Sunday, August 10, 2014

2014 Chelyabinsk World Championships Preview - 100kg

In the men's -100kg division, the player at the top of the rankings is Czech Republic's Lukas Krpalek, and fittingly so. Although not as fanciful a thrower as someone like Russia's London Olympics Champion, Tagir Khaybulaev, Krpalek is very good at newaza and has a particularly effective armlock. The reigning European champion, Krpalek (23) is a young player just on the cusp of major global success and Chelyabinsk could be his moment of glory.

He has many rivals in his way though. First and foremost is Khaybulaev, who is making a comeback. It's always difficult to make an effective comeback after reaching your peak, as can be seen in the case of France's Lucie Decosse and Khaybulaev's own teammate Alexander Mikhaylin. Still, Khaybulaev is one of the most stylish players in his weight class, with remarkable throwing abilities. He has fought Krpalek twice, and won both times.


Brazil's world champion Luciano Correa hasn't been able to win another world title since he won it in 2007 but you can't count him out. He is one player who has consistently beaten Khaybulaev. They have fought three times so far and all three matches went to Correa.

The Netherlands' three-times World Silver Medalist Henk Grol is looking to break the spell and win his first title. He has fought Krpalek five times and won four of them. So, he can't be discounted either.

France's Cyrille Maret was a Junior World Champion. He hasn't won a world title yet but he's a serious contender. He's fought Krpalek twice and won both times. Interestingly, he has fought Khaybulaev three times and won all three. He has difficulty with Grol and has lost to him three times but in their latest encounter, at the 2014 Paris Grand Slam, Maret emerged victor. Similarly, he has lost to Correa three times as well, but in their last fight, at the 2013 Rio World Championships, Maret won. So, it does look like he is on a roll.

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