Thursday, September 11, 2014

Judo Grand Prix, Zagreb 2014 Official Draw - PREVIEW

(Via IJF)

The IJF World Judo Tour resumes this weekend in Croatia as the capital city of Zagreb becomes the latest destination on the global circuit.

The World Championships, Chelyabinsk 2014, are still fresh in the memory after the world watched a renowned judo spectacle just two weeks ago. The road to Rio 2016 is gathering momentum and the next chapter will be written from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 September at Dom Sportova.

Zagreb is a vibrant city in the northwest of the country and is the location of the Croatian Judo Federation head office. Croatia’s largest city hosts the last event on the European leg of the IJF World Judo Tour before heading for Asia.

A world-class field will compete in Zagreb as world medallists look to capitalise on their rich vein of form while fighters who did not do themselves justice in Chelyabinsk have an immediate opportunity to atone for their below-par performances. There are also those who missed on selection who are looking to stake their claim for a spot at major events and youngsters who are set to break into the senior ranks.

A gold medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix is worth 300 points ($3000 prize money), silver earns 180 points ($2000 prize money) and bronze is rewarded with 120 points ($1000 prize money).

Judo fans will see 331 judoka compete from 46 countries as 182 men and 149 women bid for honours over three days in Croatia.

The Official Draw of the Judo Grand Prix, Zagreb 2014

Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA, IJF Education and Coaching Director, opened the draw on Thursday at the Westin Hotel.

“Ms. President, judo colleagues, on behalf of our President Mr. Marius VIZER, I would like to welcome you all to Zagreb for our Judo Grand Prix,” he said.

“We thank the Croatian Judo Federation for their efforts in hosting this event and we wish you all a successful competition and enjoyable time here.”

Dr. Sanda CORAK, Croatian Judo Federation President, said: “I’d like to welcome you all to Croatia and I hope the change of location will add to your experience. Judo really started in Croatia in 1951 here in Zagreb and it is fitting to be here for a Grand Prix.

“I want to thank the IJF and President VIZER for trusting us with this event once again and I would like to thank our sponsors and judo friends who make this Grand Prix possible. I wish good luck to all the competitors and the participating countries.”




World number six Taciana LIMA-BALDE (GBS) leads a strong lightweight field which will crown the first Zagreb Grand Prix gold medallist on Friday. Two-time African champion LIMA-BALDE, who is well on the way to becoming her country’s first judo Olympian, will be in action alongside Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Valentina MOSCATT (ITA) who earned continental honours herself in 2007 with a silver medal in Belgrade. Olympic bronze medallist Charline VAN SNICK (BEL) returns to action to boost her country’s footprint on the IJF World Judo Tour and her own desire to qualify and chase honours at Rio 2016. Junior world champion Irina DOLGOVA (RUS) and 21-year-old Miami Grand Prix silver medallist Nathalia BRIGIDA (BRA) bring their untapped talents to Zagreb. 


European bronze medallist Gili COHEN (ISR) and 37-year-old Ilse HEYLEN (BEL) will be names to look out for while at the other end of her career teenager Distria KRASNIQI (KOS) will aim to follow up on her Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medal. Baku Grand Slam bronze medallists Petra NAREKS (SLO) and Roni SCHWARTZ (ISR), French veteran and Baku Grand Slam winner Annabelle EURANIE (FRA) will all be in action along with the returning Birgit ENTE (NED) who makes her first appearance on the IJF World Judo Tour this year after recovering from injury. 


Former world bronze medallist Vlora BEDETI (SLO) and Baku Grand Slam winner Laetitia BLOT (FRA) join Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Hedvig KARAKAS (HUN) and Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Jovana ROGIC (SRB) in -57kg action. Nora GJAKOVA (KOS) won bronze in Croatia a year ago and has the potential to exceed that return in 2014 while 21-year-old Commonwealth Games winner Nekoda DAVIS (GBR) is edging closer to her maiden Grand Prix medal. 


World bronze medallist Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) peaked perfectly for Chelyabinsk 2014 and has sufficient enough energy and motivation to make an immediate return to action in Zagreb. TRSTENJAK, 24, is looking more polished with every outing and is the favourite to top the podium in Croatia. Edwige GWEND (ITA) has been painstakingly close to medalling at the major events of the year having finished fifth at the European and World Championships and her time is coming. The ever-active world number 16 Hannah MARTIN (USA) is overdue a medal on the IJF World Judo Tour after fifth-place finishes in Samsun and Tbilisi and seventh-place finishes in Havana and Ulaanbaatar. Former Junior World bronze medallist Gemma HOWELL (GBR) is back in action after an injury-ravaged year and will be eager to make up for lost time as the London 2012 Olympian embarks on her road to Rio 2016.  


Former world number one Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN) who finished seventh in Chelyabinsk will see action in Croatia. World number five Sally CONWAY (GBR) and Budapest Grand Prix winner Iljana MARZOK (GER) both suffered early exits in Chelyabinsk and will be out for redemption in Zagreb. European bronze medallist Barbara MATIC (CRO) finished fifth in Russia to break into the world top 10 for the first time in her thriving career and the 19-year-old will be in action along with 20-year-old Margaux PINOT (FRA) who has the chance to catch the eye in individual competition after being part of the French team which won world gold in Chelyabinsk. World bronze medallist Katarzyna KLYS (POL) will be among the favourites. 


