History Tre Torri 2002

History Tre Torri 2002

In this report I would like to outline what I feel has characterised the 2002 edition of the Adriatic Judo Tournament.

Among the leading European nations FRANCE clearly stood out. Their national team had been absent since 1995 (the year when, with a female team accompanied by YVES DELVINGT and including such prestigious names as the world champion MARIE CLAIRE RESTOUX, MAGALI BATON, and KARINE RAMBAULT, they won the tournament). This year they returned with a male team comprising eleven athletes under the careful guidance of their coach FRANCK CHAMBILLY, who was a member of the Olympic team at the 1996 Atlanta games. He sought to demonstrate his approval, not just by taking part in the training camp with his full team, but by ensuring, together with his Technical Director FABIEN CANU, that FRANCE would be present at the 2003 edition of the tournament.

An illustrious guest, who proved very uncomfortable for our Olympic Champion PINO MADDALONI, accompanied the French delegation: the Franco-Tunisian athlete FERRID KHEDER, a frequent medal winner in "A" Series International Tournaments (Paris, Wuppertal, etc.) Now featuring in the Tunisian national team, he took part in the training camp and guaranteed his participation in TRE TORRI '03.

One of the special features of this tournament, FERRID revealed to us, is the ideal climate which it affords for practising Judo without the stress of needing to achieve a result at any cost. It is an opportunity to return to the original purpose of Judo: "to work together for growth and progress". On this occasion our transalpine cousins' team was made up of a mixture of young Judokas and athletes who have already acquired expertise in the international field, such as GEROME DREYFUSS. Taking part in the tournament for the first time, he had to be satisfied with third place (the bronze medal) in the heavyweight division, behind the Brazilian DANIEL HERNANDES and the Japanese YOHEI TAKAI.

Altogether, FRANCE won five medals including the Bronze in the women's -57 Kg category which went to HENRY VIRGINIE of Alsace representing the "Judo Club Peugeot Mulhouse". This was a particularly meritorious result considering that most of the countries present in Porto Sant'Elpidio fielded teams of Olympic calibre.

BRAZIL won gold in the men's events, while CUBA won the female competition: once again, as predicted, TRE TORRI '02 was altogether a Pan-American affair.

RONALDO VEITIA VALDIVIE's girls were unbeatable on a technical, tactical and athletic level. RONALDO admitted that at the time of the tournament his girls were only 30% ready, because the Cuban team was planning to be at peak fitness in time for the World Cup in Basel (Switzerland) on 31 August and 1 September '02 where RONALDO was aiming for victory.

During his stay in Porto Sant'Elpidio the trainer of the Caribbean "Dream Team" continued to plan for the competitions in SPAIN, FRANCE and PORTUGAL, where he would be able to continue to prepare his girls for Basel '02.

BRAZIL has been represented at TRE TORRI every year since 1990 with a substantial body of athletes, all of them competitive.

What characterises the Brazilian team above all is the spirit of that richly imaginative people which is capable of doing great work in the practice of Judo while having a good time.

The Brazil that we know at TRE TORRI always puts on a good show. They manage to achieve tremendous results with great naturalness, almost as though they were demonstrating how easy it was to do Judo. Brazil achieved the success which they deserved in the male tournament at "TRE TORRI" '02.

The new President, Mr. PAULO WANDERLEY TEIXEIRA, (an old acquaintance and a friend from the period when he was the coach of the national team, in the days of AURELIO MIGUEL, Olympic Champion in Seoul '88, and SAMPAIO ROGERIO CARDOSO, Olympic Champion in Barcelona '92) derived considerable satisfaction from the performance of his team. They dominated the male events, winning a total of six medals: golds for FLAVIO CANTO, the master of the "Ne Waza" (floor combat), at - 81 Kg, and the heavyweight DANIEL HERNANDES at +100 Kg, beating the young Japanese athlete YOHEI TAKAI with a perfect "O uchi gari" straight out of the manual; and silvers for ALEXANDER GUEDES at - 81 Kg and EDELMAR BRANCO ZANOL (- 90 Kg) who had to concede defeat to the extraordinary KEITH MORGAN (CAN) in the final.

EDELMAR BRANCO ZANOL, an athlete of great international stature who has always been unlucky in the big competitions because of accidents of one kind or another, returned to the international scene at TRE TORRI '02. This athlete from Sao Paolo, number one in Brazil, beat the Olympic runner-up HONORATO with an ippon in the qualifying rounds for TRE TORRI '02.

