IJF Grand Prix World Tour – Budapest, Hungary

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Another fiercely competitive and difficult tournament is the IJF Grand Prix, part of the IJF World Judo Tour 2019. This time it was held in Budapest, Hungary with 549 competitors (343 men and 206 women) from 82 countries and all continents.

Representing Cyprus were two of our athletes – Charilaos Hadjiadamou in the -73Kg category and Kyriacos Nicolaou in the -90Kg category.

First up was Charilaos on Day 2 who came up against Salvador Cases Roca from Spain.  The first two minutes were very close with each competitor battling for Kumi-Kata and attempting a few throws.  Charilaos showed more technique in Tachi-Waza with the Spaniard more comfortable on the ground.  Half-way through the third minute Charilaos was held with Yoko Shiho Gatame by the Spaniard for 20 seconds giving him the Ippon and the win.

Day 3 saw Kyriacos competing and saw him come up against the Chinese athlete Yadong Xie, one of the up-and-coming athletes from China. The contest started with both athletes vying for grip and attacking with some near throws. The Chinese athlete received a Shido and in the second minute Kyriacos almost threw Xie with O Goshi. Towards the end of the third minute, the Chinese athlete caught Kyriacos and threw him for Ippon.

Our athletes were accompanied by Marinos Piponas from Kiti as Team Coach.

As Cyprus we are not under any illusion that these IJF tournaments will be easy – the top athletes of the world attend them, but it is only by attending more competitions such as this and competing against the best there is in the world that our athletes will become better.

Both our athletes held their own against much more experienced competitors and did us proud once again.

Cyprus Judo Federation – We Have A Dream!

Balkan U13 Games – Part 2

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The second day of the U13 Balkan Games saw more athletes who had travelled to Timisoara in Romania taking part and we had another medal!

First up was our athlete in the -52Kg Marina Azinou. She received a bye in her first contest and came up against the athlete from Turkey who she beat with an Ippon. Next up was an athlete from Romania who she beat with a Waza-Ari and this put her into the final where she came up against another athlete from Romania.  Marinia took just 20 second the throw her opponent with an Ippon and take the GOLD medal.

In the same category was Maria Michael who had an opponent from Bosnia Herzegovina in the first contest who she threw for an Ippon. In her second contest against the athlete from Greece she fought a very close match, but lost with a Waza-Ari. This put her in the Repechage. She went down to a Waza-Ari early on in the contest, but came back to level the scores with her own Waza-Ari. The other athlete then threw her for a second score and she lost with Waza-Ari Awazete Ippon.  This still gave Maria SEVENTH place.

Markelos Ioannou was in the -46Kg category where he came up against the athlete from Turkey.  It took two Waza-Ari for a Waza-Ari Awazete Ippon to beat him, but Markelo proceeded to the next round where he came up against the athlete from Romaina.  Markelo lost this by a Waza-Ari, but went into the Repechage against an athlete from Greece. Markelo fought well in a close contest, but in the end, he lost again by a Waza-Ari giving him SEVENTH place overall.

Along with the fifth place yesterday from Mariam Kotzia this gave us one first place Gold, one fifth place and two seventh places.

A very good showing in the U13 Balkan Games by our young athletes who had made the trip to Romania and a very good indication of what the future has in store for Cyprus Judo.

Accompanying the athletes were Club Coaches Neoklis Skouroumounis from Larnaca and Piero Leonida from Limassol.

Well done to all our athletes!

Cyprus Judo Federation – We Have A Dream!

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Bronze For Sofia in Sarajevo

Sofia (right) on the podium for third place bronze medal

Sofia (right) on the podium for third place bronze medal

Sofia Asvesta has once again claimed a medal, this time representing Cyprus at the Junior European Judo Cup in Sarajevo.

First up for Sofia was Gordana Ilic from Bosnia Herzegovina. After receiving a penalty, Sofia went on to beat the athlete with Ippon towards the end of the second minute.

In the second round she met the athlete from Israel, Paz Kafri, a Bronze medal winner from the Athens Junior European Cup 2019 and who went on to the final after Sofia lost to her by Ippon in the second minute – a close contest, but the experience of the Israeli athlete was the main factor here.

Sofia entered the Repechage and her next opponent was Mila Kraljevic from Serbia. In a close contest, Sofia beat the athlete from Serbia in second minute again and proceeded to the next round.

Here she met Rachel Van de Meeberg from The Netherlands – Gold medallist in the 2016 Cadet European Cup.  Rachel was awarded a penalty in the first minute and then Sofia went on to win with Ippon.

This brought her to the contest for the third place with Laura Espadinha from France – a Bronze medallist in the Cadet European Cup in 2016.  After four minutes of contest time there was no score and the contest went to Golden Score.  Both athletes received 2 Shido each and the contest was very close and went on for three minutes where Sofia threw the athlete from France for a Waza-Ari and took the third place.

