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Handful of Olympic Champions in the field of Masters Guangzhou
13 Dec 2018 17:05
Five reigning Olympic champions and eight current world champions are among the 235 judoka from 53 countries who are all set for action at the season-ending World Judo Masters in Guangzhou, China on Saturday and Sunday. The field includes four 2016 Olympic Champions in their weight category. Obviously Lukas Krpalek is the fifth now fighting +100kg.
Paula PARETO (ARG) U48kg
Argentine hero Pareto has placed at all six events she has entered in 2018 and will be tipped to maintain that run in China. The Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist started her year with silver at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam before winning Pan American Championships gold and finishing seventh at the Budapest Grand Prix. The world number four, who turns 33 in January, won bronze at the World Championships in September before a golden trip to Mexico for the Cancun Grand Prix and most recently earned a bronze medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in October.
Rafaela SILVA (BRA) U57kg
Brazilian treasure Silva has been one of her country’s most active judoka this year and has won two gold medals this year. The world number 11 finished fifth at the Zagreb Grand Prix in July before winning the Budapest Grand Prix in August. Gold followed in October at the Cancun Grand Prix and now the Carioca will be bidding for her second World Judo Masters medal and first since she earned bronze in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2012.
Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) U63kg
Trstenjak who kept the U63kg Olympic title in Slovenia by winning in 2016, has only failed to place on one occasion in her eight outings this year. The Slovenian star opened her campaign with gold at the Tunis Grand Prix and that remains her one victory in 2018. Trstenjak won bronze at the Paris Grand Slam and silver at both the European Championships and Zagreb Grand Prix. The world number two won bronze at the World Championships in Baku and matched that result at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. Trstenjak finished fifth last time out at the Osaka Grand Slam and will surprisingly be making her World Judo Masters debut in China.
Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) U81kg
Russian standout Khalmurzaev started his season in March at the Agadir Grand Prix with bronze before he took silver at the Hohhot Grand Prix – the first Tokyo 2020 qualifier – in May. The reigning World Judo Masters champion finished a below-par seventh at the World Championships in Baku after suffering back-to-back defeats in the quarter-final and his repechage contest. The world number four will wear his golden backpatch which is reserved only for current Olympic champions and will start as one of the favourites for the U81kg title.
Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) +100kg
Czech judo star Lukas Krpalek is the fifth Olympic Champion, but not in his U100kg Olympic category, we all know he stepped up successfully to +100kg. This year he won the European senior title in Tel Aviv. He won gold at the Grand Prix in Cancun and took silver at the Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi and Osaka. Every time he fights, he belongs to the major favourites, but has also showed to be vulnerable.
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