EDELMAR BRANCO ZANOL, who has won gold at the TRE TORRI tournament on more than one occasion (he was victorious in '96 and '97), came back with a prestigious silver after having to retire with a groin strain, beating athletes such as the Cuban champion TERRY YOSVANE DESPAIGNE.

ZANOL made a great impression with his determination and physical fitness; when interviewed the Brazilian champion admitted that his injury problems were due to over-training in his youth. He said that only now had he found the right work routine for optimum fitness. Unfortunately, because of this the Brazilian, a genuine talent, has missed many opportunities to enhance his already remarkable record.

SEBASTIAN PEREIRA, was awarded a bronze medal, his path being unexpectedly barred by the Slovenian JEREB SASO, winner of the -73 Kg category, who surprised the Brazilian champion with a lightning "Ippon" "Kuchiki Daoshi".

In this edition of the TRE TORRI competition PEREIRA proved once again to be an athlete with great qualities. From the look of the qualifying rounds it seemed certain that he would win his category, having performed extremely well with a series of "Ippon" notable for their style and beauty.

I think it is important to bear in mind that, quite apart from the sporting results, Judo should also be seen as an art. When athletes such as SEBASTIAN PEREIRA give us a demonstration of the sport it is something to be held up as an example.

Another solid performance was that of the Slovenian team, all of the members giving of their best. Their JEREB SASO won gold against our ANTONIO CIANO (Judo Maddaloni of Naples) while FERJAN KLEMEN came fifth in the - 81 Kg Category.

HOLLAND, another country highly esteemed in the world of Judo for the quality and competitive spirit of its athletes, was represented by a particularly numerous delegation. The teams were captained by Mrs. MARJOLEIN VAN UNEN, several times European champion and now coach of the national women's team, and her Judo master Mr. CHRIS DE KORTE, a well-known figure in the world of Judo who has been responsible for training many champions, among them MARK HUIZINGA Olympic champion at the Sydney games in 2000.

Mr. CHRIS DE KORTE, today Head Coach of the Dutch national team, was present at the TRE TORRI tournament for the first time. He complimented the organisers for the warmth of their welcome and the climate of friendship created at this extraordinary Italian Judo event.

The splendid location of the tournament in PORTO SANT'ELPIDIO, a seaside town with a splendid pine wood next to the "Holiday" Tourist Centre, not to mention the particularly suitable period, convinced Mr. CHRIS DE KORTE to repeat the experience at TRE TORRI '03. HOLLAND has booked its place both for the Tournament and the training camp.

Our event, which offers a wide range of opportunities, is constantly growing. At last even the Italians have realised the importance of being able to compete at home with athletes of international standing. Indeed, the interest of the Italian athletes has grown; many of them remained for the training camp after having had a great experience in the sporting competition and we can only say "It was about time".

JAPAN, with the national team of the "All Japan Judo Federation" could hardly miss this appointment. Their head coach Mr. HITOSHI SAITO, Olympic and world champion, kept the promise which he had made in Paris in front of Mr. YASUHIRO YAMASHITA.

Yamashita, our guest of honour as long ago as 1987, has always had a soft spot for our tournament. He has acted as a guarantor for the TRE TORRI as an international Judo competition deserving of attention.

The Japanese team, participating under the guidance of World Champion YOSHIMI MASAKI, official coach of the AJJF, swept the board with two golds and a silver. They gave a highly spectacular, technically accomplished display of Judo. MASATO UCHISHIBA recovered from the disappointment which he suffered two years ago at the hands of the Cuban World Champion MANOLO POULOT, (an illustrious name missing from this year's roll because of injury) to win the -60 Kg event against the Frenchman BERNARD LAURENT.

The final of the -66 Kg proved spectacular with MICHIRO OMIGAWA (an athlete highly skilled in floor combat, pupil of the famous KATSUHIKO KASHIWAZAKI of International Budo University), pitted against the Cuban multiple medal winner ARENCIBIA YORDANIS (who was winning the final with a "Yuko" "Ko uchi gari"). The Japanese athlete took advantage of the first opportunity which came his way to pin the Cuban to the floor in a perfect "Tate shiho gatame".

Another substantial presence was that of the Canadian delegation with 22 well-known athletes led by HIROSHI NAKAMURA, Head Coach of the Canadian national team and trainer of NICHOLAS GILL and KEITH MORGAN.

