proud father, Mr. VAN DER GEEST, Kor with his two European Champion
- VAN DER GEEST, Dennis (NED), Eropean Champion at Men Open.
- VAN DER GEEST, Elco (NED), European Champion at Men - 100 Kg)
just one name on the lips of all and sundry after the final day of individual
competition at the European Judo Championships in Maribor, Slovenia: van der
It was a dream come true for the enigmatic and errant coach of Kenamu Judo
Club, Kor van der Geest. Not only had he produced his eighth European Champion,
but he had just witnessed his second from his own flesh and blood.
Elco van der Geest had the kind of day that most judoka can only dream about
as he swept past one big name after another on his way to emulating older
brother Dennis. Two days earlier the bigger and older of the two brothers
became Open weight world champion - today the younger sibling joined such
- Elco VAN DER GEEST (NED) vs. Martin PADAR (EST) at - 100
Youri Stepkine of Russia in his first round, by ippon, before moving on to
a memorable semi-final victory. There he disposed of the great Antal Kovacs
of Hungary, also by ippon, and the general feeling was that this was a young
man in the zone.
In the final he quickly disposed of Estonia's Martin Padar for ippon and the
title of European champion was his. Dennis had taken his second successive
title on Thursday and added an over 100kg bronze medal to his earlier triumph
as well. But it was Elco's achievement that made history as the two surely
became the first brothers to win gold medals at the same European Championships.
The over 100kg category was won, or rather demonstrated, by Tamerlan Tmenov
of Russia. The squat pitbull was totally dominant on the day and hardly broke
sweat as he dismantled every opponent with one big ippon after another. Pedro
Soares of Portugal was his final victim, taken down with a delectable foot
With such drama in the men's competition, the women could hardly match it,
particularly with two of the three categories going all too familiarly to
the form book.
- Céline LEBRUN (FRA) vs. Lucia MORICO at - 78 Kg)
Céline Lebrun took another step towards classifying herself as one
of the greats of European judo as she won her fourth consecutive title at
under 78kg. With an open weight World title to boot, there are certainly shades
of Ingrid Berghmanns about Lebrun. Her performance was majestic and for a
quadruple European Champion, she certainly deserves more credit than she has
thus far been given. Lebrun is simply the best at under 78kg.
Sandra Koeppen enjoyed something of a procession on her way to the over 78kg
title and a second successive German double of the heavyweight categories.
On Thursday, Katja Gerber won the open weight title, and so the two reveresed
the titles they won last year. Whichever title either of them wins, one is
for sure, Germany is untouchable in Europe when it comes to the women's heaviest
weight category - as long as Lebrun isn't fighting.
under 70kg went slightly against the grain as it produced an unlikely
winner, Poland's Adriana Dadci. With Belgium's Ulla Werbrouck retired,
Britain's Kate Howey injured, Spain's Ursula Martin out of favour
and Italy's Ylenia Scapin fighting at a different weight - this
category was wide open.
As it was, Edith Bosch of the Netherlands looked like the class competitor
in the field. She won through to the final in ominous fashion, but she made
one mistake. A momentary loss of concentration was all the encouragement that
Dadci needed, and she pounced. The Pole scored ippon with what amounted to
little more than a push, but Bosch crumbled on to her back and the title was
- Adriana DADCI (POL) vs. Edith BOSCH (NED) at - 70 Kg)
And so ended
the 51st European Championships with France clearly on top with
four gold medals. The official medal table placed the Netherlands
in second, Germany third and Belarus and Russia in joint fourth
place. But on closer analysis, the actual medal table should have
looked like this: 1st - France; 2nd - Germany; 3rd - van der Geest
family. Love him or loathe him, that would explain just why Kor
was the proudest father on the planet on Saturday night. And for
the man who built a tiny empire in Haarlem, the Netherlands, he
deserves every ounce of the glory - as do his two magnificent sons,
who truly lit up the championship.
» day four