After a long week and months of training, the final gold medals were won today in front of a large crowd at the Stade Georges Carpentier in Paris.
Among the dignitaries present and involved in the medal ceremonies were Patrick Karam, vice-president for youth and sport in the Ile-De-France region, and Alexander Schicklick from UNESCO. (video below)
The athletes were well-supported by an international crowd, with loud cheers especially for Israel, Ukraine and of course France.
First up was Fanny Ramos (France) against Daria Ganzvind (Russia) at 48kg. Fanny was later awarded Fighter of the Tournament, for her superb all-round skills and ability to work both on the inside and outside of her opponents’ range. She won the gold on points.
Russian Charak Murtazaliev faced Turkey’s Zubeyr Barin at 48kg. This was a tense bout with Barin taking the win on one point.
At 51kgs French champion Myriame Djedidi faced Gabriela Kuzawinska, bronze medalist at The World Games. Myriame has a strong clinch game, and focused on this using a strong stance to set up her throws and firing knees as she went. Gabriela used a powerful teep-kick in defence but could not do enough giving France another gold.
Another bronze medalist from The World Games Mkhalio Vasylioglo (Ukraine) defeated Italy’s Alex Avogadro in a convincing win.
Egor Ishchuk (Russia) told IFMA earlier this week he had a plan for the finals, and he certainly executed that against Talha Bogaz (Turkey). A slow first round set the ground for an explosive third with Egor piling on hand combinations especially a right overhand followed by lower leg-kick to score points – pulling away for the gold medal.
France was up again at 54kg when world cup winner Juliette Lacroix (France) faced The World Games and former IFMA champion Sofia Olofsson (Sweden). Sofia took the gold with an incredible display of powerful knees and clinch-work in spite of a brave display from Juliette.
Another gold for Russia in the male 54 division when Rakhimov Kholmurod won on points against defending champion Roman Vagilevych (Ukraine). This was a battle of the hands with Rakhimov forcing the pace.
The 57kg gold came down to just one point after a fantastic three rounds. Rui Botelho (Portugal) won against Valentyn Bulat (Ukraine) 29:28 points.
Up next was two-time world champion and bronze The World Games medal winner Nili Block (Israel) against Russia’s Ekaterina Vinnikova at 60kg. Both started strongly, going into the grapple seeking an advantage but Nili pulled away in the later rounds in a relentless barrage of blows from both sides.
Maksim Petkevich scored another gold for Belarus following yesterday’s win in the women’s division when he won over Abdulmalik Mugidinov (Russia). The 63.5kg bout was fast from the start, Maksim pressing home a slight height advantage, using a teep kick to good effect.
In the 67kg division Oleh Huta (Ukraine) defeated Byran Matias (France) to the disgust the home crowd! Both experienced athletes, Huta won on straight points, his second time claiming a European title having won in Cracow in 2014
His team-mate Vasyl Sorokin , defending champion and silver medal winner at The World Games took on Turkey’s Guzel Baris at 71kg over three rounds. Sorokin started fast with high kicks, and his typical hard right-hand power-blows. He took the win on points.
Another Turkish athlete Osman Ceken faced Konstantin Khuzin (Russia) at 75kg. This was a close bout. Konstantin started well, but Osman was very strong in the grapple, scoring well on the inside and he took the win by one point.
Up at 81kg was Mikita Shostak (Belarus), bronze medalist from The World Games against Nadir Iskhakov (Russia). Mikita has improved hugely in skills over the last 12 months, and pushed home strongly with teep-kicks and a strong left hand for a points win.
The 86kg division also came down to one point after a hectic three rounds. Andreas Gardasevic (Sweden) powered in strong low-kicks, taking the centre of the ring when possible with Mikhail Sartakov (Russia) fighting back with left hook and body combinations. The gold went to Sweden on 29:28.
The Czech Republic’s Jakub Klauda, champion at 86kg last year and bronze at The World Games faced Serdar Eroglu (Turkey) at 91kg.
The final bout of the night was worth the wait at 91+. Lorenzo Jimenez (Spain) met with Amine Kebir (France) and the might of the French crowd. After a slow start, this picked up in the second round with both going for it with their hands, and after a frantic third round France claimed another gold.
Medals were awarded during the day, with help from very young athletes training at a muaythai gym in Paris to carry the medals.
Full results on IFMA Live