In one weeks almost 500 Karatekas will be gathered in Prague, Czech Republic for the European Open weight Championship and the U-category/ cadets. Our focus are drawn to the open-weight category for women – since this is the selection for the World Tournament later on. But also on the menu Cadets, Juniors and Youth – Kata, not to forget. The Open weight category have at the time 33 fighters, from 14 nations..
With 33 fighters i the category it is clear that this will be a hard day reaching the top positions. We know that the level will be at it best, and the athletes have been doing their homework preparing for the tournament.
33 fighters means 5/6 fights to be the champion, and Open Weigh as we know will be a very demanding category to win. 33 fighters tells us that it is a strong support into the tournament. But taking this number up against the 14 nations tells us that we have to look a little deeper into it. With two nations cover 1/3 of the total number of fighters, it clear that it is not a equal platform for the nations. But there is nothing illegal with this. If fighters has been on the EC podium from before – they can be added as extra fighters, on top of the quota of two fighters from each nation. And as a result of that some nations can enter the tournament with large teams.
It is a debate among this, because it is can by some be taken as a message to the minor nations to “back off” – this is only for the strongest nations. On the other hand, we do see the tough that the level in total into the Word Championship could be lifted from the European region. So this will be a question of what kind of support one are interested to get in the future. One thing that easily could be regulated would be that if you had been on the EC podium the same year – not unlimited years back. Last year with almost the same number of fighters, we had team with over ten fighters from the same nation, a such of rule can only benefit those who all ready got the top position and have large teams.
The Line up gives us 16 fighters who has been on the European Championship senior podium in previous championship, eight of them in the last European Championship this spring. As we saw in the European Championship now this spring in Vilnius, the level of young up and coming fighters was very strong. Many of them challenged the senior elite – and that in their first senior European Championship. Some also speculate when it comes to weight differences, will the draw take this into consideration, with light vs light fighter – up to a certain point? It should not, if so the open-weight term would losing some of the point to it all.
We believe and in matter of fact hope that some “new faces” can make it trough this time. We have some many skilled fighters that deserve a “night in the spotlight” Building further on what we mention above, that many of the young up and coming fighters could make this happen. In Vilnius this spring we all was very impressed by fighters as Csenge Tóth / Hungary and Lili Mezo / Hungary, both fit the description above. But we also have to see the level – several of the fighters has been in more than one EC final from before, that gives us an indication about their capacity.
This tournament will be dominated by nations with the largest team – logically of course, because width and level belong together. So in this setting the teams that have the most athletes naturally have the highest qualifications as well. The upper half as we see it could consist of the following fighters as Camille Haddouche / France, Marta Lubos / Poland, Andrea Merca /Romania, Csenge Tóth / Hungary, Lili Mezo / Hungary
Rima Lisinskaitė / Lithuania, Nora Vaznelytė / Lithuania. And of course when some of these skilled fighters collide on the tatami – everyone will be very interested. All mention fighters above are naturally to find (mainly) in the mid/ upper half of the weight category system. But we have seen it before, and there are no automatic that only the heavier fighters win.
Lightweight fighters are also represented by several fighters. And as always there is a question about the weight difference in an open-weight tournament. In the eliminations rounds there will be 3-2-2 in total fight-time, from the quarterfinals it’s 3-2-2-2 before one must have a decision. We think that in this tournament with such a large line up, and with the possibility for long, long fights – one must have a sharp tactical game besides the skills of pure fighting. High pace movable fighting? Hard style, with every technique meant for knock out? Low pace with a wining last 30? And not to forget how the judges will evaluate what they see on the tatami. We are not surprised if we see fast decisions. Well for sure we will see it all.
The question would of course be: who can make it trough all the way to the top? -but it is natural that the selection process, that tells us who will be qualified to the World Championship will get a lot of attention. Top six fighters will get a ticket to the World Championship. Top 4 will be those who manage to reach the podium + 5th and 6th place. For place 5+6, two selection fights will be made. The losers from Quarter final block A and B have one fight and the losers from Quarter final in block C and D will have one fight.
To pick the top spots would be hard, but as mention we hope that we go into the second and third round with so many nations as possible – that will keep the excitement on a absolute top level. The draw, or the seeding will place the EC champions on the on the outer mark, but of course with so many top merited – and equal merited, this will be a puzzle which most likely requires the world’s finest machinery..
Official website: ec2019