Saturday, June 21, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Budapest 2014 - PREVIEW

(Via IJF)

The first Budapest Grand Prix has proved an instant hit with judoka as 407 athletes from 53 countries will compete on Saturday and Sunday at the Papp Laszlo Sport Arena. 


The two-day Grand Prix comes two weeks after the inaugural Havana Grand Prix which was the first IJF event to carry points towards qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Budapest is home to the IJF Presidential Office and the Hungarian capital hosted a highly-regarded European Championships at the same venue in 2013.

Hosts Hungary have selected 54 judoka including Olympic, world and European medallists.

Japan has entered a 10-strong team including eight members of their World Championships team as KONDO Ami, MATSUMOTO Kaori, TASHIRO Miku, NUNIRA Karen, TACHIMOTO Megumi, TAKATO Naohisa, TAKAICHI Kengo and KAMIKAWA Daiki all fight before the annual extravaganza in August.

226 men and 181 women will compete in Budapest as the first Budapest Grand Prix has attracted a world-class field.

The draw took place at the competition venue on Friday afternoon as the delegations had an early taste of this weekend’s battleground.

Official Draw of the Budapest Grand Prix

Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, made the welcoming address.

“Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome all of you to the first Grand Prix of Budapest. I have great pleasure to introduce to you to some special guests including the President of the Mini Golf Federation Mr. Gerhard Zimmermann from Germany and the President of the International Fistball Association Mr. Karl Weiss

“There are a lot of members here from the Pan American judo team, Asian judo, Europe, Africa and Oceania. Welcome to all of you. I hope we will enjoy together the first Grand Prix in Budapest and it will be success. I wish all coaches, athletes and delegates to achieve success and the best for their delegation.”

Dr. Laszlo TOTH, Hungarian Judo Association President, said: “Dear Mr. President, committee members, VIP guests, dear everybody who has accepted our invitation to the first Grand Prix in Budapest. I hope we open a new tradition with this competition, I hope we start and continue it. It is a great pleasure to welcome everyone. We have the best competitors from judo world, best coaches and athletes. I hope we enjoy together this Olympic qualification tournament. Thank you very much for your attention.”

Mr. Jan SNIJDERS, IJF Head Referee Director, said: “We all know about the current rules and their application. Three points I want emphasise your attention to are taking a grip in kumi kata, not going outside the area and don’t make false attacks. I wish all of you a lot of success at this Grand Prix in Budapest.”

The IJF Refereeing Commission held a seminar ahead of the competition at the House of Sports Hungary with referees and coaches. The seminars, which were introduced at the Tbilisi Grand Prix, are used to create an open and positive discussion on the key areas from both groups.

Mr. SNIJDERS said: “We had a very nice discussion as we used to seminar to further clarify rules with those who had questions and illustrated clear videos which were well received. Video examples included a focus on the kumi kata grips and going outside the area. We anticipated that the next seminar will be held in Tyumen ahead of the Grand Slam in July.”

IJF Hall of Famer Mr. Franco Cappelletti was among the guests in attendance for the draw and said: “I’m very much looking forward to the competition. The standard is very high and I expect to see some world-class judo here in Budapest.”




European champion Eva CSERNOVICZKI (HUN) will have home advantage this weekend and only a herculean effort from one of her rivals can derail her gold medal ambitions. Olympic bronze medallist CSERNOVICZKI will face opposition from judoka such as 19-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam winner KONDO Ami (JPN) who has also been selected for the World Championships in Chelyabinsk. World number 15 Taciana LIMA-BALDE (GBS) will see action before defending her African title next week in Mauritius where she will aim for a World Ranking Points windfall. 


World champion Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS) is edging closer to defending her crown in Cherlyabinsk and will view this weekend’s Grand Prix as a key event. European bronze medallist Andreea CHITU (ROU), Paris Grand Slam runner-up Jaana SUNDBERG (FIN) and Baku Grand Slam runner-up Priscilla GNETO (FRA) are all along the elite -52kg judoka.


World number one Miryam ROPER (GER) finished fifth at the Havana Grand Prix last time out and will be aiming for a return to the medal podium in Budapest. Olympic champion MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN), who returned to the World Judo Tour by winning gold at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in February, will be in action and her unbeaten record in international competitions since London will be on the line. Home judoka Hedvig KARAKAS (HUN) has looked assured on the Grand Prix stage this year and will battle to go all the way in her homeland. 


