European Games 2019 Day 9: As it happened

Highlights and how it all happened on Day 9 - 29th June - at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus.

9:47pm: The 'live blog' is now just 'blog'

Thanks for following along today, it's been an incredible day of action.

Day 9 highlights


As it happened:

9:07 - Germany win table tennis gold!

Persson's ball-gobbling does no good as Patrick Franziska wins the game and the match for Germany.

Timo Boll and the rest of the team give him a huge hug, Boll doesn't even have to play his singles match.

A powerful showing from the German champions who take it 3-0.

9:03 - Persson's swallows the ball!

Tension builds as this game comes towards its end, both players examine the ball after the German paddler put a serve into the net.

They go and get a new ball and Persson pops it into mouth to warm it up!

The crowd cheers.

He doesn't actually swallow it.

The game goes on.

8:54pm - Persson forces decider

Persson takes the 4th 9-11, it's 2-2.

We have a 5th game.

Can Persson keep Sweden in it?

8:45pm - Table tennis men's team final

Some big hitting from Germany's Patrick Franziska has put him 2-1 up in his match against Sweden's Jon Persson.

It's 2-1 to the German but Persson is ahead 8-3 in the 4th.

Persson needs to turn this around to save Sweden, they trail 2-0 in the overall.

8:25pm - Track cycling results

Kirsten Wild eased to victory in the omnium with third place in the points race after winning the previous three disciplines.

Silver went to Russia’s Evgeniia Augustinas with Elisa Balsamo of Italy taking the bronze.

In the men’s sprint, Jeffrey Hoogland exacted revenge on world champion Harries Lavreysen to add to his gold in the team sprint.

The decider was something of an anti-climax as Hoogland caught his team-mate napping with two laps to go and opened up a big gap which Lavreysen quickly knew he had no chance of closing.

Switzerland won the final event of the night - Robin Froidevaux and Tristan Marguet took the men's madison ahead of Belgium and the Netherlands.

7:58pm - Did funding cut inspire GB Badminton?

That seems to be some of the reason at least for Great Britain's outstanding badminton tournament.

While Team GB hasn't had its greatest tournament ever with stars like Jason Kenny failing to find their best, British shuttlers have outperformed.


As the Minsk 2019 media team notes, three years ago UK Sport stripped badminton's funding after British players returned a solitary medal – a Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge bronze in the men's doubles – from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"It was a tricky time but I think it really spurred us on as a whole unit to show that it was the wrong decision," said Kirsty Gilmour who upset top seed Line Kjaersfeldt to reach the women's singles final on Saturday.

While UK Sport have since set aside a small pot of money purely to help leading British badminton players qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Gilmour said that the relative lack of support compared to other nations has made it difficult when facing the best in the world.

"I've spent a few stints in Asia without a coach and it's intimidating," she said.

"The top players will come into the hall with their personal coach, physio, psychologist, their entire entourage walking in with them, and I'm on my own, thinking, 'Excuse me, can I hit with you'?"

For Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch, who reached the women's doubles final in Minsk, an added incentive at the European Games was to show that British badminton players are worthy of more financial support in the future.

"We want to showcase how good we are and that we can perform with the best in the world," said Smith, who also reached the mixed doubles final with Ellis.

"Since we lost our funding, the squad's a lot smaller but we're all very determined and trying to get the best out of each other all the time because we know that we're good enough."

But other British players feel that in some ways being stripped of the full funding has been a blessing in disguise as the added pressure from needing to win matches to pay the bills has resulted in improved results.

"It's nice to have that pressure to have to perform," said Toby Penty, who reached the quarter-finals of the men's singles at Minsk 2019.

"Sometimes you can get it a little bit too easy and I think, in the past, when Badminton England had a lot of money, maybe after Athens [2004 Olympic Games], players got a little bit comfortable in their surroundings.

"So sometimes when these things happen, it pushes you to perform a little bit extra."

7:52pm - Hoogland wins it!

Gold for Hoogland in the men's sprint.

7:41pm - Cycling track update

Denis Dmitriev has taken bronze for Russia in the men’s sprint in comfortable fashion. He beat Mateus Rudyk of Poland 2-0.

It’s currently the women’s omnium points race with Kirsten Wild set to seal gold in style. She has won all three of the previous disciplines and is in charge in the finale on 150 points with Russia’s Evgeniia Augustinas next on 122.

