Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 Judo Grand Slam, Baku - Official Draw & Preview

(Via IJF)


The International Judo Federation’s World Judo Tour resumes this weekend in Azerbaijan with the second edition of the Baku Grand Slam at the Sarhadchi Olympic Sport Centre from Friday 9 - Sunday 11 May.  


The continental championships (for Pan America, Oceania and Europe) were the focal point of April with Africa and Asia set to host their championships in June and September respectively.

Azerbaijan’s booming capital city is under constant development with the inaugural 2015 European Games one of one an abundance of upcoming world-class events in the city.

The three-day Grand Slam marks a fascinating return to action for judo’s elite with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification phase set to start at the end of May when Madrid hosts its latest European Open.

Paris opened the IJF tour this year with the first of four annual Grand Slam’s, before Dusseldorf, Tbilisi (new event) and Samsun all hosted Grand Prix events.

A quality-laden field of 247 judoka from 41 countries will compete as hosts Azerbaijan enter a 39-strong team.

The draw took place on Thursday at Park Inn hotel as the coaches and athletes in attendance waited to discover who their respective charges will meet in the second Grand Slam of the year.


The Official Draw of the 2014 Baku Grand Slam 

Mr. Naser AL-TAMEEMI, IJF General Treasurer, made the welcoming address.

“Dear Mr. Vice President, dear my colleagues, dear judo friends, ladies and gentleman, I would like to thank the Azerbaijan Judo Federation for hosting this Grand Slam. I would like to thank all the federations for taking part. I wish you all a good stay in Baku and a good result this weekend.”

Mr. Asif ASGAROV, Azerbaijan Judo Federation Vice President, said: “Dear guests, I welcome you to the land of Azerbaijan, we are privileged to host this event in Baku. We have made great progress in the sporting landscape in this country and have hosted many international competitions. The first European Games will be held here next year and we’re confident we can show a high level of organisation this weekend. I hope you all leave our country with good impressions and I wish good luck to everyone.”

Mr. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director, said: “I would like to thank the Azerbaijan Judo Federation for hosting another top level event. This is a strong judo country and I am sure you are all looking forward to testing yourselves here during the three days of competition.”

Following the draw, Mr. Juan Carlos BARCOS, IJF Head Referee Director, said: “Dear judo friends, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to talk about referee situation. We need to make a self-criticism in that sometimes we lack consistency in the application of the rules. This is confusing for coaches, athletes and spectators.

“We are in touch with the coaching commission and now in our meetings we analyse the latest fights in order to deliver a consistency for everybody. Sometimes referees are very strict at the start of the contest and not so strict at the end. This is very important as we are committed to being consistent from the beginning of competition right through to the end. We inform coaches to respect the rules and ask their players to. I hope that by working together we can be clear with the application for everybody. Qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games starts at the Madrid Continental Open which is a very important time and we must all be involved in trying to deliver our best. Good luck this weekend.”

FOLLOW THE COMPETITION
The draw can be seen at: www.ippon.org/gs_aze2014.php
Live stream on Ippon TV: http://www.ippon.tv
Facebook:
 http://www.facebook.com/ijudo
Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/IntJudoFed
Official event hash tag:
#JudoBaku2014
Instagram: http://instagram.com/judogallery
YouTube:
 http://www.youtube.com/judo



WOMEN

-48kg

World champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) is the top seed in the lightest weight category which will produce the event’s first gold medallist on Friday afternoon. The 24-year-old has not topped the medal podium since her world title triumph but is always in medal contention and secured silver medals at the season-opening Paris Grand Slam and Dusseldorf Grand Prix. Sümeyye AKKUS (TUR) won bronze at her home Grand Prix in Samsun for the second year in a row and finished a respectable seventh-place at the European Championships last time out. The field opened up in Baku last year for AKKUS as she emerged with a bronze medal and the Turkish judoka is well-placed to repeat that feat on the opening day. 

-52kg

Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Roni SCHWARTZ (ISR) is the number one seed in the -52kg category and registered the first Grand Slam medal of her career last year in Moscow where she won bronze. SCHWARTZ last graced a medal podium at her national championships in December where she earned a runner-up spot. Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla GNETO (FRA) makes her long-awaited return from injury this weekend and, despite her lengthy absence, is the second seed. Former Tokyo Grand Slam runner-up GNETO, 22, claimed a silver medal at the Miami Grand Prix last year and will aim to alert her rivals to her return to fitness and form by winning Grand Slam silverware.     

-57kg

European Championships bronze medallist Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) is the top seed in Baku. The 33-year-old veteran won her ninth European medal in her last outing and the continental specialist also has two world bronze medals to her name. Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Jovana ROGIC (SRB), who finished seventh at the Paris Grand Slam in February, will be a leading contender along with Samsun Grand Prix winner Laetitia BLOT (FRA) and World Championships bronze medallist Vlora BEDETI (SLO). 

