Judoka Leški adds European title to her medal tally
Slovenia's Andreja Leški won gold at the European Judo Championships in Montpellier, France on 4 November. She defeated Israeli judoka Gili Sharir with a waza-ari in the final to secure the title in the under 63kg category.
"I cannot believe what I achieved today, even though I quietly aimed and hoped for the top," Leški said about her latest feat, which comes after she won silver at the World Championships in Doha earlier this year.
She also won silver at the worlds in Budapest and bronze at the European Championships in Lisbon two years ago.
"I proved that I'm the elite, that I'm one of the top competitors in Europe, in the world, wherever, so I'm really happy," the 26-year-old said, adding that the best thing was to aim higher from what you already achieved.
Entering the competition as the 5th seed, Leški started off rather reserved, but the closer it got to the final, the better she got.
In the first round she did not crush Cristina Cabana Perez of Spain until after three and a half minutes of overtime. She also beat Russia's Kamila Badurova in an extended match, but had a much easier job dominating Hungary's Szofi Ozbas in the quarter-final.
"I must admit that after the first two fights I was a bit disappointed having to beat the two rivals tactically, but that's just the way it is. There are really tiny differences between us, so every tactic, mistake decides, but I'm glad I made it," said Leški.
In the semi-final match she faced off top-seeded Laura Fazliu from Kosovo, the reigning European champion. In the three previous matches she beat Fazliu only once, but this time she advanced to the final with an ippon.