Katarzyna Sobierajska trailblazer at European Open Warsaw
The 2020 edition of the European Open in Warsaw was a great success for the organizer with five gold medals for Polish athletes because of the lack of foreigners when the pandemic just hit Europe. Gold medals for Damian Stepień, Kacper Szczurowski, Karolina Pieńkowska, Angelika Szymańska and Urszula Hofman. The last in the category U70kg where this edition Katarzyna Sobierajska is the only Polish number one seed. She competed at the Grand Slam in Paris this month but lost her second contest in the second round.
Katarzyna claimed the bronze medal at the World Championships for Juniors in Olbia in 2021 and she bagged a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Zagreb in 2021. She started her fame as a cadet winning the Cadet European Cups in Follonica, Gyor and in Zagreb. She clinched a bronze medal at the Cadet European Championships in Warsaw. In 2020 Sobierajska took the Junior European title in Porec as last Polish super talent. A lot of pressure will be on her shoulders this event to make it a success while she is just 20 years young.
Let’s zoom in at the number one seeds, starting with three athletes from Germany:
Heavyweight Sven Heinle of SV Fellbach won bronze at the World Junior Championships in 2011 and won bronze medals at European Championships for Cadets, Juniors and U23. In 2015 he won his first World Cup in Minsk. He won various World Cup medals such as Dusseldorf, Budapest and Ulaanbaatar and Zagreb. Sven captured a bronze medal at the European Open in Oberwart in 2018. He clinched the gold medal at the Grand Prix in Marrakech in 2019.
German judoka Pauline Starke fighting U57kg won the Junior European title in Malaga in 2016. With the German Junior Team she won bronze at the World Mixed Teams in 2017 in Zagreb. Starke was number 1 of the IJF World Ranking for juniors U57kg in 2017. She captured bronze at the European Games in Minsk and bagged a various medals at the European Cup level. She finished with a bronze medal at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2021.
Super talent Anna-Monta Olek from Germany captured the Junior world title in 2021 in Olbia and she became the Junior European Champion in 2021. What a year she has had. While she can still fighting at European Cup level at the Juniors, she is now one of the favourites for gold in Poland at senior level. She will have to deal with Yael van Heemst in her weight class.
Estonian experienced judoka Grigori Minaskin won the EYOD, now EYOF in Belgrade in 2007 and the European Cadet title in 2007. So a talent from the start and he captured various World Cup medals. He captured bronze at the Grand Prix in Tel Aviv and silver in Budapest in 2019. He bagged a bronze medal at the Grand Slam in Antalya in 2021. He can show his experience in Warsaw.
His Estonian compatriot Klen Kristofer Kaljulaid won silver at the European Cup in Malaga in 2016. He won the Estonian Open in 2014 and national championships and a few Junior titles. He won bronze at the European Open in Minsk in 2018. He claimed a bronze medal at the European Open in Tallinn in 2019. Now he is the number one seed in Warsaw.
French number one seed Joan-Benjamin Gaba took gold at the Junior European Cup in Prague in 2021. He secured a bronze medal at the Grand Prix of Portugal in 2022. He is just 21 years since January and already number one seed in Warsaw.
Chloe Devictor from France captured the Junior world title in 2021 in Olbia. She bagged a silver medal at the Junior European Championship in 2021. She won various Cadet and Junior European Cups, even in 2021. Warsaw is her big event at senior level.
Sandra Jablonskyte of Lithuania won various titles in all age categories. She was flagbearer at the 2020 Olympic Games for Lithuania. As a young judoka she took bronze at the World Juniors in 2009. Jablonskyte competed at World Judo Championships. She took a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Zagreb in 2016. Sandra captured silver at the Grand Prix The Hague in 2017. She took a bronze medal at the Grand Prix Tbilisi in 2018 and silver in Minsk. She took bronze at the Grand Slam of Ekaterinburg in 2019.
Spanish judoka Daniel Perez Roman took bronze at the European Open in Rome in 2019. He captured a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Tbilisi in 2019. He took a bronze medal at the European Cup in Malaga in 2019. He won the Spanish title in 2018 in Caceres. He is the number one seed U66kg.
In 2019 Laura Vazquez of Spain clinched a silver medal at the Cadet European Championships in Warsaw, so good memories to the Polish capital. She took a bronze medal at the EYOF in Baku in 2019. She won carious Junior European Cups and claimed a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in 2021 in Olbia. She became Spanish champion in 2021 and still a teen while fighting as number one in Poland.
Ebru Sahin from Turkey was European youth Champion U17, U20 and U23 and won two European senior medals. She won silver at the European Games in 2015. She is in competition with Dilara Lokmanhekim for an Olympic spot. Sahin won the Grand Slam in Baku in 2013 and took silver in Abu Dhabi in 2015. She captured gold at the Balkan Championships in 2012 in Trebinje. Ebru was born during the Olympic Games in Barcelona. She bagged a silver medal at the European Open in Sarajevo in 2022.
Turkish judoka Mihrac Akkus became European Cadet Champion in 2017 in Kaunas. He won the European Cup Cadets Teplice in 2017. He took the Cadet World title in 2017 in Santiago de Chile. Mihrac Akkus (TUR) was number 1 of the IJF World Ranking for cadets U55kg in 2017. He captured a bronze medal at the Grand Prix in Antalya in 2019. He claimed a silver medal at the Grand Prix in Tel Aviv in 2020. He claimed a bronze medal at the European U23 title in Budapest in 2021.
Adrian Gandia of Puerto Rico won gold at the Youth Olympic Games team event in Nanjing in 2014. Gandia was number 1 of the IJF World Ranking for cadets U66kg in 2014.
Poland booked 50 victories in its history since 1989 when the World Cups were installed, divided between men (28) and women (22). Pawel Nastula is the most successful in history with five Polish Open titles.