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Katryna Esposito strikes gold at Commonwealth Judo Championships

Katryna Esposito on top of the podium at the Commonwealth Judo Championships.

During last weekend, the Malta Judo Federation was the host of the Commonwealth Judo Championships.

It has been 30 years since Malta hosted these Championships.

The youngest Judoka to step on the tatami were the Pre Cadets, 13- and 14-year-olds, Kyle Camilleri, Miguel Min-toff, Alicia and Isabella Arnaudez.

In the -46kgs Mintoff won a bronze medal, Camilleri placed fourth after beating Hanneman from South Africa. Alicia Arnaudez moved up category as she was uncontested and competed in the -48kgs with her sister Isabella, who won the silver medal.

The competitive training the boys were undertaking under the leadership of recently appointed National Cadet Coach Francesco Aiello already started yielding results, when the boys threw their opponents with fantastic techniques.

The next session was that of the Cadet Judoka which saw the participation of Marthea Magro, Samy Ibnass and Antonio Overend.

Overend won a silver medal in the -66kgs after beating Logan Goldie from Scotland.

The next day, it was the turn of the junior and senior judokas.

In the Junior category we saw national team athlete Khalaf Sadek in action and the comeback of Lawrence Daniel Spiteri.

Khalaf won a bronze medal after he beat Evan Price from Wales.

The climax of the series of the Commonwealth Championships 2024 came with the seniors session.

The Maltese delegation was made up of nine judokas, and included elements from its elite squad, athletes who have competed internationally but not on the official circuit, and athletes who competed internationally for the first time in this event.

Katryna Esposito topped the podium of the 48kgs, winning both her contests.

James Zahra was very close to winning gold, however, in his final match, a simple mistake cost him the contest. Zahra had to settle for a silver medal in the 60kgs.

Sadek contested also the senior category, which was contested by five judokas. After he beat the strongest of the category, Garvit from India, he was the favourite of the category, however he lost the contest to the Norther Irish judoka Ewan Murray.

Eventually, Garvit, Murray and Khalaf finished with three wins apiece.

Khalaf had to settle for a bronze medal after the Indian and the Norther Irish judokas collected a higher number of the points and the shortest duration of the contests. Thomas John Zerafa and Alessio Muscat won a contest each.

Jonathan Gatt, Alec Grech, Mathea Saliba, and Francesca Catania were the other Maltese competitors.

April 6 also coincided with the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

All the participants from the Pre Cadet and Cadet categories, officials and volunteers, and the young Maltese judokas, who had just received their grading certificates, participated in the whitecard challenge, which is a date that celebrates the power of sport to build a peaceful world.

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