Then we’ll have another gold for the Dutch in the men’s sprint but will it go to world champion Harries Lavreysen or Jeffrey Hoogland?

7:37 - Gold for Great Britain!

Rio 2016 bronze medallists Langbridge/Ellis beat Astrup/Rasmussen 17-21, 10-21.

That's a huge gold for the British pair.

7:28pm - Badminton upset on the cards?

Great Britain's Langbridge/Ellis lead Astrup/Rasmussen 17-21, 6-14.

The 2018 European champions from Denmark simply never got started.

7:16pm - Ding ding ding!

And the final fight of the night is a belter.

Ukraine's Viktor Vykhryst only has one mode: beast.

And he won this 91kg super heavy battle of the beasts.

The 2017 European champion defeated France's Mourad Aliev in the final in a 4-1 split decision.

But it wasn't easy:

Men's Super Heavy +91kg fighter Viktor Vykhryst bleeds from a cut above the eye during his match with France's Mourad Aliev in the final - he won the fight 4-1. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Men's Super Heavy +91kg fighter Viktor Vykhryst bleeds from a cut above the eye during his match with France's Mourad Aliev in the final - he won the fight 4-1. REUTERS/Valentyn OgirenkoMen's Super Heavy +91kg fighter Viktor Vykhryst bleeds from a cut above the eye during his match with France's Mourad Aliev in the final - he won the fight 4-1. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

7:10 - Track cycling: Hoogland draws level

Hoogland has levelled it up at 1-1 in the men’s sprint final.

He led out and was there to be shot at, but reigning world champion Lavreysen struggled to get anywhere near and we’ll have a decider for the gold medal!

7:08pm - Track cycling update

Ivan Smirnov was just too potent in the men’s individual pursuit as he secured yet another gold for Russia.

The 20-year-old, fresh from a gold in yesterday’s team event, clocked 4:14.675 for the 4km race, more than three seconds clear of Italy’s Davide Plebani.

Claudio Imhof of Switzerland beat Poland’s Szymon Krawczyk to take the bronze medal.

 Tomas Babek of the Czech Republic has took victory in the men’s 1km time trial.

 He was over half a second clear of his rivals led by Italy’s Francesco Lamon with Krzysztof Maksel of Poland claiming the bronze.

 The 31-year-old bids for a second gold tomorrow in the keirin.

 The men’s individual sprint final is underway and it’s a rematch of the all-Dutch World Championship showdown in February between Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland.

Lavreysen emerged victorious in Poland earlier this year, and he’s taken the first heat by the narrowest of margins - just 0.012s.

7:01pm - Men's Table tennis final: Rubs hands

This shoud be good.

Men's singles champ Timo Boll is up now for Germany as the final table tennis gold medal of the night is on offer.

It'll be Germany or Sweden to take top honours.

Boll is partnered with Franziska against Sweden's Persson/Karlsson.

Germany will be favourites on paper.

Seriously fast this one. Great to watch.

6:49 - Let's all sing together

This is the official European Games 2019 anthem: 'Champion' by Litesound.

All together now:

"Your friends used to say ... you'd never amount to anything,

But when you dreamed away, nothing ever clicked your way,

Saturday back in the school ... nobody knew you could be so cool"



"You are the champion! Once you start you'll never stop,

but you, you are the one,

You are the champion."

6:41pm - Table tennis: Men's team gold

Defending champions Portugal down Denmark to win men's team bronze.

Top seeds Germany face Sweden for gold.

That's up in 15 minutes.

6:37pm - Portugal win beach soccer gold

8-3 the final score as Portugal take gold and Spain silver.

Bronze went to Switzerland.

6:24pm - 7th heaven for Portugal

Portugal lead 7-2 in the beach soccer gold medal match!

They've run away with it, surely this is too much even for the Spanish comeback kings.


Golazoooo! Bernardo Martins lobs the Spanish keeper, it's 8-2.

6:19pm - Gymnastics highlights: Lorette Charpy

France's silver medallist pushed Russia's Melnikova all the way.

Here's her brilliant beam routine:

6:11pm - Badminton: Gold for the Netherlands!

Dutch pairing Selina Piek and Cheryl Seinen swashbuckle their way to gold against Britain's Chloe Birch and Lauren Smith.

It finished 21-14, 13-21, 15-21.

6:09pm - Beach soccer final

Portugal turn a 0-2 deficit into a 4-2 lead after two periods of football.

