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Olympic Champion Kaori Matsumoto eyecatcher at GP Mongolia
2 Jul 2015 22:10
Japanese Olympic champion Matsumoto Kaori leads a 12-strong team in action at the Grand Prix of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. The event shows a wealth of class in all 14 weight categories. The Japanese team consists of experienced fighters such as Matsumoto and young talents such as World Junior Champion Minei Miho.
The Olympic champ won this year the European Open in Oberwart and concentrated her schedule on the All Japanese Championships which gave her access to the World Championships qualification. Her class U57 in Mongolia hastwo-time World Judo Masters winner DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) as highest seed. She won the first edition of her home Grand Prix in 2013. World number three DORJSUREN is one of her country’s leading medal hopes while Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) and MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN) – who lost her first round contest to FILZMOSER at the World Judo Masters – and five-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Jovana ROGIC (SRB) will all be out to stop DORJSUREN.
Lightweight World Champion Ganbat Boldbaatar can prolong his title again, he won the last two events in the Mongolian capital. Stuttering Ganbat will hope home surroundings can inspire him to rediscover the form which saw him win his first world title in Chelyabinsk last August. Ganbat won his first IJF medal of the year at the World Judo Masters in May, an important bronze medal, and has topped the podium in the two previous editions of his home Grand Prix.
Olympic champion Arsen GALSTYAN (RUS) will be out to upset Mongolia’s home favourite DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg (MGL) U66kg. Arsen GALSTYAN (RUS) said: “I am now feeling comfortable at this weight and things are improving for me. I have confidence and excitement at being here in Mongolia. I will do my best to get the result I want and need as we approach Rio 2016.”
World silver medallist HONG Kuk Hyon (PRK) is the top seed in the -73kg category which has a liberal sprinkling of know-how as Olympic champion Mansur ISAEV (RUS) and Mongolia’s Olympic bronze medallists KHASHBAATAR Tsagaanbaatar (MGL) and SAINJARGAL Nyam-Ochir (MGL) will no doubt be the centre of attention. "I am hoping to face Olympic champion Mansur ISAEV (RUS) in the quarter-final, he is a great judoka and I will need to be at my best if this match comes up for me. I thank all the media for coming along today and look forward to seeing you all at the Grand Prix."
Over 200 athletes will compete from Friday from 35 nations. Last year the home nation won the medal table with 3 gold medals, followed by Japan, also 3 victories. Georgia and China won two gold medals. The German team will try to improve last years performance with three lost finals.
Iljana MARZOK (GER) competes U70kg: “After starting the year with a shoulder injury I wasn't able to medal in the previous events. Since then I made good progress so I'm looking forward to stepping on the mat here in Ulaanbaatar. Everyone in Mongolia is very hospitable and I think it is unique as their judo is influenced with their traditional wrestling background.”
Heavyweight Carolin WEISS (GER) said: “I'm very excited to come to Mongolia and it is an important tournament for me. I'd like to take this chance to fight again on an international level and I'll hope that I can show my whole potential during the tournament.”
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