Diyorbek Urozboev takes his chance in Tashkent
Tashkent will be the center of world judo with the seventh edition of the Grand Prix in Uzbekistan. The World Tour continues and valuable qualification points are at stake. Where athletes think that Tashkent is rather easy, will be looking surprised to the participants list containing a number of top athletes.
Three weeks after the World Championships some of the best judoka will showcase their skills facing new challengers who want to get a grip on the World Tour. Their mind is already preparing for the 2024 Games or the forthcoming Junior World Championships in Marrakech.
Koga Genki of Japan is the son of 1992 Olympic champion and three-time world champion Koga Toshihiko, following the path of his illustrious father. He will be facing one of the lightweights from Azerbaijan or Mongolia in the U60kg category. With Tel Aviv winner Jorre Verstraeten (BEL) and dangerous Nurillaev the first rounds are already dangerous. Of course Uzbek pride Diyorbek Urozboev will try to revenge himself for his failed World Championships campaign. Since 2013 Uzbekistan had a home winner each edition, but only one in 2018 and 2017, so the lightweights will be seen as one of those chances. World silver medallist Sharafuddin Lutfillaev won’t be fighting. He won the tournament in 2013.
Lee Harim is another outsider for the title. The Korean took bronze in Montreal’s Grand Prix and took a fifth place at the 2018 Worlds in Baku. Taipeh surprise at the last world championships, Yang Yung Wei is the number one seed but Kazakh Bauyrzhan Zhauyntayev can threaten his reputation. He won bronze in Tashkent in 2016 and is slowly crawling towards the top for such events.
It’s not about the World Ranking position in Tashkent as reputations will be challenged in Tashkent where the fans are knowledgeable and will cheer for those who show the most spectacular judo. The first day will always give that amazing thrill, as a fan you need to be fast to follow the throws.
Lutfillaev is the record holder in Tashkent with four medals, if Urozboev takes the gold, he will have four medals two and even three finals. The home country won 198 medals in the World Tour, who will be number 200? Olympic Games medallist Urozboev?