Silver in Europe

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 14 Feb 2023

Youssri Sami won Egypt’s first silver medal in the European Judo Open after losing to French champion Ian Juan in the final of the 60 kg weight category, reports Abeer Anwar

Silver  in Europe


Egypt is being allowed to participate in Europe because it is an opportunity for the judokas to collect enough points that would allow them to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Sami is only 19 and is one of Egypt’s judokas who can conceivably collect a medal for his country in Paris. Sami was able to make it to the finals after beating Spain’s champion in the 32th round, a German in the 16th, Kazakhstan’s in the quarter-finals and his opponent from England in the semis.

Abdel-Rahman Abdel-Ghani was able to win the second silver medal for Egypt in the -81kg weight category after losing in the final to Georgia’s Giorgi Jabuia. Abdel-Ghani had overcome Germany’s judoka in the 32th round, France’s champion in the 16th round, and Herzegovina and Bosnia’s athlete in the quarter-finals. Jabuia also beat Kazakhstan’s representative in the semi-final.

‘’It is a great achievement and the two players have done their utmost to win the two silver medals,’’ Marzouk Ali, the Egyptian Judo Federation president, said on the victory. ‘’We rarely win medals in such championships as we face tough competition from the European champions who are also world champions. That is why I am very happy with our players’ performance especially that they are still young and they can improve and achieve more in the future. We are eager to participate in such competitions to allow the players to collect as many points as they can to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.’’

Ashraf Sobhi, the Egyptian youth and sports minister, congratulated the Egyptian judokas for their achievements. ‘’I can see that the martial arts are developing quickly in Egypt. We have a number of world champions in the different martial arts and most of them are juniors and young in age. Those are the ones who will draw up the Egyptian future in the 2024 Paris Olympics and will lift Egypt’s name in all international competitions. I give them allamy gratitude and support.”

Last week, the new season in the calendar of the European Judo Union officially started in the oldest country in Europe, Bulgaria. Traditionally, the beginning of the year is reserved for the European Open in Sofia where 399 judokas from 43 countries gather. Fans of the country of the oldest gold treasure in the world were spectacular, cheering from the heart for their home favourites but also giving applause to the most attractive competitors in the Asics Arena.

‘’This is the first big event in our European Judo Tour, the Sofia European Open 2023,’’ European Judo Federation President László Toth said on the tournament. ‘’I’m very glad and very proud that 43 countries and 399 competitors are participating at this event. The renovated sports hall is fantastic and the competitors who started their qualification for the Olympic Games are a huge number. I’m really happy to see the development of this tournament. I’ve seen so many talented young judokas and I’m sure that the medals that they will win will make a difference in their careers.’’

* A version of this article appears in print in the 16 February, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly



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