The Bosnia Herzegovina Judo Federation wants to have it all. Such a small country, also a small judo country and still organising so many events. This weekend juniors from 24 countries in Europe will visit Banja Luka for the Junior European Cup. Can you imagine that Bosnia also hosted the Senior European Cup, European Open and is going to organise the cadet World Championships in August?
What a performance on its own. These events will teach them how to manage that top event in August.
The athletes fighting in Banja Luka will just go for the medals, not for the organisation points. Their focus is to beat their peers. With a strong team from France, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Hungary and Azerbaijan the seeding is good enough to feel that competition.
Banja Luka is yet the eighth Junior European Cup of the season like nothing has happened over the past two years. Judo is up to speed and some of the top athletes are on the radar for the Junior European Championships in Prague in September. So far Banja Luka has the weakest field, let’s face it. Still for each level there is plenty of rivalry and lessons to learn. Former Balkan champion Mila Petrovic is Bosnia’s top seed (7th) U52kg, but the majority of the medal candidates will come from France and Italy. Strong names such as Lea Beres, Kenny Liveze, Jean Enzo, Driss Masson, Pauline Cuq and Daniyl Zoubka will shine in the French squad.
Valerio Accogli is one of the top seeds of Italy and Poland brings its 2020 Junior European Champion Katarzyna Sobierajska to Banja Luka. She took a fifth place in Graz and has the opportunity to take revanche and reset. Last year she took a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships and can be named as the most promising junior in Poland.