This week we have the prestigious European Cadets Championship that was held in Warsaw, Poland where we have four athletes representing Cyprus. This is another very difficult competition with 431 competitors from 39 countriestaking part and gives a good indication for the future European champions.
Representing the men were Petros Christodoulides in the -50Kg category, Georgios Balarjishvili in the -60Kg and Panagiotis Shakos in the -73Kg. Representing the women was Zanet Michailidou in the +70Kg category. Accompanying them as the Team Coach was Marinos Piponas from Kiti.
First up was Petros who came up against the experienced athlete Antonio Polmo from Italy. They fought a very close match where both athletes attacked and almost scored, but in the end, Petors lost in the third minute by Ippon – the experience of the Italian athlete showed here.
In the second biggest category, Georgios had the Hungarian Balint Marosi in his first contest, who had come third in the recent Cadet European Cup in Romania. It took George less than 13 seconds to beat him with an Ippon! In his next contest he had Viljar Lipard from Estonia that would go a lot longer. In the third minute of the Golden Score, after 7 minutes of contest, Georgios threw the Estonian for Ippon, only for it to be cancelled by the Jury. Twenty second later he threw him for Waza-Ari without any doubt and proceeded to the next round. In his third contest, Georgios came up against Andrejs Skomorohovs from Latvia. Georgios was tired from his previous match and fought well, but lost in the second minute. Georgios went into the repechage where he fought Maxim Baltat from Moldova. In the second minute Georgios threw Maxim for Ippon and proceeded to the next round where he met Andarbek Arsunukaev from Russia – number 1 on the rank list. This was another contest that went to Golden Score and Georgios fought well against the Russian, but eventually he was thrown for an Ippon – the many tiring Golden Scores took their toll on him. An EXCELLENT result for Georgios – SEVENTH in Europe Cadets – bravo!
In the third biggest category, first contest for Panagiotis was with Stavros Doumas from Greece. Both athletes were very evenly matched with failed attempts of throws from both athletes. The contest went to Golden Score where after 58 seconds, Panagiotis scored a Waza-Ari to proceed to the next round where he would meet Eijan Hajiyev from Azerbaijan. The first two minutes were very close with no real advantage to either athlete. In the third minute Hajiyev scored a Waza-Ari with a Sumi-Gaeshi. Panagiotis had the majority of attacks after that and in the last minute scored a Waza-Ari with a counter and then almost scored again with a hip technique with 29 seconds to go. Then came the second Waza-Ari for Panagioti with a very strong O-Goshi taking him into the quarter finals against Luigi Centracchio, the fourth seed. The Italian scored after 45 seconds with a Waza-Ari, but after 30 seconds Panagioti scored a Waza-Ari as well to level the scores. Both athletes attacked continuously with near scores from both of them as the 4 minutes ran out and again we went to the gruelling Golden Score. After two good attacks by Panagioti, the Italian caught him and threw him for the winning score and a place in the semi-final whilst Panagioti went to the Repechage where his opponent was one of the strongest in the category, Jonathan Houkes from The Netherlands. It took just 69 seconds for Panagioti to throw him for an Ippon with Maki-Komi and progressed to the next stage where he met Dzianis Yauseyenka from Belarus who lost to one of the semi-finalists – another strong player in the category and one with a distinct height advantage over Panagioti. Both players started off strong and Yauseyenka strangled Panagioti after 70 seconds, but after a review by the Jury, the jacket was seen to be across his face and not his neck. The Ippon was cancelled and the contest continued. In the fourth minute Panagioti scored a Waza-Ari only to have it cancelled by the Jury – a harsh decision. The four minutes ended and Golden Score started once again. Both players attacked and nearly scored – Panagioti was stronger in Tachi Waza and the Belarusian stronger on the ground. Both athletes were very evenly matched and both had 2 Shido penalties against them. After NINE MINUTES AND EIGHT SECONDS of Golden Score, Panagioti received a third Shido and lost the contest. An unfortunate result, especially when the score in the fourth minute of normal time looked valid. Nevertheless, another EXCELLENT result for Panagioti – SEVENTH in Europe Cadets – bravo!
Zanet had Liz Ngelebeya from France, a very experienced medal winning athlete in European competitions. The contest started well, but the athlete from France asserted herself and half way through the second minute threw Zanet for Ippon. As she eventually got to the semi-finals, Zanet went into the Repechage where she came up against the athlete from Turley Hilal Ozturk. She fared better here, but towards the end of the third minute was thrown for Ippon again.
This championship was a testing ground for all our athletes.
Petros in one of his first international tournaments held his ground against an experienced athlete and can be proud of his performance. Zanet also fought well against a much more experienced and medal winning athletes. Both athletes have a long future ahead of them and many things were learned over the weekend.
Georgio and Panagioti were exceptional in all their contests and both of them earned a very deserved SEVENTH PLACE in European Cadets, further increasing their confidence that they can both compete at the highest level, holding the head up high and proudly wearing the flag of Cyprus.
Congratulations to all our athletes – once again you did us proud and showed the rest of Europe that Cyprus has athletes that can take on the best in Europe. The Federation would like to also thank team Coach, Marinos Piponas for taking the team to Poland and for all his hard work over the weekend.
WE HAVE A DREAM!