The U57kg division at the 2018 Osaka Grand Slam is jam-packed with lots of exciting players, including new ones as well as gold title defenders, a bit of a rarity in the sport, as both groups will fight their contests. Who are the ones to look out for?
World champion Yoshida Tsukasa (JPN) is one of the most consistent performers in the sport and is now the owner of the red backpatch in the U57kg category for the first time. Yoshida has reached the podium at her last 10 events and will be aiming to win her home Grand Slam for the fourth time. In Pool A Yoshida is joined by Lien (TPE) and Olympic champion Rafaela Silva (BRA) who won the Cancun Grand Prix in October, which is an amazing line up. In that group Yoshida is the best thrower while Lien excels in groundwork. Silva is just an excellent fighter overall.
In Pool B, we have World bronze medallist in Christa Deguchi (CAN) and the world number five will be confident of winning her first IJF medal in her native Japan. Pavia (FRA), will show her face again, just like in Abu Dhabi after a period of having a baby.
In Pool C, there's Dorjsuren Sumiya, the top favorite there. World Championships bronze medallist Dorjsuren is the arch-rival of Yoshida and would love to win her first IJF gold medal in 2018 in the sport’s homeland. One-time Grand Slam gold medallist Dorjsuren, who claimed the Abu Dhabi title in 2017 will likely be challenged by Klimkait.
In Pool D, there's Tashkent Grand Prix winner Theresa Stoll (GER) who will expect to improve on her seventh-place from a year ago. In the same pool triple Junior World Champion Funakubo (JPN), Monteiro (POR) and Filzmoser (AUT) are to look out for.