12 minutes left to play, SPain have been the masters of the comeback this tournament so far.

Can they do it again>

5:56pm - Tense, tight, taut

It's business time in various events, Portugal are 2-1 up against Denmark in the men's table tennis teams bronze medal final.

Portuguese brothers are putting on a show in the beach soccer final, first Bernardo Martins got his side back into it with a well-taken finish, then his brother Leonardo even things up with Spain, it's 2-2.

In badminton there's a deciding set underway in the women's doubles final.

6:03pm - Portugal take the lead

That man Leonardo Martins again!

Portugal lead 3-2 towards the end of the second period.

5:52pm -European Games Live bloggers right now

5:36pm - Beach soccer final

The beach soccer final is underway, Spain have started strongly with a goal in the first few minutes of the first period.

Remember, beach soccer match has 3 periods of 12 minutes.

It's 1-0 to Spain right now.



Javi Torres buries a header.

Switzerland took bronze after a 5-4 cracker vs. Ukraine.

5:34pm - Table tennis: Portugal and Denmark

Denmark and Portugal are deadlocked at 1-1 in the men's team final.

5:28 - European champ has allergic reaction

Bad news for gymnastics bars European Champion Anastasia Iliankova.

5:15pm - Boxing: gold for Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan's Cuban-born boxer (One of them) Loren Alfonso imposes himself on Great Britain's Ben Whittaker

Alfonso had the edge in a cagey, tactical fight with few big standout moments for the highlight reel.

Comedy moment in the -69kg medal ceremony as Azerbaijan's other Cuban-born boxer Lorenzo Sotomayor gets it all wrong.

Bronze medallist Sotomayor lines himself up at the gold medallist's spot. Great Britain's gold medallist Pat McCormack is having none of that, and sets him straight with a friendly shove.

Both have a good laugh.

Nice moment.

5:02pm - Key to gymnastics success: cute dogs?

Olympic Channel speaks to Oleg Verniaiev:

Verniaiev was happy to speak to us after his silver medal win in gymnastics all-around.

He owns a cute little dog and says they help: "They are nice, they always welcome you and give you lots of positive energy."

It's not just Oleg either.

"All of my teammates have one."

4:56pm - Gymnastics highlights

Oleg Verniaiev had no right to be here after his surgery in January, and to go home with a silver medal is extraordinary really.

4:49pm - Boxing: McCormack wins!

A close, technical fight between these two, the decision goes to: Pat McCormack.

The 24-year-old has been one of the best boxers to watch at the Games, great poise and balance, chooses his moments well, and even won by a stoppage in the semi-final, remarkable in such a short fight.

A worthy champion.

4:45 - All hail the king and queen of kata

Another gold medal for the Spanish as Damian Quintero proves superior in men's karate kata.

Sandra Sanchez and Damian Quintero are the king and queen of kata.

4:43pm - Boxing: McCormack in action

GBR's Pat McCormack is in the ring with Russia's Khariton Agrba for European Games gold.

Big evening for Team GB.

4:38pm - Karate Kata

Damian Quintero is up next against Turkey's Ali Sofuoglu.

Quintero heavily fancied to make it a golden kata clean sweep for Spain after Sandra Sanchez' triumph.

4:32pm - 2nd European Gold for Sandra Sanchez

2nd European Gold for Sandra Sanchez in the 2nd Games.

The world champion adds another gold for Spain in karate kata.

Sandra-San is heavy favourite for Tokyo 2020.

4:24pm - Angelina Melnikova speaks to Olympic Channel

We caught up with the Russian all-around winner:

"I'm happy but a bit tired. I don't know what to say, just happy!"

"I was nervous before the last event because I knew exactly what I needed to score, but I just concentrated and tried to do my best."

Her best was the best and Melnikova goes home with gold.

4:17pm - Kumite Karate

We like the look of some of these finals in karate kumite.

Turkey's Meltem Hocaoglu will go up against Laura Palacio from Spain for +68kg gold.

4:00pm - Boxing: And the winner is...

Gabriel Escobar!

Bulgaria's Daniel Asenov can't live with the Spaniard's speed and precision in the men's -57kg flyweight final.

The Spaniard takes it 4-1.

4:04pm - Gymnastics highlights

Here's the high bar routine that guaranteed David Belyavskiy gold in the men's all-around.

The crowd were enraptured.

4:03pm - Angelina Melnikova golden highlights

This floor routine...

