By Caoilte de Barra
The 2022 European Championships are fast approaching, and once again, plenty of medalists from previous IMMAF events are set to return in Italy. From last year’s European Championships, six medalists are expected to compete again, three of which will hope to top their respective divisions for a second consecutive year.
Not only are the medalists from last year’s event, but also from the previous years as they continue to develop their skill set in the amateur ranks. Ahead of the Championships, let’s take some notable names who have medaled at previous European Championships.
1. Magdalena Czaban (Poland)
Magdalena Czaban is one of Poland’s top prospects, with four IMMAF medals to her name, including two European golds and a Junior World gold medal. This year she enters as a strawweight after previously competing at atomweight. “Atomóka” won gold at the last two European Championships and is now looking to make it a hat-trick of medals, with the third coming in a second weight division.
Her move to strawweight is to test herself against new challenges. Czaban is one of the most well-rounded amateurs around, and the step-up may bring out the best in her.
2. Tea Aresu (Bulgaria)
Tea Aresu was Bulgaria’s only gold medalist at last year’s competition and will be hoping for a repeat performance as she enters the junior flyweight division for a second consecutive year. Aresu is also a three-time national champion in Bulgaria.
The 19-year-old had two hard-fought battles in her quest for gold last year, where her superior grappling proved vital in her victories. With only four entries in the division, Aresu will be the one to beat and will face stiff competition as two-time youth world champion Anastasiia Holinko graduates from the youth ranks.
3. Besart Berisha (Kosovo)
Besart Berisha is returning to IMMAF for the first time since 2018, when he won a bronze medal in the heavyweight division while competing for Austria. Now representing Kosovo, Berisha will move up to super heavyweight with eyes on improving upon his previous performances. Not only is Besart the sole Kosovo athlete at the European Championships, but he is also the president of the federation.
4. Yrsa Sandin (Sweden)
Lightweight standout Yrsa Sandin already has a 2019 European gold medal and a 2021 World cup gold medal. However, her run of gold medals ended at the 2021 World Championships. The BJJ blue belt currently trains out of All Stars Gym in Sweden and is readying for what could be her toughest competition to date as the Lightweight division is stacked compared to previous years.
5. Jordan Bradshaw (Ireland)
Bradshaw is one of few medalists from 2018 still rounding out his game as an amateur. Having competed in the junior featherweight division in 2018, he will enter the senior ranks this year. So far this year, Bradshaw has been incredibly active, clocking up nine bouts in five months, enjoying success nationally and internationally. As he returns to the IMMAF stage for the first time in four years, the C-MAC representative could be the one to beat at featherweight.
Watch the 2022 IMMAF European Championships live and exclusively from Bella Italia Efa Village in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) from 27 September and 1 October 2022 at immaf.tv, with the tournament draw taking place on 26 September.