Jovana Pekovic from Niksic, a member of the club “Akademik”, is the first Montenegrin judo competitioner to hold the European Champion title under the age of 23, announced at the Judo Alliance conference.
Our judo fighter defeated German Teresa Zenker in Russia in the finals with an ippon. On her way to the finals, Pekovic defeated Britain’s Shelley Ludford, Belgium’s Sophie Berger and Israel’s Inbar Lanir in the semifinals.
“With that result, Pekovic became the first girl in the history of Montenegro to win a medal at the European Championships under 23 years. With this, she once again confirmed that she is a competitor of the highest international class, who, under adequate conditions and work, can achieve the norm for the Tokyo Olympics”, said the sports director of the Judo Federation, Srdjan Mrvaljevic.
He emphasised that Jovana’s result represents a positive impulse, for inspiration and motivation for all who want to continue to unite the Montenegrin judo family.
“In order to bring everyone back together, working in accordance with the law, to restore the old glory of judo sports in Montenegro, and to give our best athletes an adequate status, respect and environment for producing top sports results,” Mrvaljevic said.
“My family has the greatest credit, as for every (result) so far, they are my greatest support and strength. They were with me and when I had a problem, they believed in me and told me that the work and effort would pay off. My parent club “Akademik”, coaches Dragan Scepanovic, Marinko Djurdjevac and Dragana Zivkovic have great credit. They all contributed in some way to my result as well as the Judo Alliance. We fought together and the result came”, Pekovic said.
She thanked for congratulations to the leading people of Montenegrin sports and the state, stating that their support, when one appreciates her work, effort and result, means a lot to her.
“The championship in Russia ended this season. I will soon begin preparations for the coming Olympic year. Untill the end I am not surrendering, nothing is impossible, and so are my qualifications for the Tokyo Olympics. They are real, I missed two years, but I believe in myself”, Pekovic said.
With eight state champion titles in 14 categories at the Montenegro Judo Championship, the competitors of Niksic’s “Akademik” have shown that they are still unrivaled in the country.
Nikola Gusic was seventh in the European Championship, which was held at the European Games in Baku, while in the World Championship in Kazakhstan he was among the best 16.
“My goal is the Olympic norm and the placement in the Tokyo Olympics. I want to perform there. With these two competitions I have accumulated a lot of points, I currently have 150 points, it is pre-Olympic year and every point counts. I will do my best to improve the placement, I neglected everything and dedicated my goal to that”, said Nikola Gusic
“It resulted in Jovana’s medal. On this journey, the Judo Federation had the support and owes its gratitude to the Ministry of Sport and Youth, the Montenegrin Olympic Committee, the International Judo Federation, as well as the sponsors of the alliance – Monteput and the Airports of Montenegro,”, Mrvaljevic concluded.
Sports and Youth Minister Nikola Janovic congratulated judo national team member Jovana Pekovic, professional staff and leadership of the Judo Federation of Montenegro, on her successful appearance and winning a gold medal at the European Junior Championship in Russia in Izhevsk.
Janovic said the European gold medal was a big result for Pekovic and Montenegrin judo.
“Four years ago, the Niksic’s judo fighter was bronze medalist at the World Cadets Championship. The European Championship brought together competitors from 33 countries”, said Judo Federation sports director Srdjan Mrvaljevic.
Director of “Akademik”, of which Pekovic is a member, Milentije Doderovic said that they had expected something like that from Pekovic, saying that they did everything that would provide quality work conditions and participation in competitions.
Female judo team selector Jelena Sutovic emphasised that with her perseverance, hard work and faith in herself, Pekovic has shown that nothing is impossible, that a competitor from a small country such as Montenegro can reach the highest podium.