3:45pm - Russia take men's all-around too!

David Belyavskiy raises the roof with his final high bars routine.


Gold for Belyavskiy with 84.465, silver for Oleg Verniaiev on 84.632 and bronze goes to Russia's Vladislav Poliashov.

Belyavskiy has lived up to his favourite tag, that's a big boost for his future selection hopes.

Verniaiev's second place finish is extremely impressive considering his surgery in January.

It's a surprise he even took part.

Big moment for both a year and a bit away from Tokyo 2020.

3:30pm - Big fall in men's all-around

That was a nasty fall from the bar for Cyprus' Georgiou Marios, he lay on the mat for a good while before he tried to get up and walk - they eventually stretchered him out to a big cheer in the Minsk Arena.

That means there's a bit of a delay in the men's event.

3:21pm - Angelina Melnikova wins all-around!

Russian's Angelina Melnikova is 2019 European Games women's all-around champion.


  1. Angelina Melnikova (RUS) 54.498
  2. Lorette Charpy (FRA) 54.166
  3. Diana Varinska (UKR) 52.766
Angelina Melnikova is wrapped in Russian flag after her artistic gymnastics all-around win. Pic: Olympic Channel
Angelina Melnikova is wrapped in Russian flag after her artistic gymnastics all-around win. Pic: Olympic ChannelAngelina Melnikova is wrapped in Russian flag after her artistic gymnastics all-around win. Pic: Olympic Channel

3:17pm - Boxing: Women's -57kg Gold for Belarus!

Michaela Walsh is all aggression and attack but Belarus' Petrova Stanimira times her punches that bit better, dancing around Walsh and picking off point-scoring punches.

Good fight from both, home hero Petrova takes it on a split decision 4-1.

The Sports Palace Uruchie is pleased with that decision as you can imagine.

3pm - Boxing's up!

2:52pm - Table tennis: Germany win team gold!

Germany's Xiaona Shan defeats Romania's Daniela Dodean and Germany win women's team gold!

2:40pm - David Belyavskiy leads men's all-around

David Belyavskiy was considered the favourite ahead of the men’s all-around event.

In April the two-time Olympic medallist missed the European Championships in Poland due to a wrist injury and some unexplained illness earlier in the year, which caused him to miss a lot of training.

In Minsk the 27-year-old Russian is looking to test his form: “I need to see what I’m capable of after the break – he said before the event - I’m preparing to compete in the all-around. My goal is to perform well and to make my fans and myself happy. I’m in the best shape I’ve been this year and I’m improving every day. I hope to be fully ready by the time of the Games.”

Belyavskiy’s goal is to be selected for the individual events at the upcoming World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, in October.

At Montreal 2017 he won three individual medals, but last year in Doha he was the third best Russian behind Artur Dalaloyan and Nikita Nagornyy and only competed in the team event.

The Russian is leading the men's field right now.

Belyavskiy’s parallel bars routine was something to behold in qualifying:

2:34pm - Melnikova into the lead

Melnikova moves into top spot after she improves on her floor routine from qualification.

2:22 - All-around gymnastics

France's Lorette Charpy tops the gymnastics all-around after her 13.7 beam routine, that's great composure as she had to wait as they worked on Bachynska's score.

Melnikova second.

On the beam there were some nerves from Britain's Fenton, she made her mount, which she missed in warm-up, then the 18-year-old almost fell on her turn with some balance adjustments on almost every skill after.

The British gymnast is currently in 10th.

Melnikova told Olympic Channel on Friday that she was most proud of her beam from Thursday's qualifying which was an all-time high score.

Today she youched the beam for a .500 reduction. A solid showing gave her 13.1.

She's much improved on the event this season.

This was Lorette Charpy's beam routine from qualifying:

2:15pm - Mia Blichfeldt into the final


Mia Blichfeldt cruises into the final with a superb defensive shot at full stretch.

A straight sets win: 21-14, 21-11

So it's Denmark v GB, Mia Blichfeldt v Kirsty Gilmour in the women's singles final.

On the form she's showed today and yesterday Blichfeldt has to go into the final as favourite.

Can Gilmour spring a surprise?

2:06pm: Mia Blichfeldt looks final bound

Denmark's great big hope is on fire in the women's badminton singles semi-final.

She took the first game and is not winning 12-7.

She's pumped up, clenched fists and big shouts for each point she wins.

Great to watch.

