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Fine results for national team at Malta Open

Marcon Bezzina (left) during her bout with Joanna Camilleri.

Marcon Bezzina (left) during her bout with Joanna Camilleri.

The international Malta Open, now in its 26th edition, was this year moved back to April. It looks like the decision was indeed a wise one as the locals had more time to prepare themselves and to leave their mark in a tournament that attracted the strong participation of judokas from Italy and a few other countries.

The Malta Open, at the St Aloysius Sports Complex, provided a perfect opportunity for Team Malta to gauge their potential with foreigners. It also enabled Malta Judo Federation referees and table officials to hone their experience at this level.

On the mat, Marcon Bezzina showed her supremacy in the women's competition by eliminating all her opponents by Ippon (full points). Besides team-mate Joanna Camilleri, Bezzina also had to contend with three Italian judokas in her pool.

Bezzina dominated the event to win gold ahead of Italy's Angelina Bombara, who claimed bronze in the last World Cadet Championships, and Camilleri who regained her slot in the top pool after eliminating her opponents in the qualifiers.

This year, Jeremy Saywell, who will represent the country in the Youth Olympic Games, tried his luck in the bigger -73kgs class.

He flew around at the mat, countering his Italian opponents' attacks with his characteristic flip-overs.

At times, he also managed to slip into his favourite techniques, winning most of his bouts with Ippon, ultimately claiming the gold medal in his category.

Unfortunately, there was only one opponent for Isaac Bezzina, who weighed five kilos heavier and did not have a second opportunity.

Separately, three other members of the national team pool, Alexander Gribinets, Shawn Farrugia and Tiziana Apap, also fared reasonably well and all three managed to secure a bronze medal.

The two cadet members in the team showed promising signs for the future.

Artem Pashkov beat his two opponents to top his class as Tyron Zerafa produced a creditable showing in his debut on the international scene.

Overall, Team Malta left a very good impression in the tournament and finished top of the overall medals table.

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