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The judo stars we can expect in 2019
2 Jan 2019 09:20
Daria Bilodid of the Ukraine is of course among the stars we can expect to shine again in 2019. Bilodid is the youngest world judo champion of all time. She can be considered an exception or a one-off in terms of breathtaking ability at her tender age, but the teenager’s six victories on the IJF circuit catapulted her to stardom in 2018.
Bilodid (UKR) is the youngest world judo champion of all time and is undefeated since 2017
World champion Abe Uta, 18, the third youngest world judo champion of all time (behind only Daria Bilodid and compatriot Tani Ryoko) completed her rise to becoming a household name by winning the crown jewel of the IJF World Judo Tour at the first attempt.
Abe, whose victory over Amandine Buchard (FRA) was included in Fuji TV’s 2018 sports highlight package on New Year’s Eye, won gold on the same as her older brother Abe Hifumi retained his title.
Osaka Grand Slam winner Maruyama Joshiro (JPN) is on the verge of breaking out after defeating Abe Hifumi in the final.
Maruyama, who trains under 1984 Olympic champion Hosokawa Shinji at Tenri University alongside Ono Shohei, then won the World Judo Masters title with four ippons from four contests.
Only one of them can be selected for 2020 and Maruyama is seemingly better equipped than anyone else to overcome the Tokyo Olympiad poster boy.
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The U66kg category in Tokyo is hard to predict, but when it comes to the finallists, it’s doable as some athletes are way above the rest. There are two Japanese in this category and the gold could easily go to either one. Abe is the more accomplished internationally but the older Maruyama has beaten Abe in both domestic and international competitions. Read more
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Dominique Denkewitz (GER)
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