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19990224_Preparations for GSSE continue

    The French Judo Federation recently hosted the 26th Paris International Tournament in the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
    Ruben Micallef in the 60kgs, Silvano Cristauro in the 73kgs and Rebecca Wright in the 52kgs represented Malta in this annual event.
    The team was accompanied by coach Sergei Teliouk. The Maltese judokas' participation in this tournament was part of the preparation for the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) and was only possible thanks to the collaboration of the Olympic Committee funds.
    Living up to its reputation as one of the most prestigious events on the European judo calender, a total of 476 men and 200 women, from 62 member national federations assembled in Paris to compete in this tournament.
    For the first time in its history, the organisers tested a new coloured Tatami.
    The new colour insted of the traditional dark green, was dark yellow. This was tried out to provide a better contrast with the blue and white judogi.
    In addition, to better identify the stars of judo, four colours on the identification bibs were used. Similar to the system used during the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia in cycling,  the Paris organisers used different bibs to distinguish the Olympic, World and Continental champions.
     Each Olympic champion was identified by a yellow bib. World champions were marked by a red bib and each continental champion was attributed a grey coloured bib.
    All other competitors used the standard white bibs.
    The draws for the Malta team proved very difficult as Wright and Micallef were drawn against Japanese representatives - Egusa Tatsuaki in the 60kg and Narasaki Noriko in the 52kg.
    Noriko continued her advancement beating Olympic and World champion Restoux Marie Claire of France, placing third out of 30 competitors.
    Tatsuaki (60kg) carried on his winning spree only losing to Peas Oscar of Spain in the finals thus finishing second out of 32 competitors.
    Cristauro took Gera Csaba (Hungary) through the full five minutes losing only to half a point. Csaba finished fifth in one of the largest categories (43 competitors). Cristauro finished 16th in his category.
    Most of the competitors, including the Maltese, also stayed in Paris for a week training camp which enjoys widespread popularity.
    The Maltese had the opportunity to practise with the Olympic, world and continental champions, an experience which will surely be an asset for the Games in Liechtenstein next May.