-63kg

World Championships bronze medallist Anicka VAN EMDEN (NED) won European bronze in her last competition and will be the fighter to beat in the -63kg category. Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Edwige GWEND (ITA), who finished fifth at the European Championships, will be tipped to maintain her rich vein of form and challenge for a Grand Slam medal which would take her career to new heights. Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Hilde DREXLER (AUT) and Samsun Grand Prix runner-up Rizlen ZOUAK (MOR) will both be expected to mount a major medal push. 

-70kg

European champion Kim POLLING (NED) is one of most spectacular talents in judo at the present time as she thrills judo fans across the world with dynamic displays of sheer quality. Samsun Grand Prix silver medallist Sally CONWAY (GBR) is the second seed in Baku. CONWAY, who recently moved up to a career-best position of world number seven, will have fond memories of last year’s event where she won bronze, the first Grand Slam prize of her flourishing career. 

-78kg

Almaty Grand Prix winner Anastasiya DMITRIEVA (RUS) is the top seed as a result of winning five Grand Prix medals last year. DMITRIEVA is yet to capture a Grand Slam medal but that could change on Sunday, the final day of action in Baku. Samsun Grand Prix silver medallist Natalie POWELL (GBR) is seeded second and will expect to stand on the medal podium in Azerbaijan. POWELL, who has been selected to represent Wales at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in July, will be joined in action by 20-year-old Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) who, having burst onto the senior scene in style in her homeland, will be challenging for back-to-back Grand Slam medals. 

+78kg

Jeju Grand Prix winner KIM Eunkyeong (KOR) will be one of nine judoka in the heaviest women’s category which will be contested on Sunday. KIM, who finished seventh at last year’s World Championships, won bronze at the 2013 Paris Grand Slam to show that she is more than capable of producing results outside Asia. Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Ksenia CHIBISOVA (RUS) has the ability and opportunity to win her first Grand Slam medal.  


MEN

-60kg

Top seed GANBOLD Kherlen (MGL) took silver at the Qingdao Grand Prix and finished fifth at this year’s Paris Grand Slam. GANBOLD will be pushed for top spot by a talent-laden field including three home judoka along with Ashley MCKENZIE (GBR) and Rijeka Grand Prix silver medallist Sofiane MILOUS (FRA). Orkhan SAFAROV, Ilgar MUSHKIYEV and Vugar SHIRINLI will all fly the flag for the hosts on the opening day. 

-66kg

Tashkent Grand Prix winner Mirzahid FARMONOV (UZB) leads the -66kg category into action on Friday. The Uzbek judoka will be joined in action by Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Colin OATES (GBR) who is one of his country’s three judoka who are seeded second in their respective categories. Former two-time world champion and London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Rishod SOBIROV (UZB) returns to action. 

-73kg

Mongolian star KHASHBAATAR Tsagaanbaatar (MGL) is the top seed in the -73kg category which features Olympic champion Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) who has jumped up from the -66kg category since London. Former Pan American champion Nick DELPOPOLO (USA) will battle along with Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Denis IARTCEV (RUS).

-81kg

Olympic bronze medallist Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER (CAN) is the man to beat on Saturday in the -81kg category. Oberwart European Open bronze medallist FORTIER will face world-class opposition for honours as reigning Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Alan KHUBETSOV (RUS), Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Atilla UNGVARI (HUN) and -73kg standout Zebeda REKHVIASHVILI (GEO) - who looks set to commit to the -81kg category where he won gold at the Oberwart European Open – all see action.  

-90kg

Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Zviad GOGOTCHURI (GEO) is the top seed in the -90kg category which will be closely watched on Sunday. Dusseldorf Grand Prix silver medallist Noel VAN T END (NED) is a young man on the rise and will fancy his chances as he grows in confidence with national and international honours all achieved in his recent exploits. Samsun Grand Prix winner and Junior world champion Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO), who is still only 18 years old, is a game opponent who will relish potential contests against Azerbaijan hope Shahin GAHRAMANOV who finished fifth at the European Championships and Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Walter FACENTE (ITA). 
  

-100kg

World champion and Azerbaijan hero Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) will be confident of successfully defending his 2013 title in front of his adoring compatriots. Javad MAHJOUB (IRI) has won back-to-back Grand Prix bronze medals in Tbilisi and Samsun and arrives in Baku as one of the leading threats to the -100kg gold medal. European Championships silver medallist Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) will hope to challenge for honours while former Olympic champion Tuvshinbayar NAIDAN (MGL) is a big stage performer which is also true of former world silver medallist Maxim RAKOV (KAZ).  

+100kg

World bronze medallist Faicel JABALLAH (TUN) and World Judo Masters bronze medallist Renat SAIDOV (RUS) will be aiming for brilliance in Baku. The men’s heavyweight category, who will close the competition on Sunday, also includes Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist and Junior world champion Anton KRIVOBOKOV (RUS) along with Abu Dhabi Grand Prix bronze medallist Boltoboy BALTAEV (UZB). 

COMPETITION PROGRAMME
Friday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
16:00 Opening ceremony
17:00 Final block on one tatami

Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg 
Men: -60kg, -66kg 

Saturday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on one tatami

Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -73kg, -81kg

Sunday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on one tatami

Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -90kg, -100kg, +100kg

Location: Sarhadchi Olympic Sport Centre

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