The Netherlands is proud to host an Grand Prix for the first since 2011. The Hague Grand Prix is the last Grand Prix of the year. The organisers of the World Championships in 2009 will start in The Hague with a fine field of 231 athlete from 43 nations. Olympic Champion Beslan Mudranov of Russia is the most remarkable name in the field, he makes his comeback, the Olympics were his last event.
Mudranov is unseeded but Fran Garrigos (ESP) is obviously a man to take care of. He will face Dutchman Tornike Tsjakadoea in his first contest. Mudranov is opposed to warm up against Tibo Volleman (NED).
The main man for Holland is World number one Frank de Wit in his category U81kg. He is opposed t the winner of Mrvaljevic (MNE) and Livesey (GBR) and de defeated both in 201. High expectations for the Dutchman to seal his number one position in The Hague and to continue his gold he won in Abu Dhabi at the Grand Slam. The field is tough U81kg and includes World bronze medallist Saeid Mollaei (IRI) and Georgia’s Zebeda Rekhviashvili as well as World Junior Champion Matthias Casse (BEL).
U90kg will see World number one Aleksandar Kukolj of Serbia on Sunday, strong and young German Eduard Trippel, Spaniard Nikoloz Sherazadishvili and Magomed Magomedov (RUS) as seeded players.
Another eye-catcher for Holland is Michael Korrel, seeded as number one U100kg. Russian Kazbek Zankishiev might be a possible opponent for the Dutchman if both reach the final. Dutchman Roy Meyer who fought Ilias Iliadis last week in Marrakech’ World Open Championships is now linked to the winner of Sven Heinle (GER) vs Javad Mahjoub (IRI). Iran sent a strong team to The Hague. But also a strong team of Russia, Germany and Belgium can be expected in The Hague.
The Russians bring in Yakub Shamilov U66kg as strong candidate for the title whilst Belgium can expect Dirk van Tichelt U73kg as first seeded judoka, strong man Joachim Bottieau and Casse U81kg and Charline Van Snick is on top of the list U52kg.
Germany will have a few medal candidates, especially among the women’s division. Last week’s European U23 Champion Amelie Stoll is in one juicy pool with her sister Theresa Stoll. Number one seed is Nora Gjakova of Kosovo. Kosovo also have the number one U52kg, European U23 Champion Distria Krasniqi. The Dutch team have a new lightweight talent, World Junior Champion Amber Gersjes who will try to claim a medal U48kg, but Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh (KAZ) who won Olympic bronze will be the favourite.
U63kg will be interesting to see the return of Juul Franssen after being suspended for more than a year she can make her comeback at home in a strong category with Alice Schlesinger (GBR), European U23 Champion Geke van den Berg (NED) and world junior championships runner-up Sanne Vermeer (NED) to name a few interesting women.
The division U70kg is perhaps Holland’s finest category with European Champion Sanne van Dijke who’s just returned from an injury, and Kim Polling, triple European champion. They might face each-other in the ideal final but the competition is severe with Germany’s Laura Vargas Koch, Olympic bronze medallist in Rio and another German’s who in shape, Miriam Butkereit. Also strong Dutch women in this class. However U78kg three Dutch players are seeded with obviously Guusje Steenhuis who was world number one this year and 2009 World Champion Marhinde Verkerk. Also karen Stevenson is seeded. Marhinde Verkerk might face European U23 Champion Anna-Maria Wagner, another potential medallist for Germany. These two categories are amazingly strong.
Dutch woman Tessie Savelkouls who became fifth last Sunday in Marrakech, is eager to take the gold in The Hague, just like in Abu Dhabi. Savelkouls is in the semi final due to a poor number of seven athletes, but the quality of the women is just fine.
The Netherlands brings in 43 athletes and Friday and Saturday’s first matches start at 10:00h local time, on Sunday at 11:00h.
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