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Clashes in Paris U73kg, who will shine?
29 Jan 2020 15:50
Basile, Ebinuma, Hashimoto and Orujov, but who will light up Paris for the Grand Slam in this tough weight category U73kg. Olympic champion and self-appointed ‘King of The Tatami’ Fabio Basile (ITA) put on a masterclass in Tel Aviv to open his season in stunning fashion.
The world number 17 was greeted with a superstar reaction every time he graced the tatami in Israel and will be afforded the same kind of reaction in the French capital.
It went under the radar in Tel Aviv that Basile’s Grand Prix win was actually his first IJF World Judo Tour gold medal.
In his 26th attempt, having debuted on the IJF circuit in 2014, the Italian revelation was the last man standing and heard his anthem being played for the very first time in an IJF setting and crucially it was his first title since moving up a weight category in 2017.
Basile won bronze a year ago in France and will relish the stage of Paris on a Saturday in front of a capacity crowd of 12,500 judo lovers.
Osaka Grand Slam winner Ebinuma Masashi (JPN), who took bronze at the season-ending Masters, has been picked alongside former world champion and Masters winner Hashimoto Soichi (JPN).
It does both men a disservice to consider their participation as the pair of them fighting for the right to be Japan’s number two behind pound-for-pound king Ono Shohei (JPN) as both men are champions in their own right and are two of the most breathtaking judoka in the sport.
World number one Rustam Orujov (AZE) will also be in the mix in Paris in a category which could steal the show on day one.
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