Russia have perhaps the best European athletes U66kg. With Mikhail Pulyaev and Kamal Khan-Magomedov they should have two chances. But Pulyaev won’t compete as he is named in the Meldonium scandal and even Kamal Khan-Magomedov doesn't compete. No problem for Russia to launch Olympic champion Arsen Galstyan for this title event as well as Anzaur Ardanov.
Also Kamal Khan-Magomedovs rival and friend Loic Korval is absent and the category is strongly dressed out of its stars. It is Dzmitry Shershan (BLR) who is best seeded. Unfortunately the spectacular Georgii Zantaraia (UKR) is also not present.
Although Sugoi Uriarte is ranked first in his pool where he will meet Pawel Zagrodnik, outsider for the semi final is Vazha Margvelashvili who won the Grand prix in Tbilisi and won four medals this season as most successful athlete of Europe in this class.Also Sinan Sandal in in that same pool.
British Colin Oates, is an outsider, but the dark horses could be Kilian Leblouch of France. Golan Pollack (ISR) was in the final of the Grand prix in Düsseldorf and can be considered as outsider as well. He is first seeded in his pool and will youngster Dzmitry Minkou (BLR). Good old Elio Verde may stunt in pool A although that has the best judoka. The lower poart of the draw seems easier at first sight.
European athletes in the IJF World Ranking
3 Georgii Zantaraia (UKR)
4 Mikhail Pulyaev (RUS)
7 Dzmitry Shershan (BLR)
8 Nijat Shikhalizada (AZE)
9 Kamal Khan-Magomedov (RUS)
10 Colin Oates (GBR)
Last year’s winner of the European Games in Baku were:
Kamal Khan-Magomedov (RUS)
Loic Korval (FRA)
Sebastian Seidl (GER)
Mikhail Pulyaev (RUS)
This Olympic cycle European Champions
2015 Kamal Khan-Magomedov (RUS)
2014 Loic Korval (FRA)
2013 Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO)
2012 Alim Gadanov (RUS)
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