World bronze medallist Anamari VELENSEK (SLO) will be expected to take command of the -78kg on Sunday. The 23-year-old Paris Grand Slam winner emerged triumphant at Croatia’s first Grand Prix last year in Rijeka and is poised to challenge in Zagreb. French youngster Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) finds herself behind world silver medallist Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) and fellow Worlds participant Lucie LOUETTE KANNING (FRA) in the domestic pecking order but has still won two Grand Slam medals in 2014 (Paris – Silver, Baku – Gold). European bronze medallist Abigel JOO (HUN), Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Assunta GALEONE (ITA) and Croatian prodigy and Youth Olympic Games winner Brigita MATIC (CRO) will also be among the medal contenders.  


Commonwealth Games champion Sarah ADLINGTON (GBR) will see action on the third and final day in Croatia which will also feature Buenos Aires Pan American Open winner Rochele NUNES (BRA), former European bronze medallist Iryna KINDZERSKA (UKR), Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist Gulsah KOCATURK (TUR) and Warsaw European Open silver medallist Elisa MARCHIO (ITA). 



Former European bronze medallist Ashley MCKENZIE (GBR) is the top seed in Zagreb and will be confident of delivering success for Great Britain. Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Diego SANTOS (BRA) is looking for his first IJF medal of 2014 and will be chasing honours as will be Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist and veteran Ludwig PAISCHER (AUT) in addition to two-time European bronze medallist Jeroen MOOREN (NED). 


Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Alim GADANOV (RUS) watched his teammates steal the -66kg show in Chelyabinsk and at 31 needs to keep producing results to remain in the plans of Russia’s Team Manager Ezio GAMBA (RUS). GADANOV has also earned bronze medals at Grand Prix in Tbilisi and Dusseldorf this year and will be a joint favourite for glory in Croatia with Commonwealth Games winner Colin OATES (GBR). Reigning national champion Diogo CESAR (POR) put a couple of wins together at the World Championships and will take that momentum into Zagreb where he could come up against Madrid European Open bronze medallist Adrien BOURGUIGNON (FRA). 


European bronze medallist Rok DRAKSIC (SLO) has to go back to February for his last IJF medal when he took bronze at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix. The 27-year-old lost out in the third round at the World Championships and will expect to have a longer and more productive outing in Croatia. European champion Dex ELMONT (NED) was also humbled in the preliminaries two weeks ago on the same day as Miklos UNGVARI (HUN) lost out in the last 16 round to eventual bronze medallist Musa MOGUSHKOV (RUS). Tyumen Grand Slam winner Denis IARTCEV (RUS) was a member of the host country’s World Team silver medallists on the final day in Chelyabinsk. 


Havana Grand Prix silver medallist Travis STEVENS (USA) is the top seed in the -81kg category. The 28-year-old American has played a key role in the category this year with three Grand Prix medals to his name and will expect to make it four this weekend. Former European silver medallist Tomislav MARIJANOVIC (CRO) will energise the home faithful while there is a polished roster of international names looking to outperform him. Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Robin PACEK (SWE) and Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Valeriu DUMINICA (MDA) will be joined by Budapest Grand Prix silver medallist Sirazhudin MAGOMEDOV (RUS) and Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Murat KHABACHIROV (RUS). 


World silver medallist Krisztian TOTH (HUN) is not resting to soak up the domestic reaction of his superb silver medal from Chelyabinsk 2014. The 20-year-old prodigy is back in action and intent on continuing his accelerated rise up the rankings with a medal-winning performance in Zagreb. Miami Pan American bronze medallist Celio DIAS (POR) and Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Grigorii SULEMIN (RUS) will see action along with Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Noel VAN T END (NED). 


European bronze medallist Adlan BISULTANOV (RUS) is the top seed in Zagreb and could dominate proceedings for Russia. Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Rafael BUZACARINI (BRA) and Sindelfingen European Cup silver medallist Dino PFEIFFER (GER) will expect to mount a serious tilt for honours while 22-year-old European u23 Championships silver medallist Clement DELVERT (FRA) gets a chance to shine for France. 


Dutch powerhouse Roy MEYER (NED) looks set to breakout on the senior stage after his fifth-place finish at the World Championships. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix silver medallist MEYER, 23, finished seventh at the European Championships and Paris Grand Slam this year and is growing in confidence and stature. Former World Open Championships silver medallist Barna BOR (HUN) will be in action along with 22-year-old Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Daniel NATEA (ROU). Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Or SASSON (ISR) was, like many after him, emphatically dispatched by Teddy RINER (FRA) two weeks ago and will expect a longer day in Zagreb and will be joined in action by Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jake ANDREWARTHA (AUS).

10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
16:30 Opening ceremony
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on one mat

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

Location: Dom Sportova

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