2:01pm - Women's teams gold medal match

It's Germany vs. Romania paddling for gold.

It's 1-1 overall with a top-class match on right now between Romania's top seed Bernadette Szocs and singles silver medallist Ying Han for Germany.

Szocs took the first game 9-11, but Han has rallied, the German leads 2-1 having won the last 2 games 11-5, 11-3.

Angelina Melnikova in the zone after bars. Pic: Olympic Channel
Angelina Melnikova in the zone after bars. Pic: Olympic ChannelAngelina Melnikova in the zone after bars. Pic: Olympic Channel

1:50pm - Yesterday: so far away

1:44pm - Track cycling like a bag of cats?

J Moufflet has likened the track cycling to a big cat fight.

Not sure what he means.

Lost in translation?

1:34pm - Angelina Melnikova in action

Amazing save from Melnikova in her opening sequence, she didn't quite have her hand on the bar after her transition from high bar to low bar.

Accomplished gymnastics.

The 2018 world all-around silver medallist has just started her bid for European Games gold in Minsk.

5-time Olympic gold medallist Nellie Kim is a fan: "I like her style"

1:30 - GB into badminton final

Yes! Woooooh! Screams Kirsty Gilmour as she plays her way into the final.

Gilmour will play the winner of Evgenia Kosetskaya vs. Mia Blichfeldt.

1:23pm - Badminton: Deciding set

Great work from Britain's Kirsty Gilmour as she forces a third set against defending champ Line Kjaersfeldt.

She's winning that 3rd set too.

Another spectacular shot takes her to 15-8.


Gilmour final bound?

12:56pm - Badminton: Denmark - GBR semi-final

We've just seen a stunning smash from Great Britain shuttle semi-finalist Kirsty Gilmour.

What a shot.

But she's currently trailing Denmark's Line Kjaersfeldt by a game to love, the Dane one the first one 21-13.

10-10 in game 2.

12:44pm - Lots to come from gymnastics today

Russia's Angelina Melnikova and David Belyavskiy, Great Britain's Georgia-Mae Fenton, and Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev all in action today.

12:39pm - Poland take bronze!

Superb defence from Li who keeps returning and allowing her rival to make the mistake.

And eventually Pergel puts it into the net.

Poland win bronze by 3-2, victories coming for Li Qian and Natalia Partyka.

If the final is half as engrossing as the bronze medal match then we're in for a real treat.

12:36pm - Hungary hang on

Pergel slams one into the net and it hops over.

But Qian hammers home a winner.

10-8 to Poland.



12:33 - Poland close

Li Qian playing the better table tennis, lots of errors from Pergel.

Poland 8-5 up.


12:28pm - Poland back in front

Li Qian monsters game 2 11-1.

Poland 2-1 up.

The Polish team is on their feet clapping, urging Li on.

ungary calls a timeout.

12:20pm - Hungarian comeback!

In the deciding match of the women's table tennis bronze medal match Szandra Pergel has brought Hungary back into it winning the second game.

Li Qian leading in the third though, 7 points to 1.

It's all even at 1-1 (games).

Eyes on the ball: Hungary's Georgina Pota in action during match two of the bronze medal match against Poland's Qian Li. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Eyes on the ball: Hungary's Georgina Pota in action during match two of the bronze medal match against Poland's Qian Li. REUTERS/Vasily FedosenkoEyes on the ball: Hungary's Georgina Pota in action during match two of the bronze medal match against Poland's Qian Li. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

12:16pm - Men's badminton semi-finals

Denmark's Antonsen has one foot in the final, 1 game ahead and 18-11 up in the second.

Big chance for Antonsen to step up in the absence of Denmark's superstar shuttler Viktor Axelsen.

And that's it! Antonsen into the final 21-9, 21-11.

So the men's final is Antonsen - Leverdez.

12:10pm - Poland in charge

Li Qian won that first game easily, Pergel trying to stay with her but this looks a bit of a mismatch.

Poland on their way to bronze?

It's 8-4 to Li in game 2, 1 game ahead.

12:04pm - Table tennis teams thriller

And it's all down to this one in the women's table tennis bronze medal play-off.

Szandra Pergel (Hungary) vs Li qian (Poland).

12:03pm - Team GB looking for more today

11:51am - Step too far for Estonia's underdog

It's been an amazing tournament for Estonia's badminton dark horse Raul Must.

He made it to the semi-finals of the men's competition against all odds but went down to 4th seed Brice Leverdez 20-22, 8-21.

