BAKU-2015


European champions among strong Judo line-up

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Baku, June 24, AZERTAC

Eight gold medals will be contested by 173 female judoka over the three days of the Baku 2015 European Games Judo competition, which begins at Heydar Aliyev Arena on Thursday 25 June.

That includes a title in the -57kg weight category featuring visually impaired judoka, making this the only sport at Baku 2015 to include a Paralympic discipline.

The Baku 2015 Judo competition will count as the 2015 European championships. In six of the seven weight categories, the reigning European champions will be present. Only the injured Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo, in the -52kg category, will miss the chance to defend her title.

In total, there are seven medallists from the past three Olympic Games also present.

In the women's -48kg starting on Thursday, reigning European champion Eva Csernoviczki of Hungary is in the same half of the draw as Charline Van Snick, the Belgian who has already said she is determined to win gold in Baku. They are scheduled to meet in the semi-final.

In the -52kg class, Russia's Natalia Kuziutina and Romanian Andreea Chitu are most likely to fill the gap left by Majilinda Kelmendi.

Three Olympic medallists are competing in the -57kg category. Giulia Quintaville of Italy won in Beijing, while Corina Caprioriu of Romania and Automne Pavia of France won silver and bronze respectively at London 2012.

In the women's visually impaired judo -57kg starting Friday, local star Sabina Abdullayeva is ranked no.3 in the world but her first opponent might be her toughest - world no.6 Maria Monica Merenciano Herrero of Spain.

World and European champion Clarisse Agbegnenou of France won all of her 32 international bouts in 2014 and looks like the top contender for yet another -63kg title.

The Netherlands' Kim Polling is the defending European -70kg champion, a title she has held for three consecutive years, although she could face Sally Conway in the semi-final, the woman who defeated her at the Baku Grand Slam earlier this year.

Great Britain's Gemma Gibbons and Audrey Tcheumeo of France are -78kg silver and bronze medallists respectively from London 2012, with the latter currently ranked no.1 in the world.

In the +78kg class, France's Emilie Andeol comes to Baku as the defending European champion, top of the European ranking list and with a bronze medal from the last world championships. Her strongest opponent might be Germany's Franziska Konitz, the European no.2, whom she would not face before the final.

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