The 4th European Judo Championships were not a success for our judokas
From our country, two top athletes have been selected :
- Kevin De Saedeleer (Judoclub Herzele - KSV Surdac Gent) from Aalst (31 years old)
- Renaud Malache (Judoclub Namurois - ESS Mons) from Tourinnes-St-Lambert (26 years)
Kevin De Saedeleer was competing in the -73kg class, while Renaud Malache is competing in the -90kg class.
Coach Michel van Assel : "Both athletes have been able to train heavily in the past few months, fortunately without injuries. They were in top form but this did not pay off in a medal. But this too is top sport, dealing with disappointing results is part of it. We are not giving up... "
Kevin De Saedeleer -73 kg
Beforehand, we knew Kevin would face two tough camps to start. First he got to compete against MOZYREV (UKR), who is a multiple champion (Deaflympics, World Cup and European Championship) in the -66 kg class. He was now competing in a higher class. Kevin lost this camp by getting 3 yellow cards. In the 2nd camp, he came out against Frenchman BRASSE, who was also European & World Champion in this class. In this, Kevin went by his own qualities, it was a tough camp that took a long time but in which a small detail can make a big difference. Brasse perfectly countered an attack by Kevin, losing by ippon. Being permanently eliminated, he ended up in a disappointing 7th place.
Renaud Malache -90 kg
Renaud got to start against KULIA (UKR) and almost won with an ippon, but in the end he had to give way. In the 2nd camp he faced the Greek SOFIANIDIS, whom he has won from before. This camp he won with a hold (ippon). This qualified him for the camp for the bronze medal. He had to fight a young debutant FILAKOVITY (HUN). This camp went equally, although the Hungarian waited for the camp very carefully and tactically.... In the end, the Hungarian was able to surprise Renaud on a counter, which of course is deadly in judo.... As a result, Renaud took 5th place at this European Championship.
Both athletes were of course disappointed with their results, but definitely want to rectify this.
The organisation on site was fine. Bulgaria got the chance to host this European Championship 6 months ago, in a short period of time they were fortunately able to make this European Championship happen.
Next ambition : Judo World Cup in Tehran (Iran) in February 2024....