Jeremy Saywell on the highest podium in Judo historyWednesday, May 2, 2012, 22:02
This weekend was packed with emotions for the Malta Judo Federation.
Marcon Bezzina represented Malta at the European Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia. This edition of the European Championships was one of the strongest since this was the last chance for European Judoka to qualify for the Olympic Games. Marcon was accompanied by Lamberto Raffi. Envic Galea, Louisa Galea and Alexis Milne were also present in Chelyabinsk as the European Judo Union General Secretariat. Marcon was psychologically prepared for the event, and went to the mat ready for the contest. She was drawn against KARADAG Selda from Turkey.
Karadag has a collection of results on her cv such as 3rd European Team Championships and 1st European Cup Seniors Istanbul in 2011, 5th IJF Grand Slam Abu Dhabi and 3rd World Cup Baku in 2010. The contest started off well balanced, but Marcon managed to score a yuko with a counter attack. She managed to keep the advantage for half of the contest, however Karadag started getting a top grip thus pushing marcon to a defensive position. The referee awarded 3 penalties to Marcon which converted to a wazari for Karadag. Though Marcon was clearly the stronger judoka of the contest, Karadag advanced in the category and her next match was a close encounter with the Israeli Schlesinger who eventually won bronze in the category. Marcon flew straight from Russia to Great Britain for a pre-Olympic Training Camp, where she will be accompanied by Joanna Camilleri and later Lamberto Raffi.
The Junior Squad made up of Jeremy Saywell and Isaac Bezzina, accompanied by Alex Bezzina, travelled to Tarvisio in Italy to compete in their first ever Junior European Cup, which is one level away from the European Championships. The top 8 judoka of each category at European Cups win ranking points on the EJU Junior Ranking list which is then used to seed the top judoka at the European Championships. On the first day, Jeremy Saywell competed in the -66kgs. He was drawn against DEMIERBE, Loic from Belgium. Jeremy immediately used his favourite weapon, his kataguruma (hand throwing technique), and scored ippon (full points). Jeremy tried his kataguruma again in his next match against LANG Dominik from Austria, however it only scored him a yuko (1 point). Jeremy managed to defend his advantage and therefore eliminated Lang.
It was then the turn of the Italian LEONARDI Giulio to succomb to Jeremy’s Kataguruma which he concluded for Ippon. In the quarter finals, our Saywell was against the German PHILIPP Marvin who has recently won a bronze medal at the Coimbra European Cup. Jeremy also eliminated Philipp with an ippon, this time by Kosotogari (leg throwing technique), and thus qualified for the semi-finals. Saywell had to contest BARTUSIK Michal from Poland who had just beat the Italian PIRAS Matteo, one of the favourites of the event. BARTUSIK tried attacking our Saywell but he immediately countered with a Sasai-tsurikomiashi (leg throwing technique) concluding with Ippon. The final match was against the well experienced CIGANOVIC Ilija from Serbia who has recently won a silver medal in the Senior European Cup in Bosnia Herzegovina. Jeremy started off by scoring a Wazari (10 points) with an uchi-mata (leg throwing technique). However, that was not enough for Jeremy to get on the highest podium, since his opponent managed to score a wazari and a yuko against him. With this well deserved silver medal, Jeremy is currently 19th on the ranking list (out of 59 judoka). The Malta Judo Federation is extremely proud of this result, being the first ever of its kind. It wasn’t the day for Isaac Bezzina, who at the European Cup in Tarvisio was drawn against the slovak HAJAS Matej who eliminated our Isaac in the first round.
Francesco Aufieri, accompanied by Vito Aufieri, was in Italy for the 3rd Trofeo Citta di Alcamo. He won his first contest when he threw LA BARBERA Marco with a drop Seoi Nage for Wazari. He won his second fight with a strangle against GENTILE Natale, thus winning his Gold medal. The -90kgs was only contested by 1 athlete, and Francesco volunteered to play also in that category. He beat MESSINA Umberto with an Ippon, winning a gold medal in this category as well.