This 2021 edition will be remembered no matter what. These European championships (May 19-23 in Porec, Croatia) are not only decisive for Olympic qualification (Horne vs Arkania, Hocaoglu vs Chatziliadou, Quirici and Messerschmidt), but they will also mark the end of an era. This will indeed be the last appearance of the « Grumblers » in their thirties, starting with the King, Rafael Aghayev. Highlights at a glance.

By Ludovic Mauchien : Photo : Kphotos


This time, this is the true Olympic « to be or not to be » gong. At the end of these European championships, we will know the epilogue of the Olympic qualifications which began in July 2018. While most of the athletes qualified via the ranking are already known, there are still some unknowns.

For the record, a win gives 990 points, a 2nd place 750, a 3rd 570, a 5th 450. The points scored before April 6, 2019 count for half. For now, in the ranking, you have to subtract the points given during the 2019 European championships (played before April 6).


  • Horne / Arkania (+75 kg, +84 kg)

  Euro 2019. The German won the European championships, the Georgian ranked 5th.

  Ranking 2021. Jonathan Horne is 4th and qualified for the Olympics, Gogita Arkania is 5th only… 292.5 points behind. An incredible comeback of the Georgian thanks to his 10 medals, including 3 golds, in the last 11 Karate 1 (including a victory in Lisbon).

  Euro 2021. If the German is finalist, he will directly qualify for the Olympics. If Arkania wins and Horne ranks 3rd, or if he is finalist and the German finishes 5th, the Georgian will be qualified. One or the other's underperformance and that will be the status quo.

  • Hocaoglu / Chatziliadou (+61 kg / +68 kg)

  Euro 2019. The Turk was not ranked. The Greek was silver medalist.

  Ranking 2021. Meltem Hocaoglu is 5th but 2nd +68 kg. She is qualified for Tokyo. Eleni Chatziliadou is 7th with 652.5 points behind the Turkish woman. A gap that widened at K1Lisbon where Hocaoglu won and Chatziliadou finished 5th (+540 points for the Turkish woman).

  Euro 2021. The Greek no longer has her fate in her hands but, mathematically, it is still possible for her to qualify directly. Sine qua non condition : a big underperformance of Hocaoglu, 2nd in Istanbul in March, 1st in Portugal early May. If the Turkish woman does not score many points, Eleni Chatziliadou will have to be at least finalist to take the Olympic quota.

  • Quirici vs Gong Li (+61 kg / -68 kg)

  Euro 2019. Elena Quirici was finalist. Gong Li is Chinese.

  Ranking 2021. Gong Li is 3rd with 7402.5 pts and qualified. The Swiss is 4th but 3rd -68 kg. The two champions were in the final at K1Lisbon early May. The Chinese won and gleaned 240 more points than her opponent. Before the European championships, Elena Quirici is 505.5 points behind the Chinese.

  Euro 2021. If the Swiss champion ranks at least 3rd in these European championships, she will qualify for the Olympics.

  • Messerschmidt vs Wen (-55 kg)

  Euro 2019. Jana Messerschmidt was unranked. Tzu-Yen Wen is Taiwanese.

  Ranking 2021. Tzu-Yen Wen is 3rd (2nd -55 kg) and the German is 5th with 832.5 points behind.

  Euro 2021. The task is tough and simple : Jana Messerschmidt must win to be qualified.



We can’t assume anything with these champions. They have dazzled us for a decade or more. They are in their 30’s, or are approaching them closely. They will certainly be competing in their last European championships. They are the Grumblers, starting with Rafael Aghayev. We can also think of Luigi Busa, Alexandra Recchia, Serap Ozcelik, Gogita Arkania, Georgi Tzanos… List far from being exhaustive (and we apologize to the others). They will all be given special attention.