Must will still have a chance to take home a bronze medal.

The other men's semi-final is underway, Denmark's Anders Antonsen is leading Israel's Misha Zilberman in the first game.

But the Israeli turns it around to take the first game 9-21.

11:37am - Table tennis: Natalia Partyka

Poland are playing Hungary for bronze in the women's team match.

Look out for Natalia Partyka:

Natalia Partyka is an extraordinary athlete. The 29-year-old Pole was born without a right forearm, but this didn’t stop her from being successful, and not only in Para Table Tennis competitions.

The four-time Paralympic champion, who made her debut at Sydney 2000 when she was only 11 and won her first title at 15, has been also a regular in the ITTF World Tour: in 2010 she rose as high as no. 48 in the world rankings and in 2017 she made it to the quarter-finals at the Qatar Open, her best result to date.

"I had a lot of people around me who believed in me. Nobody said to me that I couldn't do it - that was the most important thing.”

Poland's Natalia Partyka in action during match three of the bronze medal match against Hungary's Dora Madarasz. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
Poland's Natalia Partyka in action during match three of the bronze medal match against Hungary's Dora Madarasz. REUTERS/Vasily FedosenkoPoland's Natalia Partyka in action during match three of the bronze medal match against Hungary's Dora Madarasz. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Partyka at the age of 7 was motivated to play the sport by her desire to beat her big sister Sandra: “She was much better than me – the Pole revealed to the National – My goal was always to beat her.

"That was my dream. I had to work many years for that, but one day I beat her and my life changed.”

In Minsk she took part in the singles competition, losing in the third round against four-time European medallist Matilda Ekholm from Sweden. In the Women’s team event she just beat Hungary's Dora Madarasz in the bronze medal match to win Poland a point against Hungary, that match is still live and currently 2-1 to Hungary.

 The multiple times para world champion, who uses the crook of her elbow to toss the ball and serve, had already qualified for five Paralympics and in three occasions she also competed in three consecutive Olympic Games, reaching the last-32 at London 2012.

 Now the two-time European medallist eyes another double: "My next target is Tokyo – she said - I would like to progress deep in the Olympics and I definitely want to win the 5th gold.

I know it's not gonna be easy but I know it's possible."

11:20am - Karate preview

All the karate kicking off today.

Kata and Kumite finals start at 4:35pm CEST, 5:35pm in Minsk.

Some of the continent's finest talent will be on show in the karate competition at the Minsk 2019 European Games at Chizhovka Arena.

Several European title-holders and defending European Games champions are among 96 karateka from 38 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) contesting 12 sets of medals in Minsk.

Qualification points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are also up for grabs.

In the men's kata, Damian Quintero (ESP), the 2015 European Games champion and current European champion, is already in the final.

Spain's other gold medal hope Sandra Sanchez is also in the final, she's world and Baku 2015 reigning champion. Her strongest challenge is likely to come from Viviana Bottaro (ITA), the No.2 seed.

In the men's kumite (combat) tournament, Burak Uygur (TUR) in the men's -67kg) and Rafael Aghayev (AZE) in the men's -75kg are each bidding for a second European Games title.

UYGUR faces a worthy rival in Steven Da Costa (FRA), who topped the podium at the European championships in Guadalajara, Spain, in March. Another European title-holder, Luigi Busa (ITA), is expected to vie with Aghayev for the -75kg prize.

Top seed Ugur Aktas (TUR) will fancy his chances in the men's -84kg category while Jonathan Horne (GER) is on the hunt for another gold to add to the one he won at this year's European championships at +84kg.

Defending champion Serap Ozcelik (TUR) is the favourite in the women's kumite -50kg while top seed Anzhelika Terliuga (UKR) will be tough to beat in the -55kg.

Merve Coban (TUR) and Gwendoline Philippe (FRA) should fight it out for top spot in the -61kg and 2015 European Games champion Irina Zaretska (AZE) is favourite to win the -68kg.

The +68kg tournament looks especially difficult to call with No.1 seed Eleni Chatziliadou (GRE) and European champion Laura Gonzalez (ESP) ahead of the rest.

The karate competition at Minsk 2019 takes place on 29 and 30 June.

11:17am - Badminton 20-20

It's 20 each .. No, 21-20 .. And 22-20.

The French 4th seed Leverdez takes the first game against Estonia's underdog.

