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Tashkent is packed with champions U78kg

Tashkent is packed with champions U78kg

3 Mar 2024 00:05
JudoHeroes & IJF Media / Copyright:

The category U78kg for women at the Grand Slam in Tashkent will deliver fireworks with six of the world top ten have travelled to Tashkent and among them are the one, two and three, Lanir (ISR), Bellandi (ITA) and Wagner (GER). Top seed Lanir may be only 23 but she already has 10 grand slam medals to her name and is the reigning world champion.

Apart from a host of laurels at different levels, Bellandi and 2021 world champion Wagner come to the Uzbek capital as silver and gold medallists respectively from Paris only a month ago. Alina Boehm (GER), however, is pushing Wagner hard for the German entry into the Olympic Games and arrives as the current European champion, just 4 places below her on the ranking list. Whoever comes out on top, they will be making a big statement.

The men’s U90kg division includes two world finals from the last 3 years, including a gold at home in 2022, Davlat Bobonov (UZB) is truly a hometown hero. He lit up the Humo Arena with his U90 kg victory at last year’s grand slam and begins his day at the top of the draw. On paper, he can win. In practice, judo is judo and sorting the results in advance will always be a mistake.

U100kg double world champion Jorge Fonseca (POR) hasn’t fought since November and has no seeding in Tashkent. The draw planted him squarely in the path of Arman Adamian (AIN), the current world champion, in the first round.

Further down the draw we find Doha world bronze medallist and veteran Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) facing off in round one too. The Georgian has 6 world medals and an Olympic silver but hasn’t competed for almost a year and at 35 he may find the Tashkent Grand Slam quite a challenge. His compatriot, 22 year old Sulamanidze is the current world number one in the category but isn’t fighting in Uzbekistan.

Whoever comes through those two contests, there are still a host of others to give them trouble before any medals can be claimed. Muzaffarbek Turoboyev (UZB), 2022 world champion is the home favourite and a very in-form Kanikovskiy will almost certainly be in the running too.

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