On 6 November, the finals of the National Judo Championships started at Artek. This is the first time Crimea is hosting a tournament at this level. It united about 800 young people aged 13−16 from all of Russia’s regions. On the first day of the competition, four sets of matches in the lightweight classes were played. The championships will take place until 9 November, and 17 sets will be played during this time in total. The strongest judokas will then make it to Russia’s national team, which will attend the 2018 European Judo Championships in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well other international tournaments.
The finals of the National Championships at Artek were preceded by an educational program by the Russian Judo Federation: 100 young athletes from around the country trained at Artek on 18 October – 6 November. Artek also hosted educational seminars and workshops by Olympic, world and European championships medalists.
The National Championships opening ceremony was attended by Chairman of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov, his Deputy Chairman Igor Mikhailichenko, Director of Artek Alexei Kasprzhak, Crimean Minister of Sport Yelizaveta Kozhicheva, CEO of the Russian Judo Federation Valentin Khabirov, and Manager of Russia’s National Team Ezio Gamba.
“We, the people of Crimea, are happy to welcome the participants, coaches and fans of the championships,” noted Vladimir Konstantinov, who also heads the Crimean Judo and Sambo Federation. “Judo has good prospects in Crimea: we have an excellent base and talented, young candidates for the team. I wish all the participants success until the end and hope they achieve the results they have planned for!”
“Artek is a place where young people can show their potential and who are working hard for it, be it art, technology or, as in this case, sport,” said Director of Artek Alexei Kasprzhak in his address to the participants of the championships.
“I believe the most important thing is not victory over your opponent, but victory over yourself. I wish success to all of you.” He also noted that many successful judokas spent time at Artek and presented one of them to the audience: Honorary Chairman of the jury Alexei Levitsky.
According to the Head Manager of Russia’s National Team, Ezio Gamba, preparations for the tournament started long before it was held: “Two years ago, I came to Artek for the first time to evaluate its capability to hold the Championships. Let me stress that it’s a great place to host these events: even the European Championships could be hosted here.”
Ezio Gamba also praised the high level of the participants: “There are many promising athletes; I am sure that you will hear some of their names in the future.”
“Judo is a beautiful and spectacular sport; it has many nice amplitude throws, a lot of which we have seen today,” said Arsen Galstyan, honorary guest of the tournament and winner of the 2012 Olympic Games. “It is important to promote this sport with the youth, because it develops you not only as an athlete but as a person. This is what we do: we hold workshops and communicate with young people, so they can grow and become champions.”
Four sets of matches in the lightweight classes were played on the first day. The winner of the -40 kg category was Tatyana Kovshova from the Krasnoyarsk Region: she defeated representative of the Krasnodar Region Diana Dzhurayeva in the finals. “This is not the first time I met Diana on the tatami,” the champion said.
“She is a strong athlete. Last year, at the National Championships in Orenburg I was within an inch of victory. I won silver, which is a “bitterest medal.” That’s why this year I’ve been preparing for the Championships as hard as I could, and today’s victory is especially meaningful to me!”