Russia looked powerful in the men’s category of the Albania 2022 President’s Cup, winning six (06) of the eight medals in dispute at the Fafa Resort in Dürres, dominating the 54kg, 58kg, 63kg, 68kg, 74kg and +87kg categories.
Also in the men’s category, Italy -80 kg and Croatia -87 kg, took the rest of the first places in the competition, beating their rivals in a resounding manner.
In the women’s event, the Turkish women took the lead with three first places in the -46 kg, -49 kg and +73 kg categories, France won in the -67 kg and -73 kg categories, while Russia took the -53 kg and -62 kg categories.
Finally, Great Britain secured a gold medal by winning in -57 kg.
With these results, the Russian Taekwondo Federation achieved the highest number of results at the 2022 President’s Cup with eight (08) gold medals in six (06) in the men’s and (02) in the women’s categories, achieving a total of fifty percent of the gold medals in dispute in this G2 event, guaranteeing 20 gold medals in the overall tally.
The Russians also won (05) silver medals and seven (07) bronze medals.
Turkey would place second with three gold and four bronze medals to take seven (07) medals.
France was the third best team with two gold, two silver and one bronze for a total of 05 medals. The other split of golds went to Croatia and Great Britain, who took overall 07 and 04 medals at the end of the day.
Straight to Manchester
The event invitation informed that the gold medal winners in each category would get a direct pass to the European Taekwondo Championships.
In this way, Russia, Turkey, France, Croatia and Great Britain obtained Wild Card for the European Championships to be held in May in Manchester.
Stars and promises
Here in Dürres we saw a good number of Elite athletes returning to competition, many had not competed since Tokyo, others since the beginning of the pandemic.
Obviously many were affected by the lack of events, which will now be corrected with the start of the European events schedule.
The British athlete Jade Jones, who worked hard in each of her bouts to win gold, made a successful return to the international stage.
Italy’s Alessio Simone was superb on the final day. Olympic champion Larin Vladislav steamrollered several of his opponents, and Olympic runner-up Minina Tatiana answered the odds with a golden display, and three of the tournament’s other highlights.
The Turkish athletes proved to be at a high level, and it was clear that France is aiming for medals in Paris 2024 with some top coaches and committed athletes.
An event to forget for Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Adriana Cerezos, who was unable to decipher her Turkish rival. Speaking of Spain, after almost two years of competitive inactivity, Marta Calvo took bronze in -62 kg, and Javier Pérez Polo won silver in -68 kg.
Tokyo -58 kg Olympic gold medallists Vito Dell’Aquila and African crack Cheick Cisse, gold medallist at Rio 2016, also failed to make the podium, falling at the start of their bouts.
There were some spectacular individual performances in this tournament with Nickolas Carl of the United States, who although he was unable to beat the Italian world champion, was very spectacular in his previous rounds at -80kg.
Croatia with its high level of competition was also a strong rival for the dominant teams, Russia and Turkey.
Secrets of Russia
Today Russia is the leading power in the sport. At the Tokyo Games, their progress seems to be matched by a resourceful policy that allows them to organise national competitions and travel to events in Europe. Another point that is helping them is the personalisation of the coach to the athlete. Each Elite athlete has his or her own multidisciplinary team, which optimises the work.
In addition, the combat system they are applying is uniform and they know very well the way of kicking, as well as the impressive physical condition of each of the athletes.
Authorities at work
The European Taekwondo Union referee chiefs, ETU directors, judges and organisers were attentive to any situation in order to solve it in the shortest possible time.
From the technical and organisational point of view everyone has done their best to make this 7th edition of the President’s Cup a success.
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