosovo.
On the third day of action, the team of Austria picked up another medal, as heavyweight Stephan Hegyi captured a silver medal in the +100 kg category. As well as his teammate Michaela Polleres, Hegyi came into the competition as the number one seed - and he met the expectation in great style.
The Austrian wasted no time on his way to the final and beat all his opponents by Ippon. After a tough final, Hegyi ended his day with a silver medal, and can now add “Vice European Champion U23” to his portfolio. Another strong performance from this young man, who we will see in action again in the Tashkent Grand Prix next weekend.
In the same category, Marco Kumric of Croatia, Brother of Zlatko Kumric, ended with a 5th place. Kumric showed good judo throughout the day and managed to take himself to the semi final, where he had to face Stephan Hegyi.
Unfortunately, the Croatian narrowly missed the podium, but could be happy about having reached the final block at a European Championship for the first time, showing a good potential for the future.