Florian Bologa from Romania will go into the books as the very first gold medalist of the European Para Championships. The judoka in the up to 73 kilogram (J1) class found it a great honor to extend his European title precisely at the new event.
“It’s a great feeling. The atmosphere here is amazing, the competition is being organized very well and it is very important to have such a competition. Every Paralympic athlete and para judo athlete deserves a competition like the able-bodied athletes do.”
Thanks to the title, the Romanian continues with satisfaction towards the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024. “I feel very good. This kind of result gives me a lot of confidence and I feel like all my hard work has paid off. Paris 2024 is the main goal. The aim at the Paralympics is to get a medal. Of course I would like to be a Paralympic champion, but for me any medal would be great for sure.”
Other colleagues who won a medal on the first day of the judo tournament are also on the route to Paris in Rotterdam. Silver-medalist Namig Abasli of Azerbaijan (J2, -73kg) learned a lot from his defeat in the final. “This time, I wasn’t able to win, but I will for sure do it next time.This silver is good for now, but the gold is my next goal. This competition was a good practice towards Paris 2024 and I will only learn from it.”
Ukrainian Inna Sych, winner of gold in the J2 -57kg class, called her win “an important step towards qualification on the way to next year’s Games.”
Fellow countryman Davyd Khorava celebrated gold in the J2 -60kg class in similar fashion. “To be a European champion is only one step on the long way leading to the Paralympic Games. We don’t stop here, we will continue to fight and to train for other future competitions. I hope that this medal will bring more success in the future, not only for me but for my entire country.”
Spaniard Luis Lorenzo Gavilan lost to Khorova in the final and was clearly disappointed. “I’m not too happy to be honest, because I expected more. For me, it’s not the best competition. I felt very good and strong, but I lost the competition because of my own mistakes. But it was another opportunity to get more combats and to get more fights against some of the best opponents. That is important for me towards Paris.”