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Thursday, April 18, 2024

A cadet European medal is a fair chance to win an Olympic qualifyer


The 3rd competition day in Odivelas (POR) brought the last individual decisions. On Sunday, the mixed team competition was held with Azerbaijan as the glorious winner. One of their heroes, Elnur Mammadli was Cadet European Champion himself in 2004 and was a fast grower, in 2008 he took Olympic gold in Beijing, an amazing speed. Lasha Bekauri of Georgia was even faster in 2017 as European cadet Champion and the in the same Olympic cycle he captured the gold medal. Ilias Iliadis was the fastest who grew from a Cadet European Champion in 2002 to Olympic Champion in 2004.Daria Bilodid was exceptionally young when she won the Cadet European title in 2015 at the age of 14 and she won two world titles at senior level.It usually takes 7 years at least to grown from a talent that won a European or continental Cadet medal to a world class judoka. Not many make it. Of more than 1400 medal winners in the history of Cadet European Championships this century, only eight achieved to win an Olympic gold medal.Lukas Krpalek is an exception, he won the Cadet European silver medal in 2006 and won two Olympic medals in 2016 and 2021 and two world titles for seniors. Clarisse Agbegnenou is of course the example for France, with an Olympic title, two medals and 6 world titles she was a phenomenon from her youth period and took the Cadet European title in 2008. Also Marie-Eve Gahie was successful with two Cadet European titles and a world title for France.28 Of those 1400 young medallists collected one or more Olympic medals such as Bilodid or Giuffrida or Kuzyutina. In the women’s division the transition to junior or even senior goes faster.EJU Sports Director Zolnir Jugovar: “A few maybe already in the run-up to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. It takes at least five or six years to develop from a young hopeful to a top judoka. I became European junior champion when I was 15, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. There was still no talk of competitive sport. The main thing was to have fun with judo. At the age of 30, in London in 2012, I won Olympic gold.”Success in this age group is not a natural lead up to success at senior level. The majority will not be able to continue to win at continental or even world level, still about 200 athletes won an European Cadet medal and an Olympic qualification tournament at senior level. Young man Varlam Liparteliani won even 20 of them, and even this weekend he took a medal in Ulaanbaatar. Having a career like him, any youngster would sign up for.

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