Kosovo with two big shortages, but with a trump card for a European medal

European Judo Championship

A total of 427 judokas from 47 different countries will compete in the European Championships that will be held from Thursday to Sunday in Zagreb, Croatia. Among the participants are also five judokas from Kosovo.

Master Driton Kuka's team has two major absences for the continental championship. Two of the best judokas, Nora Gjakova and Laura Fazliu, are absent due to injuries. They are, however, expected to be ready for the main event of the year, the Olympics.

Although two of the best, Nora and Laura, are missing, Kosovo has the upper hand for medals. The European is an event where Kosovo regularly wins medals and it is expected to be so this time as well.

Distria Krasniqi is the first runner in the category up to 52 kilograms and therefore the main favorite for gold. The medal race is expected to be challenged by the Italian Odette Giuffrida, the Hungarian Reka Pupp and the Israeli Gefen Primo.

Distria competes on Thursday. In the first round she is free, while in the second she faces the Ukrainian Anna Borodina.

Flaka Loxha also competes on Thursday, in the category up to 57 kilograms. Croatian Tihea Topolovec will face her in the second round. Flaka is not among the carriers and lining up in the top eight would be success for him.

Akil Gjakova and Dardan Cena compete on Friday. Both appear in the category up to 73 kilograms. Achilles and Dardani are also not carriers. Martin Hojak will face Akil Gjakova in the first round. Dardan Cena takes the first round, based on the draw, without a fight.

Akil Gjakova was detained by the police last week, after accusations of domestic violence. He was released on Friday and immediately returned to training. The court had rejected the request for Gjakova to be placed in custody.

Akili is considered one of the best judokas in the world in the category up to 73 kilograms and is a candidate for a medal at the European Championships in Zagreb.

On Saturday, Loriana Kuka seeks a European medal in the category up to 78 kilograms. Loriana is also not among the carriers. In the second round, he will face the Portuguese Patricia Sampaio.

The European has a lot of weight, but it is not the main focus of the team of master Driton Kuka.

The big goal for this year is the judo competition at the "Paris 2024" Olympic Games. The eventual medal in Paris would confirm the extraordinary work of Kuka and his students. The European serves, among other things, to test the form before the culminating event.

From May 19 to 23, the World Judo Championship will be held in Abu Dhabi. In the Olympic Games, judo competitions are held from July 27 to August 2.