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Preview U78kg Tashkent: Anna-Maria Wagner is on a roll

Preview U78kg Tashkent: Anna-Maria Wagner is on a roll

10 Oct 2022 23:20
by JudoCrazy and JudoInside - Hans van Essen / judo news, results and photos

The No. 1 ranked player in this category is reigning World Champion Anna-Maria Wagner of Germany. Since losing in the semifinal of the Tokyo Olympics to Shori Hamada (JPN), she has taken part in two Grand Slams and won both of them. So, she is on a roll and will be hard to beat.

Germany’s World Champion U78kg Anna-Maria Wagner is still world number one and in the same pool with her country woman Alina Boehm for a place in the quarters, also Boehm is seeded and will have to deal with Brolih and Antomarchi. Another great pool is with Hamada, Lee and Powell. Also two Koreans here U78kg where Yoon will fight Madeleine Malonga, a tough challenge. Last year’s bronze medallist Loriana Kuka is added to the pool of Inbar Lanir, two promising athletes will battle it out.

Madeleine Malonga  is a former World Champion and a top prospect as well but she has not done so well recently. Since the Tokyo Olympics where she lost to Hamada in the final, Malonga has taken part in three Grand Slams has not made the finals in any of them. In the European Championships she lost to Alice Bellandi (ITA), who is new to this category.

Newaza specialist, Shori Hamada, a former World Champion and the reigning Olympic Champion, is probably the favorite. As mentioned earlier, she had beaten both Malonga and Wagner in the Tokyo Olympics. However, she has not fought much since the Olympics and has taken part in only one IJF event: The Hungary Grand Slam. There she experienced a big upset losing to Bellandi of Italy, who had recently moved up from -70kg to-78kg. Bellandi, who seems to be growing from strength to strength, could be the dark horse that surprises everybody.

Obviously a load of candidates for the medals, what about Mayra Aguiar, still a powerhouse. Inbar Lanir of Israel is on form and can Guusje Steenhuis get back in good shape at this level, she is in a good mood to medal.