The Galeb Belgrade Trophy is a tournament which has a very long tradition in Serbia. It started as a very small competition, in a hall which has a maximum of three rings. During the first few years, there were not many famous competitors. The competition took place on the local level and the only foreign competitors came from neighbor countries – Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Bosnia & Herzegovinia. The competition is also known as the Serbia Open.
It is organized by the Taekwondo Club "Galeb" from Belgrade, Serbia. The owner of the club is Dragan Jovic, also known as Gale. He established the club in 1991. The training conditions were very hard and the competitors trained in the hall with parquetry, which is everything but good for taekwondo. If a competitor gets used to a different feel under his legs, it is a road to disaster. A competitor needs to have a realistic feeling under his feet – if his feet starts to slide, there will be no chance of a good result in the international competition.
In 2002, the club moved to the basement of the building where, instead of parquetry or concrete, competitors could train on mats which are used in competition. Since the opening of the new training center, better results started coming.
Here are the successes of the club throughout the history. There were many first, second and third places. The club has an Olympic champion – Milica Mandic and the second in the Olympic Games – Tijana Bogdanovic. There is also a current World Champion – Vanja Stankovic. The club competes in the best competitions and wins medals regularly. Dragan Jovic has been named numerous times as Coach of the Year.
The first Galeb Belgrade tournament took place in 2001. Starting from 2005, the best Serbian coach was awarded in the presence of the competitors from Iran. At that time, Iran was the second in the world after South Korea. In South Korea and Iran, taekwondo is a national martial art. It had an excellent influence to the popularization of the tournament and Taekwondo as a sport in Serbia and Balkan peninsula.
In 2005, Morteza Rostami, the World Champion from Iran, came to fight in the Galeb Belgrade Trophy. Since his appearance, people started looking at this tournament from the different angle. Morteza barely won from Mladen Perisic, who was the Serbian champ at the moment for 7 consecutive years. In 2005, only 10 countries participated in the tournament. But in 2006, 22 countries participated! The popularization went well and competitors started coming. After all, everybody wants to see the best competitors in the world, no matter whether the sport is popular or not!
Here is a promo video of the tournament.
And here is the promo video from 2015.
Galeb Belgrade Trophy 2017 will take place on October 14th and October 15th in Belgrade, Serbia. You can check here the list of registered competitors.
As well as you can see in the invitation, there is a fee of 75 euros, which is the price for any G-1 tournament, and a weight class change costs 40 euros. In any G-1 tournament, rules are very strict – KO system is used and there will be no tolerance for the slightest offense. Ten offenses will lead to a disqualification. Any victory in the G-1 tournament secures 7 points in the World Taekwondo Federation ranking, which will later be entered in the yearly ranking. The second competitor gets 3 points, while third place, 1 point.
The inspection in the competition is very strict. Every competitor must have his own groin guard, shin guards, mouthpiece, gloves, forearm guards and sensing socks. Electronic armors are provided by the organizer. Instant video replay system (IVR) is used, which means the coach can challenge the decision of the referee. If the coach is right, the card will be returned to him. Otherwise, the referee keeps the card and coach doesn't have the right to ask the new challenge.
Here is the list of categories:
Cadets: born in 2003, 2004, 2005
Juniors: born in 2000, 2001, 2002
Seniors: born in 2000 and older
Juniors born in 2000 compete as a junior or as a senior. However, competitors born in 2000 cannot compete for both juniors and seniors.
Cadets male: (-33,-37,-41,-45,-49,-53,-57,-61,-65, +65)
Cadets female: (-29,-33,-37,-41,-44,-47,-51,-55,-59, +59)
Juniors male: (-45,-48,-51,-55,-59,-63,-68,-73,-78, +78)
Juniors female: (-42,-44,-46,-49,-52,-55,-59,-63,-68, +68)
Senior male: (-54,-58,-63,-68,-74,-80,-87, +87)
Senior female: (-46,-49,-53,-57,-62,-67,-73 ,+73)
The most important rule – competitors cannot compete in any G-1 tournament if they don't have at least a 2nd Geup (it means red belt).
Official weigh – in – Friday 13th October, 12-20h
Saturday, October 14, 2017.
Competition begins at 09:00
Cadets: all categories
Junior male: -45,-51,-55, -59,-68,-78 kg
Junior female: -42,-46,-49, -52,-59,-63 kg
Weigh-in from 16:00 – 18:00 in sports hall for competitors who compete on Sunday and did not weigh-in on Friday
Sunday, October 15, 2017.