The women's team, coached by SYLVAIN HEBERT, included Olympic athletes of the calibre of MICHELLE BUCKINGHAM and others too numerous to mention.

Amongst the members of the Canadian delegation, two names stood out: NICHOLAS GILL, Olympic silver medallist (Sydney '02) and KEITH MORGAN.

Nicholas, constantly in action since the Spanish World Championships (Barcellona'91), with a long career behind him, overcame all his opponents with the "Ippon". Victorious once more in the -100 Kg category, he achieved his fourth success at TRE TORRI (95' - 00' - 01' - 02'). His teammate KEITH MORGAN, awarded the prize as best athlete in the -90 Kg event together with AMARILIS SAVON CARMENATE in the -52 Kg women's event, achieved victory once again after six years. In 1996 he won the -95 Kg category against the Seoul '88 Olympic Champion AURELIO MIGUEL, who in numerous appearances at TRE TORRI has never managed to win gold.

KEITH MORGAN was in great form at this edition of TRE TORRI, beating the Brazilian EDELMAR BRANCO ZANOL in the final. At the start of this spectacular contest there seemed little to choose between the two champions, first one man having the advantage and then the other. Finally the Brazilian from San Paolo, thinking that the referee was about to call a "Matte", lowered his guard. The Canadian seized his opportunity and caught his opponent with a classic "Tai otoshi" counterattack.

Another distinguished nation, ALGERIA, brought no fewer than 8 continental champions out of a total of 9 athletes.

In the -52 Kg women's event SALIMA SOUAKRI, twice placed fifth at the Olympic Games in three appearances and winner of the previous edition, conceded defeat to the Cuban AMARILIS SAVON CARMENATE by a "Kami Shiho Gatame" "Ippon".

The Algerian girl could not take part in the contest for third place because she had left the competition venue, an unpardonable error.

In the men's events we saw the Continental Champions OMAR REBAHI, (-60 Kg) and AMAR MERIDJA (-73 Kg). Meridja, a world-class athlete, won the -66 Kg event at the last TRE TORRI tournament, moving on this year to the -73 Kg category where he managed to survive two rounds. Finally his way was barred by the Slovenian JEREB SASO, the eventual winner. In the repechage he was beaten by the Swiss athlete CHRISTOPHE KELLER. Thus the competition came to an end for this sportsman from whom we have become accustomed to better performances.

NOUREDINE YAGOUBI, winner of the last edition, only managed fifth place in the -73 Kg category. He was beaten in the second round by our ANTONIO CIANO and in the repechage by the Brazilian SEBASTIAN PEREIRA.

In the -81 Kg category SALIM BOUTABCHA had to concede defeat to the Italian MARCO FAVARO who was representing Piemonte; in the repechage he was beaten once more by the Slovenian FERJAN KLEMEN.

In the -90 Kg event KHALED MEDDAH, a versatile athlete noted for his defeat of the Olympic Champion MARK HUIZINGA at the Munich world championships, was beaten by the Italian junior athlete IVAN TOMASETTI. Tomasetti, who is still developing, shows great promise and will undoubtedly impress us with his skill in the future.

In the first round of the -100 Kg category SAMY BELGROUNE beat LUIGI ROVERE of the F.F.O.O. and in the second round he overcame DANIEL DELL'AQUILA (Brazil) (an old friend of ours, present at previous editions of TRE TORRI, who replaced MIGUEL AURELIO at the Barcelona World Championships in '91 where he won the bronze medal). He went out in the semi-final against the ultimate winner of the category, the Frenchman DOMINIQUE VANBEVER.

In the +100 Kg category MOAHAMED BOUAICHAOUI overcame the Maltese competitor without serious difficulty in the first round but then had to admit defeat when faced by the young Japanese athlete TAKAI YOHEI.

Among the Italian competitors we should mention ORAZIO D'ALLURA who managed to survive for three rounds, beating Zoppitelli of A.S. BANZAI in the first, the Swede MATTIAS PETERSON in the second, and the Olympic medal winner HENRIQUES GUIMARAES of Brazil in the third. He was ultimately forced to give way to the Cuban champion YORDANIS ARENCIBIA. He won the bronze medal in the -66 Kg category beating the overall 2002 Italian champion MARCO MADDALONI, a famous result for the athlete from the GUARDIA DI FINANZA.