Prague, Czech Republic gets set to host the 2022 European Open Tour
The judo world will descend upon the city of Prague for this weekend’s European Judo Tour. Stop number three, of this 16-event tour, is shaping up to be a highly contested event with more than 550 entries from 44 countries competing across the 14 weight divisions with several divisions seeing more than 50 judokas in the draw.
The host country, the Czech Republic, have entered 27 athletes into the competition, but France and Germany will have the largest delegations with France sending 48 athletes and Germany sending 62.
After spending the past week at a training camp in Warsaw, Poland, the 14 members of Team JudoAus will be heading into Prague poised to finish off this leg of their European tour with strong results.
Tinka Easton will be representing Team JudoAus in the Women’s -52 kg Division. This will be Tinka’s fourth event on this tour and her third European Open. She will be looking for a spot on the podium having just missed out with a 5th place finish in Sarajevo a fortnight ago.
In the Women’s -63 kg Division, Maeve Coughlan and Katharine Haecker will be representing Team JudoAus as both look to finish their tour on a high note. For M. Coughlan, she will be seeking her first win of the season after suffering very hard-fought and unfortunate losses in her previous two events. Haecker will be searching to build upon her result from the IJF Grand Slam event in Tel Aviv where she narrowly missed out on an opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals in her second-round match against Nadja Bazynski of Germany.
The next Team JudoAus representative is Aoife Coughlan who will be competing in the Women’s -70 kg Division. After sitting out at last week’s competition in Warsaw to rest following her performance at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam event, A. Coughlan will be eager to get back on the mat and hope to make it third time lucky after two 5th Place finishes in a row.
Rounding out the women’s Team JudoAus competitors will be Maria Swan and Olena Usenko who will both be competing in the Women’s -78 kg Division. This will be both judoka’s third event on this tour and both will be looking to secure their first win this season. Young Maria Swan, who was recently selected to represent Team JudoAus as a Junior at the upcoming Pan-American – Oceania Championships in Lima, Peru, will be eager to get her first win in senior’s competition after outstanding performances in her last two events. For Usenko, she will want to finish off the tour on a high note after strong outings in Warsaw and Sarajevo.
In the Men’s -73 kg Division, Jake Bensted and Sam King will represent Team JudoAus. Both judokas will be competing in their fourth event of the tour and will be looking to finish on a positive. Bensted will look to finish his tour the way he started it, with a win in his first match at the IJF Grand Prix in Portugal. For King, he will be poised to build upon his last two results from Sarajevo and Warsaw that saw him win his first match at each event.
Three Team JudoAus members will be competing in the Men’s -81 kg Division at this weekend’s event. Calvin Knoester will be competing for only the second time on this tour and will be looking to get his first win after a strong performance in Warsaw. Rihari Iki will also be looking for his first win of the season after two very strong performances in Sarajevo and Warsaw. For Uros Nikolic, he will be looking to build upon his results that saw him win his first-round match in Sarajevo a fortnight ago.
Harry Cassar and Rob Vukovich will be representing Team JudoAus in the Men’s -90 kg Division. Cassar will be hoping to finish his tour strong after several superb outings in his last three events. Vukovich will also be looking to finish on a positive following two hard-fought matches in Sarajevo and Warsaw.
Wrapping up the Team JudoAus competitors is Liam Park who will be competing in the Men’s +100 kg Division. Park will want to build upon his previous performances in Sarajevo and Warsaw with a win at this weekend’s event.
The European Open in Prague will be the last stop for Team JudoAus before they return home to prepare for the Pan American Oceania Championships scheduled for April 9 – 17 in Lima, Peru.
The draw for this weekend’s event will be announced before the start of each day’s competition and you can watch all the action free and live on the IJF livestream channel - https://live.ijf.org/
The competition is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm AEST on Saturday March 5 and Sunday March 6.
Day 1 will see the following Team JudoAus members in Action:
Tinka Easton – Women’s -52 kg Division
Maeve Coughlan – Women’s -63 kg Division
Katharina Haecker – Women’s -63 kg Division
Jake Bensted – Men’s -73 kg Division
Sam King – Men’s -73 kg Division
Day 2 will see the remaining Team JudoAus members in action:
Aoife Coughlan – Women’s -70 kg Division
Maria Swan – Women’s -78 kg Division
Olena Usenko – Women’s -78 kg Division
Rihari Iki – Men’s -81 kg Division
Calvin Knoester – Men’s -81 kg Division
Uros Nikolic – Men’ s-81 kg Division
Harry Cassar – Men’s -90 kg Division
Rob Vukovich – Men’s -90 kg Division
Liam Park – Men’s +100 kg Division
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Article by: Charles Hall