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European Judo Championships Preview U66kg: Margvelashvili going for the double
19 Apr 2017 01:30
Italy won the Olympic title in Rio by Fabio Basile. The Italian stallion took a year off to earn some real money and we will focus on the other favourites in the category for men U66kg. In Warsaw some great athletes will appear, such as current European Champion Vazha Margvelashvili.
Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia won bronze at the Grand Prix Düsseldorf in 2015 and 2016 U66kg. Margvelashvili won the ECC Golden League in Vienna in 2015. In 2016 he started with bronze at the African Open in Tunis and Grand Prixs in Havana and Düsseldorf. He took gold at the Grand Prix in Tbilisi. He won bronze at the Grand Slam in Paris in 2017 and gold at the Grand Prix Düsseldorf 2017.
But, there will be strong Israeli competition from number one seed Tal Flicker.
Tal Flicker took gold at the Grand Slam in Baku in 2017. He won the European Open in Bucharest (2013) and Rome (2015) and took various World Cup medals U66kg. He won bronze at the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf in 2017. In 2015 he won bronze at the Grand Prix in Jeju and Grand Prix in Zagreb in 2016. He is a multiple Israeli champion. He won the European Open in Lisbon in 2017.
Azeri Nijat Shikhalizada won bronze at the Grand Slam in Paris this year and is still able to take important medals. Nijat Shikhalizada is the 2005 World bronze medallist as youngest man ever. Shikhalizada was 2006 junior World Champion and 2005 European junior Champion. Won Tournoi de Paris in 2007 and Grand Prix Abu Dhabi (2012) and Tbilisi (2014). In 2015 he won the the Grand Slam of Baku and Grand Prix in Qingdao.
Baruch Shmailov is the up-and-coming man in Israel. He won bronze at the Grand Slam in Baku in March.
Israeli judoka Baruch Shamilov was European U23 Champion in 2013 in Samokov. He won silver at the Grand Prix in Zagreb in 2016. In 2014 he won bronze at the Junior World Championships in Miami. Shamilov won silver at the Grand Prix in Tbilisi in 2015.
The biggest surprise might come from the other seeded players, such as Olympic Games number five Adrian Gomboc. Surely, Kamal Khan-Magomedov will be in the hunt. One of a few spectacular judoka in this category. Also Georgii Zantaraia will be back on the highest stage, although his form is not yet as sharp has he may hope. He may need just such a podium to get back on top.
FLICKER Tal (ISR) 1. seed (4. place WRL)
SHIKHALIZADA Nijat (AZE) 2. seed (6. place WRL)
SHMAILOV Baruch (ISR) 3. seed (8. place WRL)
MARGVELASHVILI Vazha (GEO) 4. seed (10. place WRL)
OLEINIC Sergiu (POR) 5. seed (11. place WRL)
GOMBOC Adrian (SLO) 6. seed (20. place WRL)
KHAN-MAGOMEDOV Kamal (RUS) 7. seed (21. place WRL)
ZANTARAIA Georgii (UKR) 8. seed (23. place WRL)
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