Baku 2015 European Games news
Azerbaijan and Italy have each collected two men’s gold medals at the 2015 European Karate Championships.
Host Turkey failed to win a title in front of their home fans in Istanbul. However, only Turkey and France will send five men’s karatekas to the Baku 2015 European Games.
The 2015 European Championships served as the qualifiers for Baku 2015, with the top six athletes in each weight class securing berths for Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan’s 2013 European champion Rafael Aghayev won gold at the 75kg weight class by beating Germany’s Noah Bitsch, the bronze medallist from the 2014 Worlds.
Italy’s 2012 world champion and 2014 European champion Luigi Busà and Latvia’s Ruslans Sadikovs both won bronze while Turkey’s Erman Eltemur and France’s Logan Da Costa locked up the final 75kg spots for Baku 2015.
Azerbaijan’s other European crown went to Niyazi Aliyev at 67kg, where he beat Turkey’s Burak Uygur. Croatia’s Danil Domdjoni and Manuel Rasero Ruiz of Spain both won bronze with Hungary’s Martial Tadissi Yves and France’s Steven Dacosta will also compete at Baku 2015.
Both of Italy’s gold medals came as mild surprises. Nello Maestri won the gold at 84kg, beating Azerbaijan’s 2012 worlds bronze medallist Aykhan Mamayev in the final. France’s 2012 world champion and 2013 European champion Kenji Grillon claimed bronze as well as Turkey’s Ugur Aktas.
Kosovo’s Alvin Karaqi and Greece’s 2014 Georgios Tzanos both secured spots at Baku 2015 as well. Italy’s Luca Maresa captured the gold medal at 60kg, beating France’s Sofiane Agoudjil in the final. Russia’s 2014 worlds bronze medallist Evgeny Plakhutin and Spain’s Matias Gomez Garcia collected the bronze medals.
The 2014 European champion Emil Pavlov of Macedonia and Serbia’s Marko Antic secured the final two 60kg spots at Baku 2015 while Turkey’s 2013 European champion Aykut Kaya finished seventh and will miss out on the European Games.
The +84kg final saw a battle of giants as the 2010 world and 2011 European champion Sloboban Bitevic of Serbia beat Turkey’s two-time reigning world and European champion Ener Erkan.
Macedonia’s Martin Nestorovski and Jonathan Horne of Germany won the bronze medals while Portugal’s Felipe Reis and Spyridon Margartiopoulos of Greece also claimed two Baku 2015 berths.
Spain’s only men’s gold medal at the European Championships went to 2013 European champion Damián Hugo Quintero in the Kata. Turkey’s Mehmet Yakan claimed the silver while France’s Vu Duc Minh Dack and Italy’s Mattia Busano won the bronze medals.
Tural Baljanli of Azerbaijan and Denmark’s Christopher Rohde finished off the Baku 2015 field.
Turkish women have failed to win a European karate gold while an Italian duo will miss out on Baku 2015.
The hosts of the 2015 European Karate Championships Turkey collected four medals and will send a representative of each of the six women’s weight classes to the Baku 2015 European Games. But the Turks failed to come up with one gold medal.
The 2015 European Championships served as the qualifiers for Baku 2015, with the top six of each weight class securing berths for Azerbaijan. Two highly successful Italian karatekas failed to finish in the top six and will miss out on Baku 2015.
One was 2014 world champion Sara Cardin at the 55kg weight class. The Italian lost to Turkey’s Tuba Yakan early in the competition and then fell to Germany’s Linda Hagen in the repechage pool before eventually finishing ninth.
The 2014 world silver medallist, Emile Thouy of France, won the 55kg gold beating the 2013 European champion Yakan in the final.
Luxembourg’s Jennifer Warling and Spain’s Cristina Ferrer Garcia collected bronze – Warling being her country’s only Karate representative at Baku 2015. The final two European Games spots at 55kg went to Serbia’s Branka Arandjelovic and Jelena Kovacevic of Croatia.
The other big Italian name to miss out on Baku 2015 qualification will be +68kg 2012 world silver medallist Greta Vitelli, who finished seventh.
Croatia’s Masa Martinovic won the +68kg gold with Turkey’s Meltem Hocaoglu taking silver. Finland’s Helena Kuusisto and France’s 2012 world champion Nadège Aït-Ibrahim shared the bronze.
The other two Baku 2015 qualifiers were Russia’s Ivanna Zaytseva and Hana Antunovic, Sweden’s sole Karate representative in Azerbaijan.
France picked up a second gold medal with Lucie Ignace winning the 61kg title ahead of Croatia’s Ana Lenard. Slovakia’s Ingrida Suchankova and Spain’s Irene Colomar Costa won bronze with Turkey’s Merve Coban and Tjasa Ristic securing the final two 61kg spots at Baku 2015.
Austrian karatekas also won two gold medals. The 2014 European silver medallist Bettina Plank won at 50kg, beating France’s 2012 world champion and 2013 European champion Alexandra Recchia of France. Turkey’s reigning world and European champion Serap Özçelik won bronze along with Germany’s Duygu Bugur while Croatia’s Monika Berulec and Ukraine’s Kateryna Kryva claimed the final two 50kg spots for Baku 2015.
The other Austrian gold medallist was Alisa Buchinger at 68kg, the weight at which she claimed bronze at the 2014 worlds. Switzerland’s Elena Quirici won silver – and will be the country’s only karateka in Azerbaijan.
The 68kg bronze medallists were Montenegro’s Marina Rakovic and Cristina Vizcaino Gonzalez of Spain. Greece’s Vassiliki Panetsidou and Turkey’s 2013 European champion Hafsa Şeyda Burucu secured the other spots for Azerbaijan.
Spain’s only women’s gold medal at the European Championships went to Sandra Sanchez Jaime in the Kata, where she beat Turkey’s Dilara Bozan. Germany’s Jasmin Bleul and Czech Republic’s Veronika Miskova claimed bronze while France’s Sandy Scordo and Vlatka Kiuk of Croatia round out the Baku 2015 field.