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Strong Russian team in Agadir will face young challengers
8 Mar 2018 21:30
Starting on Friday the Grand Prix in Agadir will host 38 nations with 241 athletes from five continents. Not a huge field with just 102 women. Many delegations arrived in Agadir with young athletes, who they want to test before the Olympic qualification starts in May on the occasion of the Hohhot Grand Prix. Russia brought some top athletes like Khasan Khalmurzaev, Olympic Champion in Rio in 2016.
Khalmurzaev's twin brother Khusen will have to face the competition with Nemanja Majdov (SRB), the current World Champion, who was a big surprise last year in Budapest and who his back on the World Judo Tour with his red back patch. It will be an interesting category where also Eduard Trippel (GER) will be one of the potential medallists.
The category U66kg will also be strong with classic judoka like Georgii Zantaraia (UKR) who took silver at the Grand Slam in Düsseldorf and Mikhail Pulyaev the former World silver medallists and World Ranking leader.
As mentioned the men’s U81kg will have Khasan Khlamurzaev as main favourite but also Dominic Ressel (GER) is in a good shape and young gun Matthias Casse, the Belgian World Junior Champion might have a chance to reach the podium. Anri Egutidze of Portugal should be able to mingle with the prize winners as well.
The division U100kg is very competitive this year, although most of the top athletes are in Agadir, it always includes a showmaker, in this case Kirill Denisov, the experienced Russian technician. He will have to deal with Jorge Fonseca. Speaking about show, he will be spectacular to watch.
The women U48kg will have the world’s number 5 Irina Dolgova (RUS) and Milica Nikolic (SRB) in the field. Also the Israelian team brought some strong women in this division.
Miryam Roper is still able to shine at her humble age, but there are some youngster that will give everything for the gold U57kg. Düsseldorf winner Andreja Leski of Slovenia is the highest seed U63kg.
The Moroccan eyecatcher is Assmaa Niang who is seeded U70kg, but the main favourite will be Maria Perez of Puerto Rico.
The Grand Prix in Agadir is a rather small Grand Prix but will have some nice contests and some good winners. Not comparable to a Grand Slam but a good start for a longer period in the World Tour in Agadir. Some of the younger judoka may be able to show their best at this level and take some precious points that will help them further in the Olympic Qualification.
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