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

Day Three - May 18 , 2002

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A proud father, Mr. VAN DER GEEST, Kor with his two European Champion sons
(Left Son - VAN DER GEEST, Dennis (NED), Eropean Champion at Men Open.
Right Son - VAN DER GEEST, Elco (NED), European Champion at Men - 100 Kg)

There was 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 Geest.
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 exhalted company.

(Right - Elco VAN DER GEEST (NED) vs. Martin PADAR (EST) at - 100 Kg)

Elco beat 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 sweep.

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.

(Left - Céline LEBRUN (FRA) vs. Lucia MORICO at - 78 Kg)

France's 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.

The 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 Poland's.

(Right - 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.

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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