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Alexander Mikhaylin believes in Russian miracle
8 Nov 2017 13:55
Russia are fielding the largest team at the Openweight World Championships 2017. Among their seven-strong team is 2001 Openweight World Championships winner and seven-time world medallist Alexander Mikhaylin (RUS) who lost out to Riner in the London 2012 heavyweight final.
Mikhaylin, 38, won his first world medal in 1999 and almost 20 years later is still fighting at the highest level. The three-time world champion retired in 2014 only to return in 2016 and although he has not won a fight on the IJF World Judo Tour since his comeback, the past accomplishments of the Russian will mean that he commands the respect of all the judoka taking to the tatami on Saturday.
Mikhaylin is his country's most successful judoka on the World Championships stage and their only heavyweight to ever win world gold.
Two-time Olympic medallist Tamerlan Tmenov took a silver and bronze while Renat Saidov was their most recent medallist when he won bronze in 2014.
That means Mikhaylin has some degree of comfort and assurance when it comes to his place in the Russian ranks in 2017 but few will expect him to be in a position to compete for a medal on Saturday.
Instead there will be greater expectations for Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Anton Krivobokov and four-time Grand Prix winner Adlan Bisultanov from the -100kg category.
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Larissa Greis (GER)