One table was the centre of attention before the bouts began today; the table covered in gold, silver and bronze medals. Every athlete who entered the hall knew they had a chance to take one home today, everything depending on their heart and skills. (see video below)
And of course today being Friday, the afternoon seats filled up with people starting their weekend supporting their teams.
Youth athletes – boys and girls – took over the early part of the day. They were followed by some female divisions, and all of the finals for Competitive Male divisions. The youth and these male divisions wear protective gear around the body in addition to the helmet and limb-guards.
France and Slovenia faced off twice in the male division, taking one win each. Domen Vidmar won for Slovenia by just one point at 71kg and Nadym Ben Bakr for France against Saso Vorkapic in an exciting battle of the knees.
Another bout of interest was Mahmut Davlatov (IFMA refugee team) facing Czech republic’s Andreas Cehovsky in the youth division. This went right down to the final bell with Cehovsky taking the win by just one point: 29 to 28 points. Both teens fought hard, especially working well on the inside with the grapple and punch combinations.
In the senior women’s divisions it was a feast of champions as almost all athletes carried previous titles into the finals with them.
Two-time world champion Patricia Axling reclaimed her European title against a tough Russian opponent in Maria Klimova – an exciting points win of 29 to 28. Axling relied on her strong clinch and kneework, but when she was blocked she found a way through with fast hands, and forced her way into the scoreboards showing great technique.
Another great bout was at 67kg between Anastasia Nepianidi (Rus) former world champion and world champion Bediha Tacyildiz (Turkey). Anastasia used fast footwork to good effect, striking and moving back, throwing spinning back kicks and firing in punches to the body. Bediha fought a focused game, using low kicks and left jabs to counter, but the gold went to Anastasia.
Swedish athlete Angela Mamic won convincingly against Alina Ovchinnikova (Russia) at 71kg. Angela showed great power and spirit going forward with her plan to get the gold.
At 63.5kg The World Games champion Svetlana Vinnikova faced Finland’s Laressa Van Emden. Svetlana fought a technical battle, countering everything coming her way with long knees and a strong teep kick. She landed a strong back punch so in spite of Laressa’s strength in the grapple she couldn’t get the points. Svetlana added another gold to her collection.
Her team-mate Vera Negodina also had a good day, winning gold against Ganna Avakova, Ukraine.
And in the 75+ division world champion Dziyana Yemilyanava (Belarus) took a narrow win over Russia’s Irina Larinova, defending European champion.
Tomorrow is the last day with the remaining male and female finals!
Full results on IFMA Live