Georgia captures first mixed team junior European title
The team of Georgia have won the European title for Juniors. In the Hague the Georgian team defeated the home team of the Netherland and were crowned as Mixed Team Junior European Champions. Their remarkable journey culminated in a thrilling face-off with the host nation, the Netherlands, in front of an electrified crowd but the Dutch kept their three European Champions on the bench for the last fights and had to suffer a 4-1 loss.
The Georgian team's triumphant march to the final was nothing short of impressive, having conquered formidable opponents including Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Germany. Their Dutch counterparts were equally formidable, buoyed by their performance in the individual competition, where they secured three gold medals.
The final kicked off with the +100kg category, featuring Shalva Gureshidze (GEO) and Silvan Bulthuis (NED). Gureshidze, the reigning 2022 and 2023 Junior European Champion, showcased his prowess by executing his signature ura nage for an ippon, securing the first victory for Georgia.
In the -57kg category, Julie Beurskens (NED) redeemed herself after a less-than-ideal performance in the individual competition. Her persistent display of low style kata gurumas paid off, as she managed to score an ippon with a drop seoi nage against her Georgian opponent, Nino Lozadze.
The -73kg contest featured Giorgi Terashvili (GEO), the current Junior European Champion, and Quinten Van Der Veen (NED). Despite a valiant effort from the Dutch athlete, Terashvili clinched a crucial win for Georgia with a well-timed sode entry, securing another ippon.
Eter Askilashvili (GEO), who previously delivered a standout performance in the senior world championships mixed team event, once again displayed her skill in the -70kg division. She faced off against Nadia Swinkels (NED), quickly securing a waza ari advantage and ultimately triumphing with two o uchi gari throws. Askilashvili expressed her joy, stating, "Now I am really happy because this is our first gold medal in the mixed team event, and we have all the support from Georgia, and this is my family."
With one more win needed to seal their victory, Tamaz Koberidze (GEO) faced Lars Van Oostrum (NED) in the -90kg category. The contest was a riveting display of skill and determination, with both athletes engaging in a fierce battle. Koberidze ultimately emerged victorious with a 'khabareli' finish, securing the championship gold for Georgia and marking an unforgettable conclusion to the competition.
In the end, Georgia's historic triumph in the Junior Mixed Team Judo European Championship was met with jubilation and pride. Otari Kvantidze's bronze medal win in the thrilling -73kg contest against Germany and Portugal had set the stage for their remarkable journey to the top.
Giorgi Terashvili, who played a pivotal role in securing the championship, expressed his joy, saying, "It is double happiness for me, the final was good, actually my whole day was good, and now we have this historic gold. We have never taken a title in the Junior European Championships before, and now we are the champions."
In 2016 only the men of Georgia took the European Junior title. The mixed team championships are held since 2018 and were won by Russia twice, France twice and Georgia for the first time.