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Special World Open Championships for "lightweight" Assmaa Niang
11 Nov 2017 09:20
At the Press conference of the World Open Judo Championships judo icon Ilias Iliadis was accompanied by Moroccan experienced star Assmaa Niang, for her the World Open Championships are extra special this weekend and this is the reason she will compete, while she normally competes in her U70kg category.
Assmaa Niang, who was invited to join IJF President Vizer on the stage, declared: “This an amazing moment for me to be here and to be part of that judo family. You know, when I learned that the Open World Championship was taking place in my country and in Marrakech, I said that there was no way that I couldn’t participate. It is a challenge for me but I love challenges and I am not afraid of them. I also know that through my participation, I can inspire the young generations and particularly the young girls.
“Judo is developing rapidly in Morocco and in Africa. We have a huge potential and we need such an event. This competition will help us to develop even more. I thank the IJF and the Moroccan Federation for giving me the opportunity to be here.“
Ilias Iliadis, triple World Champion and Athens 2004 Olympic Champion, who is coming back to competition on this special occasion said: “Who I will compete with at the first round is not important. I am here to do judo, to enjoy and to give the best of me. When people ask me if I am ready, I answer that I was born ready. So no matter who I will meet in the first round, I will be here and I will be strong.
“I agree with Assmaa, we have a role to play in the society. I came back here for the challenge of course, but mainly because I want to inspire the new generation. I want to tell them that they can be successful. I want to show them that everything is possible. You need to work hard for that, but this will change their lives.“
Assmaa Niang had a bye in the first round and will be fighting against the winner of the contest between Mariia Shekerova (RUS) and World number three Tessie Savelkouls (NED).
The preliminary rounds will start at 11:00am in the Palais des Congrès, the final block starting at 5:00pm. On Sunday the women will start their competition at 2:00pm, with the final block on the last day also scheduled for 5:00pm.
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Chloe Adam (FRA)
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