BRONZE FOR SOFIA and another EXCELLENT result for her at another major European international tournament.

Accompanying Sofia to the championship was her mother Antonina Asvesta.

The Cyprus Judo Federation wishes to thank and congratulate Sofia on her excellent result and wishes her even more success in the future.

Cyprus Judo Federation – We Have A Dream!

The flag of Cyprus flies again at a European competition

The flag of Cyprus flies again at a European competition

Proud mum testing the Bronze Medal

Proud mum testing the Bronze Medal

Balkan U13 Games - Romania

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One of our up-and-coming young talents Mariam Kotzia from the Skouroumounis Judo Club of Larnaca was in action this week in Romania at the Under 13 Balkan Games.

Mariam competed in the -28Kg category with athletes from Romania, Greece, Turkey, North Macedonia and Bosnia Herzegovina.

After winning her first contest Mariam then lost to the Romanian athlete and went into Repechage where she first fought the athlete from Greece who she beat and went to contest for third place with another athlete from Romania.  Mariam fought well, but in the end lost after an exciting and well fought contest.

Mariam managed to achieve FIFTH PLACE – an excellent achievement for her in one of her first international competitions.

Mariam was accompanied by club coach Neoklis Skouroumounis.

Congratulations to Mariam from the Cyprus Judo Federation – another athlete with a huge amount of potential for the future.

Cyprus Judo Federation – We Have A Dream!

European Cadets Championship - Warsaw

Zanet, Petros, Georgios, Panagiotis and Team Coach Marinos

Zanet, Petros, Georgios, Panagiotis and Team Coach Marinos

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.

Day 1

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!

Day 2

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!

Day 3

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!

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European Men/Women

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Last week saw one of the most difficult competitions on the European calendar – the Men & Women European Championship held in Minsk, Belarus.

There were 49 nations taking part with a total of 390 competitors.

Representing Cyprus were Rudolf Kourtides and Aristos Michael and accompanying them was National Coach, Lavrentis Alexanides.

Rudolf was first up in the -73Kg category and came up against the Latvian Demitrijs Fedosejenkovs who threw Rudolf at the end of the second minute for Ippon.

Next up was Aristo against the Polish competitor Damian Szwarnowiecki in the -81Kg category. Aristo fought well, but was penalised with Hansoku-make giving the win to the Pole.

This was a very tough competition and our athletes were there for experience and both of them fought well.

The Federation is proud of our athletes and wish them well in the competitions to come.

Silver At U15 Balkan Judo Championship

Yiannos Antoniou receiving his SILVER medal in second place.

Yiannos Antoniou receiving his SILVER medal in second place.

Cyprus was represented as National Team at the U15 Balkan Judo Championship by two athletes – Sotiris Christodoulou from the Nicosia Judo Center in the under 73Kg category and Yiannis Antoniou from the Christodoulides Judo Academy in the over 73Kg category.

Sotiris fought well but was eventually beaten by the athlete from Bulgaria.

Yiannos fared better and reached the final with three solid wins.  In the final he came up against Mehmet Ali Akinci from Turkey – Yiannis had weighed in at 93Kg and Mehmet at 154Kg.  After a very close contest, Yiannos lost due to strength and weight, but took the SILVER medal.

An excellent win for Yianni and congratulations to him and his club on their medal.

The Federation would like to congratulate both athletes – once again, you made us proud!

Judo Team Medals in Montenegro

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Following on from their success in the individual events, both our men and women were also in action in the team event.

 With only two women in the team, Cyprus was always going to be starting 0-1, but that didn’t stop our girls!  First up was Andorra who they beat 2-1.  Next was Luxembourg who they also beat 2-1 and then Iceland who they also beat 2-1 before meeting Monaco in the final.  Both girls fought well, but that extra win was always going to be a problem and the girls lost 1-2 and claimed the SILVER MEDAL – well done to our girls.

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The men fought well too!  First, they beat the team from Monaco 2-1 and then from Iceland who they again beat 2-1 before meeting Montenegro in the final where the fought three very close matches, but in the end lost three very close contests 0-3. SILVER MEDAL to our boys and very well done!


Once again, our athletes made us proud and the Federation would once again like to congratulate everyone once again for their spectacular performance at the Games of the Small States of Europe in Montenegro.

Two years ago, at the Games of the Small States of Europe in San Marino, Judo had 4 Silver medals.  Two year on and we have 2 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze.  We have a dream and the hard work of Federation and our athletes are making that dream a REALITY!

Well done to all!

