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Malta International Judo Open

The 26th International Malta Open this year was moved to April, and it looked like a very good decision because the Maltese Team had a better opportunity to prepare. Participants in these events came from the traditional strong clubs in Italy and a few other countries.

The Malta Open on Saturday is the greatest opportunity that Maltese Judoka have in participating in an international event at low cost, because everything is organized in Malta. It gives the opportunity also to Maltese National Referees and Table Officials to take part in an International event locally.

Amongst the delegates, there were several internationally renowned coaches at this event, such as Michele Monti – 3rd at the European Championships 2004, 1st at the World Military Games 2002, 3rd at the World Team Championships 2002, 1st at the European Team Championships 2001; Nicola Ripandelli has been in Malta several times, and has participated in both European and World Kata Championships. Ripandelli is well-known in the Kata World, and has won several European titles. Amongst the well renowned athletes, are Francesca Ripandelli - she will be fighting for her second time at the Malta International Judo Open, still a Junior athlete but with a promising career; Orazio D’Allura – 3rd at the World Military Games 2001, 1st European Team Championships 2001; and Salvatore Allegra – 3rd at the World Military Games 2005, 2nd Junior European Championships 2009.

Marcon Bezzina showed her old supremacy by eliminating all her opponents by Ippon (full points). Besides Joanna, there were 3 stong Italian Judoka coming from Sicily and Rome with International experience. Marcon threw in all her experience and dominated the event to win gold in the Open Female Category, to be followed by Angelina Bombara Angelina, Bronze in the last World Cadet Championships, and Joanna Camilleri.

Joanna managed to come back to the golden team by systematically eliminating her opponents in her category.

Jeremy Saywell tried his luck in the heavier -73 kgs Male Open Category. When he took part in his own weight and age category, (-66kgs Juniors), the same category he will be representing Malta in the Youth Olympic Games, Jeremy was dominant. He flew around, countering his Italian opponents’ attacks with his characteristic flip-overs and managed to slip into his favourite techniques throwing most of his opponents by Ippon (full points), ultimately winning gold.

Unfortunately, there was only 1 opponent for Isaac Bezzina who was weighing 5 kilos heavier, and did not have a second opportunity.

3 other members of the National Team Pool, Alexander Gribinets, Shawn Farrugia and Tiziana Apap did not fair too bad and managed to secure a bronze medal each.

The two cadet member in the National Team Pool showed a great prospect for the future. Artem Pashkov beat his 2 opponents winning gold and Tyron Zerafa made his debut in international competition.

On the whole, the Maltese Team faired very well, placing first in the medal table.