The Portuguese judoka, Telma Monteiro, became European champion on April 15 and won her 15th medal in 15 Europeans. At the age of 35, Telma reinforces her status as the most awarded athlete, holding more than a third (15 of the 35) of all Portuguese judo medals.
Even while coping with a shoulder injury during the qualifiers for the Olympic Games and the European, the athlete confessed after getting the medal that she was confident all along.
To be a European champion in Lisbon was a dream postponed since the 2008 event fail. In her curriculum, the judoka now has six golds - Tampere (2006), Belgrade (2007), Tbilisi (2009), Chelyabinsk (2012), Baku (2015) and Lisbon (2021) -, two silvers and seven bronzes.
Telma says she "knew it was going to be difficult" to compete for the title at home. In the final match against Kaja Kajzer (15th in the world and with whom Telma had lost in 2020, in Tel Aviv), she won by ippon at 39 seconds of extra time (golden score). Before the final, she had beaten the European champion duo, Sabrina Filzmoser (waza-ari), Mina Libeer (ippon) and Nora Gjakova, fourth in the world and a big favourite.
Telma Monteiro was honoured by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and received from his hands the Order of Merit medal, awarded by the Government. Interestingly, these distinctions were already scheduled to be awarded before the race started and had nothing to do with the new gold medal.
The athlete represents Benfica, has collected more than 20 medals, is the only Portuguese Olympic medalist in activity, the third with the most medals ever in the sport, and the main responsible for the growth of Judo in Portugal. According to data from the Federation, the number of practitioners rose 30%, hitchhiking on her victories and media coverage.
Bronze for João Crisóstomo
João Crisóstomo, who won the bronze medal shortly before Telma Monteiro, said that the award "tasted just like gold" because it was conquered at home. The judoka from Universidade Lusófona was the surprise of the day when he eliminated strong opponents and conquered a podium seat.
The Portuguese beat Belarusian Dzmitry Minkou and won bronze in the -66 kg category by waza-ari. In the semi-finals, Crisóstomo had been surprised with an ippon by the Italian Manuel Lombardo close to the 30 seconds mark.
Before that, the 63rd judoka in the world had already won three fights in extra time (golden score) and made history by successively eliminating Patrick Wawrzyczek (54), by waza-ari, Nijat Shikhalizada (21), by ippon, and Gaitero Martin (9th), by ippon.
João Crisóstomo, with his surprising third place in the -66 kg, climbed nine positions in his category, now occupying the 54th position. Bárbara Timo, who was already in an eligible place for the Olympic Games at -70 kg, went up two spots in the ranking (12th).
In contrast, Rochele Nunes, bronze in +78 kg, maintained the 11th position, taking into account that he had also been bronze in the European competitions in past November.
Among the remaining judokas in eligible places, Catarina Costa (-48 kg) maintained the eighth position, Joana Ramos (-52 kg), defeated in the second match in Lisbon, fell two places (23rd, 17th in qualifying), and world champion Jorge Fonseca (-100 kg) went down to sixth place when he was seventh in Lisbon.
Lisbon 2021: the European sports capital is ideal for practising sports and attending events
Lisbon will be Europe's Sports Capital in 2021, having beat The Hague, in the Netherlands, in the "finals" opposing both candidacies.
Under the motto #LisboaInspira, Lisbon will host many sports-related initiatives in 2021. The Portuguese capital provides unique conditions for all sports activities. Whether outdoors or using the municipality's many sports equipment spread through the city, there is always a way to practice sports while in Lisbon.
2021 still has a lot to offer! As the vaccination efforts continue in Portugal, the infection numbers are following rapidly and the authorities' deconfinement plan is moving forward. Beginning early May, all amateur and youth sports activities, from training to competition, are once again allowed.
Let's celebrate life and sports once again! Join us for the greatest youth rugby and football tournaments in Europe: the 2021 editions of Portugal Rugby Youth Festival and Lisbon Foootball Youth Cup will be back to Lisbon's fantastic University Stadium complex this fall.
Register your team now for the 13th edition of the Portugal Rugby Youth Festival, taking place on October 23 & 24, and for the 4th edition of the Lisbon Football Youth Cup, on October 30 & 31. Come help us storm Portugal's capital with competitive and fun international rugby and football matches with teams from all around the world!