11:06am - Stay Raul, it's a Must

Estonia's semi-finalist Raul Must really did not believe he'd make it this far.

Such little confidence in his ability did he have that he asked the Estonian team managers to book him a flight home from Belarus two days before the end of the badminton competition.

"I asked them to book it for Friday because then I'm not wasting time hanging around here, and instead I can go home and train for the next tournament," said Must to the Minsk 2019 media crew.

Then he beat Felix Burestedt (SWE) 16-21, 21-12, 21-12 on Friday afternoon.

Now he's on match away from the final.

"I don't know if they've been able to change my tickets yet, but it's OK. Having these problems because you're doing well is a good thing."

Must's pragmatic approach is typical of a career spent defying odds stacked against him.

Representing a country where badminton has traditionally received little attention, he is the only Estonian in the world's top 600 for men's singles. Yet the 31-year-old has competed at three successive Olympic Games.

"He's a real fighter," said Rainer Kaljumae (EST), Must's long-time coach. "You can see that in the way he plays. And he's also very clever which is how he's found a way to be a full-time athlete for so long, which is not easy in Estonia.

"He's very strong-minded. If he wants to do something, he will do it. But recently he's also become more mature. In the past he wasn't a guy that always listened, so he hasn't been extremely coachable. But that's changed."

Having reached the last four, MUST is now guaranteed at least bronze, the first major badminton medal in Estonia's history.

"It's quite big," Must said. "Our country does not win so many medals, maybe just one or two across these whole Games. It's a big thing that I can do it in badminton."

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10:59am - Badminton: Men's singles semi-finals

It's Brice Leverdez vs. Raul Must, France v Estonia in the first men's semi final.

Denmark's Anders Antonsen - Israel's Misha Zilberman on the flip slide.

France's Leverdez is leading Estonia's Raul Must in the first game of the first semi-final...



10:45am - All British badminton final

And it's all over!

Smith/Ellis win 21-19, 21-12.

They face the Adcocks in the final.

10:31am - Badminton - table tennis - karate

Plenty has happened already this morning.

Reigning karate kata champs Sandra Sanchez and Damian Quintero are into the finals.

The table tennis bronze medal match is underway, Hungary currently 1-0 up against Poland.

Looks like we're heading for an all British mixed doubles badminton semi-final after husband-and-wife Chris and Gabby Adcock beat brother-and-sister Sam and Chloe Magee from Ireland.

And Lauren Smith/Marcus Ellis are on the verge of beating France's Delrue/Gicquel ... It's 21-19, 19-9 right now.

10:15am - Live blog limps, sorry, flying towards finishing line


The penultimate day of action at the 2019 European Games in Minsk features the best of the best with medals flying and plenty of crying.

Stay with all right here!

29 June:

12:00-15:00 Table Tennis: women's team final

13:00-15:45 Artistic Gymnastics: women's and men's all around finals

15:00-17:35 Boxing: women's (-57kg, -69kg) and men's (-52kg, -60kg, -69kg, -81kg, +91kg) finals

16:25-17:50 Karate: women's (-68kg and +68kg) and men's (-84kg and +84kg) kumite finals, women's and mens's kata finals

16:35-20:50 Cycling track: men's (individual pursuit, 1km time trial, individual sprint, madison) and women's (omnium) finals

17:00-19:00 Badminton: men's and women's doubles finals

17:30-18:10 Beach soccer: men's final

17:30-18:40 Wrestling: Greco-Roman finals (-60kg, -67kg, -77kg)

19:00-22:00 Table Tennis: men's team final

What is the European Games?

The European Games is a multisport event that takes place every four years.

It doubles as European Championships in a number of sports and events, and counts towards Olympic qualifying in others.

The first event happened in Baku 2015, the second in Minsk, Belarus, and the third will be held in 2023 in the Polish city of Krakow and the Malopolska region.

At Minsk 2019, more than 4,000 athletes from 50 countries are taking part in the second European Gamesfrom 21 to 30 June 2019.

200 sets of medals will be awarded across 15 sports and 23 disciplines, with the action shown live on Olympic Channel (restrictions in certain countries and territories apply).

Four years ago, at the inaugural European Games in Baku, Russia topped the medal table (164) ahead of hosts Azerbaijan (56), and Great Britain (47).

The event is live on Olympic Channel in many regions (click here to watch or get more information), and find out more in our Olympic Channel guide to all you need to know about the European Games.

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