#TeamCyprus

Medals from The Games of the Small States of Europe

Our Judo Team that competed - (left to right) Georgios Kroussaniotakis, Georgios Balajiasvilli, Aristos Michael, Sofia Asvesta, Rudolf Kourtides and Nikola Evripidou - accompanies by (left to right) Costas Piponas (Physiotherapist), Nicos Patsiantos (Referee), Lavrentis Alexanidis (National and Team Coach) and Christos Christodoulides (Team Leader).

Our Judo Team that competed - (left to right) Georgios Kroussaniotakis, Georgios Balajiasvilli, Aristos Michael, Sofia Asvesta, Rudolf Kourtides and Nikola Evripidou - accompanies by (left to right) Costas Piponas (Physiotherapist), Nicos Patsiantos (Referee), Lavrentis Alexanidis (National and Team Coach) and Christos Christodoulides (Team Leader).

The Games of the Small States of Europe always sees Cyprus competing against other similar sized countries and is a good test for many of the athletes and their future careers.

Ladies first!

Sofia Asvesta in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Sofia Asvesta in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Sofia Asvesta was competing in the -52 Kg category. In her first contest she came up against Telma Martins from Luxembourg who she beat by Ippon in the last minute of the contest.  Her next contest was against Yamina-Sara Allag from Monaco who she beat 9 seconds into the second minute again with Ippon. In the final, Sofia fought Kim Eiden, again from Luxembourg.  It was a very close match with both competitors attacking and almost scoring until Sofia threw Eiden for Waza-ari and went on to hold on for GOLD.


Nikola Evripidou in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Nikola Evripidou in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

 Nikola Evripidou came up against some very still competition in her -63Kg category.  Her first contest was against Rania Drid from Monaco where she fought well, but lost in the end by Ippon. He second was against the athlete from Iceland, Asta Arnorsdottir who she lost to at the end of the first minute. Her third contest was against Lia Povendano Ruiz of Andora where Nikola scored first with a Waza-ari, but lost in the end in the last minute by Ippon. In her last contest, Nikola came up against the eventual silver medalist Florine Soula from Monaco who she lost to with Ippon.  Nikola didn’t get a medal this time, but fought very well, against very good competition and there is a bright future for her.


Now onto the men!

Giorgios Balajiasvili in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Giorgios Balajiasvili in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Giorgios Balajiasvili competed in the -60 Kg and produced an excellent performance.  First up was Dofri Bragason from Iceland who Giorgios beat with Ippon. Next up was Alexander Heiidarsson again from Iceland who Giorgios again beat by Ippon, this time within 46 seconds!  Finally, Giorgios had to compete with Yann Siccardi from Monaco who he beat with Ippon in the final minute for GOLD. The contests and three Ippons!


Rudolf Kourtides in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Rudolf Kourtides in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

In the -73 Kg Roudolf Kourtides beat Cedric Bessi from Monaco in his first contest with Ippon after Bessi had scored first with a Waza-ari. In his second contest, Rudolf lost to local hero Nikola Gardasevic from Montenegro by Ippon in the last minute.  In the fight for third place, Rudolf fought Mar Reig Arnau from Adora. Rudolf was the more superior athlete and overpowered Arnau with a fantastic Ippon to take the BRONZE medal.


Aristos Michael in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Aristos Michael in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Aristos Michael won his first contest in the -81 Kg category against Johan Blanc from Monaco with an Ippon. In the final he fought Tizie-Jean-Thierry Gnamien, again from Monaco where they fought a very close contest. Aristo was unlucky to go down with a Waza-ari for a throw that could have gone either way and then in the third minute was thrown for Ippon.  SILVER for Arito and another excellent result.


Giorgos Kroussaniotakis in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Giorgos Kroussaniotakis in action - Photo: Cyprus Olympic Committee

Giorgios Kroussaniotakis competed in the -100 Kg category and his first contest was against Por Davidsson from Iceland who he beat by Waza-ari.  In his second contest, Giorgios went a Waza-ari down to Anto Dubreta from Montenegro before beating him by Ippon to take the win. In the final Giorgios fought Danilo Pantic from Montenegro.  The contest was very tight with each athlete attacking the other continuously and a number of almost scores for both other them. In the end the match was decided with a single Waza-ari scored by Pantic.  SILVER for Giorgios and another medal for Cyprus


SIX athletes, FIVE medals – TWO GOLD, TWO SILVER, ONE BRONZE – Excellent performance!

The medals are a tribute to the athletes, their coaches and the national team coaches all of whom were responsible for their medals today.  With a little bit of luck, the two silver medals could have been gold, but saying that all the athletes fought well and justified being selected for the National Team.

The Federation would like to thank all the athletes for making us proud once again by representing Cyprus so well in the Games of the Small States of Europe.

#TeamCyprus – well done to all!


Some more photos of our athletes!