Edition No. 30. Spring, 2002. Today is
2002 European Judo Championships
Maribor, Slovenia
May 16-19, 2002

Day One - May 16 , 2002

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(Left - Dennis VAN DER GEEST (NED) vs.Alexander MIKHAYLIN (RUS) at Men Open)

Dennis van der Geest was the undoubted star of the show on the first day of the European Championships in Maribor, Slovenia. The big Dutchman turned on the style to win his second European title in the last tree years, producing the two best throws of the tournament. Van der Geest beat the reigning double World champion, Alexandre Mikhailine, in the final of the men's Open with an astonishing Harai-goshi-sukeshi.

Mikhailine was already a yuko up as he moved in for the kill, sensing the possibility of a second consecutive Open title. Mikhailine was dominating the grip with his high left-handed lapel grip. He lurched forward with an uchi-mata attack but what happened next left the Russian perplexed. Van der Geest dodged his sweeping leg with the speed of a lightweight and in the same movement swept across his far leg. Mikhailine's legs left the mat at such a height, that when he came crashing back down, the reverberations could almost be felt up in the stands.

If van der Geest had the best day individually, France proved to be the best nation on the day, taking both the lightest categories. Frederique Jossinet retained her under 48kg title with a devastating performance in the final against Tatiana Moskvina of Belarus.
Moskvina was impressive in reaching the final, particularly in disposing of Romania's Laura Moricz-Moise with a huge Te-guruma in the quarter-final. She was equally impressive in the semi-final, sweeping past Guiseppina Macri of Italy with Tomoe-nage. But Moskvina's inexperience at this level told in the final as Jossinet brushed her aside. The writing was on the wall when Jossinet scored yuko with a lightning Seoi-toshi. But Moskvina walked straight onto a similar Tai-otoshi attack and this time was punished by ippon.

Yacine Douma doubled the French tally of gold medals with victory in the men's under 60kg. Douma faced the reigning double-champion, Elchin Ismaylov of Azerbaijan, in the final. Douma was also carrying a knee injury and the smart money was all on Ismaylov. But Douma has been in tremendous form this year, winning two A tournaments. He kept that form going throughout this tournament, beating two medallists from last year's World championships en route to the final - Cederic Taymans of Belgium and John Buchanan of Great Britain.

(Right - Yachine DOUMA (FRA) vs. Elchin ISMAYLOV (AZE) at - 60 Kg)

Douma was out of the blocks quickest in the final and never let Ismaylov settle. The Azerbaijani was penalised early on and then forced to play catch. As he pushed forward looking to get back into the contest, Douma punished him with a big left Osoto-gari for ippon.

The remaining gold medals were shared out equally between Germany, Britain and Hungary. Katja Gerber won a fourth consecutive European title by outlasting Tea Dongouzashvili of Russia in the final of the women's Open. With no scores on the board at the end of the custom five minutes, the two moved into a period of golden score. Gerber was fortunate to avoid a penalty after about one minute, but no sooner had she escaped, that she pounced, scoring waza-ari with left Osoto-gari.
Briatin's Georgina Singleton was totally dominant in the women's under 52kg category. It was, on paper, the weakest category of the tournament, and it seemed as if Singleton could sense that she would never get a better opportunity than this to win a European title. From the first time she stepped onto the mat, she carried the air of a woman who expected to win - and win she did in some style.

(Left - Georgina SINGELETON (GBR) vs. Ana CARRASCOSA (ESP) at - 57 Kg)

Singleton won four fights in convincing fashion, three of them with holds, two of which came after brilliant turnovers. In the first round she threw Barbara Bukowska of Poland for ippon with a delectable left Uchi-mata. She then pinned Russia's Oxana Karzakova, Belgium's Ilse Heylen and Ana Carrascosa of Spain - all in double-quick time.
The final gold medal of the day was probably the biggest surprise of the day. Hungary's Miklos Ungvari just had one of those days, though, where everything fell into place.
Jozef Krnac of Slovakia appeared to be the man in form on the day and was blitzing Ungvari in the final. But one flash of brilliance was all it took to send the European title to Hungary as Ungvari countered Krnac for ippon.

But that was not the full story of the first day of the European Championships. The home country made its mark with two women making bronze medal fights. Nives Perc missed out in the under 48kg as she was pinned by Macri, but Petra Nareks armlocked Macri's compatriot, Laura Maddaloni, to bring the home nation its first ever European Championship medal on the first day of competition. With Urska Zolnir still to come tomorrow, this could be a great tournament for Slovenia. And not just because the hosts put on an excellent opening ceremony.

Barnaby Chesterman
IJF Journalist

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European Championships 2002



DOUMA, Yacine (FRA)




GREKOV, Valentyn (UKR)


TMENOV, Tamerlan (RUS)




JOSSINET, Frédérique (FRA)




DADCI, Adriana (POL)


KÖPPEN, Sandra (GER)


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