Competition begins at 09:00
Seniors: all categories
Junior male: -48,-63,-73,+78 kg
Junior female: -44,-55,-68,+68 kg
Taekwondo is a full contact sport. The organizer is not liable for possible injuries that any competitor might incur. The competitors must have a valid insurance which will cover all medical costs, if any injury occurs.
The Galeb Belgrade is one of the most visited G-1 tournaments in the world. The biggest number of competitor in tournament history is expected this year, which is estimated at more than 1200 competitors from all over the world. Competitors from Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are being expected to come, but participation from South Korea and other Asian countries is still uncertain. Iran will send its national team and is expected to be the strongest competition in the Balkan Peninsula. Iran always sends the best competitors to Belgrade, so this tournament will never lack in quality!
When it comes to Europe, almost all countries are participating – Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Great Britain, Scotland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovinia, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Austria, Switzerland, Serbia, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine. Even Scandinavian countries announced their participation, including Iceland. From Africa, Morocco and Tunisia are expected to come. USA and Canada also announced their participation.
Many good fights are expected. We can expect an average number of 16-25 competitors per weight class. Some weight classes, like -80 male seniors, are known to have 35-40 competitors, just like -68 male seniors and -74 male seniors. In the female weight classes, -49 and -53 are usually have more than 30 competitors. The classes which have the smallest number of competitors are male -54, male -87 and female +73 – hardly more than 10-12.
Best fights and knock outs
The finals of the Galeb Belgrade Trophy, even when it was not a G-1, have always been a true spectacle. Every competitor dreams of fighting under bright lights, in the center of attention, surrounded by the crowd and TV. And when it comes to the Galeb Belgrade Trophy, if you were the finalist, you would have felt as if you are fighting for a WBO title or kickboxing championship of the world! This video shows it all – fighting under bright lights in the ring… it can't be better!
In the early ages of the competition, this was perhaps the only tournament in Europe which attracts this type of spectacle. Since its start in 2001, every final was special. Every single competitor could feel himself like he is fighting in the Olympic Games!
In the tournament's early stage, especially during 2005-2007, Mladen Perisic was known for his famous left spinning heel kick knockouts. Unfortunately, at that age, Galeb Belgrade Trophy wasn't on the list of the World Taekwondo Federation, so these knockouts were not recorded. In classic taekwondo, competitors had to hit very hard to earn a point, so the power of the kick was the most important criterion.
One of the most spectacular knockouts happened in the finals of Galeb Belgrade Trophy in 2009. Bojan Bijelic, the Serbian champion and Dutch Open champion at the time, attacked the Iranian junior champion with two diagonal kicks (bandal chaggi). The Iranian competitor let him point twice, sacrificing the point gap. When he attacked for the third time, Iranian competitor received the first strike but countered the second one via stunning counter diagonal kick to the head (dollyo chaggi). Bijelic went down like a wrecking ball and the referee had no choice but to stop the fight. This was the knockout of the year in Serbia in 2009.
In the first years of G-1 tournament, the spectacle couldn't be performed due to the high number of fights. However, the champion of Serbia (he is even today the champ), Stojan Rabijac, made sure the spectacle will never be forgotten. He fought Omid Amidi in the finals, who was one of the best Iranian competitors at the moment. Despite the fact the Amidi was taller, Rabijac dominated the fight and led for the whole time. In the end, Rabijac's leg was stuck on Amidi's shoulder and he kicked him with another leg, in the same style like Aaron Cook did to Steven Lopez. Amidi took off his helmet and couldn't recover. Rabijac won via KO, which is probably the most attractive KO in the history of Galeb Belgrade Trophy.
This fight between Milica Mandic and Ana Bajic (both competitors from Serbia) in 2012 is known to be one of the best comebacks. Ana was leading in the first round, but Milica won via superior stamina. This was one of the most attractive female fights ever. Milica won in the end with 16-7. This was a really attractive fight. Despite it was the final, both competitors showed amazing levels of stamina and endurance.
One of the most surprising victories occurred in 2011, when Ivan Trajkovic (Slovenia) won over the world champion at the moment, Pascal Gentil (France). Trajkovic won 10-9, controlling the fight all the time. Despite the fact that Gentil was 15 cm taller, Trajkovic showed an amazing level of control, speed, and endurance. His focus was one of the best ever seen in this weight class. He was the fastest heavyweight fighter at the moment.
Galeb Belgrade Trophy expects the biggest number of competitors and the most successful taekwondo athletes from Europe this October. Don't miss this event!