World number three Anicka VAN EMDEN (NED) can close the gap on world number one Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) and world number two Yarden GERBI (ISR) as both of her nearest rivals are not competing Hungary. Dutch star VAN EMDEN will be tested by a star-laden crop of -63kg judoka including Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist TASHIRO Miku (JPN) and world number 10 Edwige GWEND (ITA) who is growing in stature with every competition. 


World number three and world champion Yuri ALVEAR (COL) won the Pan American title in April and has made the long trip to Budapest to vie for Grand Prix honours. Teen star Barbara MATIC (CRO) won bronze at the Havana Grand Prix to add to her stunning European bronze medal and joins Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA) and World Championships-bound NUNIRA Karen (JPN) in the leading pack for silverware. 


European bronze medallist Abigel JOO (HUN) will be the favourite on home soil. The 23-year-old, who finished fifth at the London 2012 Olympics, is only missing world and Olympic honours form her highly-stocked resume. Olympic silver medallist Gemma GIBBONS (GBR) and Samsun Grand Prix silver medallist Natalie POWELL (GRB) are both eminent names in the -78kg field while 20-year-old Baku Grand Slam winner Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) has made smooth transition into senior judo. 


Three-time world bronze medallist TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN) will prepare for another tilt at world honours by fighting in Hungary on Sunday. TACHIMOTO will compete alongside 22-year-old European bronze medallist Jasmin KUELBS (GER) and European runner-up Larisa CERIC (BIH). 

The Official Poster of the Budapest Grand Prix



World champion TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) is undefeated since the 2013 All Japan Judo Championships as he’s dominated the weight category on all fronts. The 21-year-old prodigy has won World Judo Masters gold, Tokyo Grand Slam gold, All Japan gold and most importantly world gold last year in Rio to end his coountry’s 16-year wait for a lightweight world kingpin. World number two and European silver medallist Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) along with world silver medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) all take their place in one of the most richly-talented categories at Hungary’s inaugural Judo Grand Prix. 


World bronze medallist Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) could be the main man in Budapest as he steps up his quest for world honours ahead of the annual showpiece in August. TAKACIHI Kengo (JPN) earned himself selection to his first World Championships by winning the All Japan Championships in April as the 21-year-old took gold while reigning world champion EBINUMA Masashi (JPN) had to settle for bronze. Sugoi URIARTE (ESP) took silver at the Havana Grand Prix and will hope to challenge again in Hungary. 


Mongolia’s talismanic former world champion KHASHBAATAR Tsagaanbaatar (MGL) will be looking for a strong performance to ensure he’s at his best when the World Judo Tour returns to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar in July. Former European medallist Pierre DUPRAT (FRA) and Olympic champion Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) join Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Victor SCVORTOV (UAE) in action on the opening day. 


Olympic bronze medallist SAINJARGAL Nyam-Ochir (MGL) looks poised to commit to competing in the -81kg for the Rio 2016 qualifying campaign and has to go back a year to his triumph at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix for his last World Judo Tour medal. World bronze medallist Alain SCHMITT (FRA) and two-time World Judo Masters bronze medallist Sirazhudin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) will also grace the tatami. 


World number six Noel Van T End is the top seed in Budapest in the -90kg category. The Dutchman took silver at the Baku Grand Slam to follow up on earning the same colour medal at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix. Double world silver medallist NISHIYAMA Daiki (JPN) and Baku Grand Slam winner Guillaume ELMONT (NED) will both be tipped for a tilt at the medal podium. 


World champion Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) will compete on Sunday along with world number two and the man he defeated to clinch the world crown in Rio, world number four Henk GROL (NED). Havana Grand Prix winner Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL) has made a flying start to the Rio 2016 qualification campaign having also won the Madrid European Open in May. Former Tokyo Grand Slam winner Euan BURTON (GBR) makes his last appearance on the World Judo Tour before the 35-year-old competes for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in July. 


European silver medallist Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO) will be the top seed in the heavyweight category on Sunday. OKRUASHBILI lost out to Chris SHERRINGTON (GBR) in Havana as the Briton made a successful return to the World Judo Tour when he captured a hard-fought silver medal. Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner KAMIKAWA Daiki (JPN) and Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist MATIASHVILI Levani (GEO) will expect to be among the front-runners. 

09:00 Preliminaries on four mats
16:30 Opening ceremony
17:00 Final block on two mats

Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg
Men: -60kg, -66kg, -73kg

09:00 Preliminaries on four mats
17:00 Final block on two mats

Women: -70kg, -78kg, +78kg
Men: -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg

Location: Papp Laszlo Sport Arena

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