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     The G4 European Championships were completed successfully in Bari, Italy. The long-awaited, by all European athletes, the event was realized 1-3 November in 'Palaflorio' stadium, where almost 250 European athletes participated from overall 45 countries, including the WT Refugee Team, claiming one place to the podium and getting a little closer to the Olympic dream of participating in Tokyo 2020.

   During the first competition day on 1 November, the national teams of Turkey and Russia prevailed in women's category with 2 medals for each country. Rukiye YILDIRIM (TUR) won the gold medal in -49kg category and Selina ARGIS the silver medal in the -53 category, while Russian Tatiana KUDASHOVA won the gold in the same category and was left with the bronze medal in -49kg with Elisaveta RYADNINSKAYA. The silver medal in the same category was claimed by Ela AYDIN from Germany and the remaining bronze by Kyriaki KOUTTOUKI (CYP).

     Men's categories proved to be more diverse, with Alessandro Dell'Aquila winning the gold medal for Italy in the -58kg, followed by Ireland's favorite Jack Wooley, and Gashim MAGOMEDOV (AZE) with Jesus TORTOSA CABRERA (ESP) who remained at the 3rd place respectively.

     The champions of the category -63kg were formed by the favorite to win Jaouad ACHAB from Belgium, and Lovre BRECIC from Croatia in the second place, while on the 3rd place was Spain with Marcos CABALLERO and the new medal entry of Hungary with Levente JOZSA.

     The second competition day came with the greatest surprise of these championships, as the double Olympic Medalist Jade Jones (GBR) lost from the Turkish Irem YEMAN, leaving the first one with the silver medal of the -57kg category, followed by Raheleh ASEMANI (BEL) and Marta CALVO GOMEZ (ESP), all having participated in Rio 2016.

     In the men's divisions, the Spanish Javier PEREZ POLO reached the top and claimed the gold medal against Bradly SINDEN (GBR) who despite the odds left with the silver medal and Russian Alexey DENISENKO, along with Si Mohamed KETBI (BEL) who followed in the third place.

     In -80kg category, Anton KOTKOV (RUS) made it to the top and the gold medal, Toni KANAET from Croatia followed with the silver medal and Simone ALESSIO (ITA) with Denys VORONOVSKYI (UKR) were awarded the bronze one.

     The third and final day of the championships was completed with women's -67kg category where the favorite Lauren WILLIAMS proved the predictions true and claimed the gold medal, leaving behind the silver Magda WIET HENIN from France and Matea JELIC with Nur TATAR ASKARI from Croatia and Turkey respectively.

     One more British favorite succeeded in adding one more gold medal in her collection; Bianka WALKDEN came at the first place for one more time against Lorena BRANDL from Germany, who took the second place, while both of them left behind a pair of very skillful athletes; Turkey's Nafia KUS and Serbia's Milica MANDIC who remained at the 3rd place and took the bronze medal of the +67kg category.

      In the remaining men's division and the +80kg, Russia prevailed one more time, with was Aiukaev RAFAIL (RUS) winning the gold medal, Alexander BACHMANN (GER) the silver, and Ivan Konrad TRAJKOVIC from Slovenia with Roberto BOTTA from Italy being awarded the 3rd place and the bronze medal.

     

During the second day, the Opening Ceremony of the event also took place in PalaFlorio stadium, with all participating countries' tags making their entrance to the venue, as all volunteers were carrying the tags of each participating country, parading around the arena at the present of WTE officials and accompanied by an audiovisual production and a cheering crowd. 

 

 

     During the Opening Ceremony, WTE Secretary-General Michael Fysentzidis was present stating during his speech:" [...] As Taekwondo Europe, we are determined to be innovative and deliver first-class events, of which the Taekwondo Family will be proud, create positive memories, and an excellent legacy of athletes to inspire future generations to take-up, and continue to practice taekwondo at elite level. Also, allow me to warmly thank WTE Vice-President and President of the Bari 2019 Organizing Committee Angelo Cito, for delivering this prime event, and for giving us the privilege of welcoming you all from beautiful Italy; a landmark country in the history of European taekwondo and recent host of the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series."

 

     Mr. Angelo Cito, President of the Italian Taekwondo Federation and also WTE Vice President mentioned in his speech while welcoming the athletes to Italy:  "[...] Taekwondo is one special sport because it is made by special people, who strongly believe in sport and in Olympic values. [...] I thank the President of WTE Sakis Pragalos and all of you for the precious work we have done all together over the years, making Europe the leading continent of this wonderful sport. I wish all of you, Athletes, Coaches, Referees to realize your dream of participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

 

 

 

 

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