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Ilias Iliadis ends retirement to fight at World Open Championships

21 Oct 2017 22:15

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    JudoHeroes

Judo’s youngest male Olympic champion and three-time world champion Ilias Iliadis has announced that he will come out of retirement to fight at the Open weight World Championships next month in Marrakech, Morocco. Iliadis, 30, won the Athens 2004 Olympic Games at age of 17, and enjoyed an illustrious career during which he became one of the most iconic judoka of all time.

After 12 years at the top of the sport, as one of judo’s standard bearers and one of the faces of the IJF World Judo Tour, Iliadis retired after competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and has since been integrated into the IJF’s global development activities.

The Greek great was part of an IJF delegation that travelled to Asia in the summer to film the Mongolian episode of the award-nominated #JudoWorldForTheWorld video series.

Iliadis, who himself was in Zagreb three weeks ago for the Grand Prix and ran a superstar seminar alongside Sydney 2000 Olympic champion Mark Huizinga (NED), appeared this week on the entry list for the revived Open weight World Championships on which set the internet abuzz with excitement and his return was officially announced on Saturday.

The Open weight World Championships, which takes place at the Palais des Congrès from 11-12 November, has a total prize money of €500,000 with the two gold medallsits each scooping €100,000. 

The Open weight category was part of the Olympic programme until the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics and an Open weight World Championships last took place in 2011 in Tyumen, Russia.

Double Olympic champion Teddy Riner (FRA) will be bidding for a record 10th world title in Morocco but it’s not just +100kg judoka will who be vying for world honours. Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) and Olympic bronze medallist Cyrille Maret (FRA) will step up from U100kg while there are heavyweight stars aplenty in both the men’s and women’s categories.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Ilias Iliadis (GRE), Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) - European Championships Kazan (2016, RUS) - © Emmeric Le Person
  • Ilias Iliadis (GRE),  SINCERITY (IJF),  adidas (GER) - European Championships Kazan (2016, RUS) - © David Finch,
  • Ilias Iliadis (GRE) - World Championships Chelyabinsk (2014, RUS) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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