Friday, August 5, 2016

Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil Official Draw - PREVIEW

(Via IJF)



The Rio 2016 Olympic Games judo competition at the first Olympiad in South America, is set to enthral the world who will be watching the must-see action emanating from Saturday 6 – Friday 12 August at the Carioca Arena 2. 



The most eagerly-anticipated Olympics in history, the first in Brazil, has welcomed the finest judoka on the planet for an unforgettable Samba show as the hosts’ flamboyance, passion and zest for life will provide the stage and atmosphere for the most spectacular judo competition in history.

Two categories will be contested on each day (one men, one women) over the next week as the format is as watchable as it is compelling for a global television audience. The competition, the first major judo event in the judo-loving country since the World Championships in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, is spread over seven days moving from the lightweights to the heavyweights with a morning session featuring the preliminaries and the second session featuring the semi-finals, repechage and all the medal contests. 

Record participation

Judo is setting a participation record for the second successive Olympic Games as 390 judoka will compete from 136 nations. Those numbers include full delegations of 14 judoka (7 men, 7 women) for only three countries as judo’s powerhouse nations of hosts Brazil, Japan and France could lead the way in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil are granted a full home quota of 14 judoka and have filled those ranks with Olympic and world medallists with the country expecting a mass of medals from their judo stars. 

Judo’s flagbearers

In addition to judo’s impressive numbers on the tatami, a host of inspirational judoka will have the honour to lead their country and team into the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games on Friday.

Algeria, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Kosovo, Monaco, Madagascar, Mongolia and Nepal have all picked judoka to carry their flag with the world watching on the eve of the start of the seven-day judo competition.

Refugee Olympic Team to make history

A Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) will compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for the first time and two Congo-born judoka will represent the IOC flag. Popole MISENGA (-90kg) and Yolande BUKASA (-70kg), who both now reside in Rio de Janeiro and train at Flavio Canto’s famed Institute for disadvantaged young people, will be roared on by neutral supporters and carioca alike as their underdog story and desire to be the best person and best fighter that they can be will resonate with the world. ROT’s two judoka will both compete on Wednesday 10 August with Brazilian judo coaching legend Geraldo BERNANDES guiding them in his fourth Olympics.   

The road from London 2012 to Rio 2016

The success of judo at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and during the build-up throughout the flourishing IJF World Judo Tour, saw judo move to a category C classification.

Judo’s two-year Olympic qualification cycle for Rio 2016 started in 2014 as the IJF World Judo Tour has grown in stature and provided a thrilling stage for the best athletes on the planet who battled to qualify for Rio 2016 until the invite-only World Judo Masters in May of this year, the final qualification event.

Seven Olympic champions out of 14 from London will return to the stage of their greatest feat as they all aim to become two-time Olympic champions. 


The official draw took place on Thursday afternoon at the Teatro Bradesco in the Village Mall, Barra da Tijuca.

Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, made the opening address in Rio de Janeiro having hosted a popular Twitter Question and Answer session earlier in the day. Click here to follow the Q&A.  

“Ladies and gentlemen, media representatives, colleagues, we have come to the end of a four-year Olympic cycle with you and we hope to deliver a successful event at the Olympic Games. In our #JudoForTheWorld series we show that judo has social and education values.

“At the Olympics we are the third largest sport in terms of universality with 136 countries and 390 judoka taking part in the judo competition. All the judoka here at Rio 2016 are winners and champions but unfortunately only a few of you can be champions. I wish you all good luck, I hope you pay attention to the values of our sport, your focus has to be to set an example to those who are not only watching on television but also other sports.

“I encourage you to all keep your emotions under control by showing discipline and self-control. I wish you all a successful Olympics in Rio.“

Mr. Jean-Luc ROUGE, IJF General Secretary, also addressed the mass of delegations, media and officials.

“Ladies and gentlemen, guests, it is a pleasure to welcome you all here to Rio for the Olympic Games. I have a message for the ethics of the Games from the IOC who have created a system in regards to match-fixing. I have to remind you as officials and sports people, you are not allowed to bet on the Olympic Games. There is an electronic system in place to monitor this in all sports events.

“I wish you all good luck at the Olympic Games and as our President Mr. Marius VIZER said your behaviour is paramount to having a successful competition and projecting a positive image of our sport.” 

Click here for the list of Olympic Broadcasters of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

The draw is available at - CLICK HERE






PREVIEW


WOMEN

-48kg - Saturday 6 August

Brazil’s first female Olympic judo champion Sarah MENEZES (BRA) – who started judo aged nine at her primary school in Teresina, Brazil – could win her country’s first gold medal at their home Olympics. MENEZES, has hit top form in 2016 after winning the Havana Grand Prix, the Pan American Games and capturing silver at the World Judo Masters. Otgontsetseg GALBADRAKH (KAZ) – whose given means ‘small flower’ – could bloom for Kazakhstan as the Olympic debutant has won medals at her last eight events including gold at the Paris Grand Slam and the Asian Championships. Mongolia’s first female world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) – the reason GALBADRAKH left Mongolia for Kazakhstan in 2015 - aims to become her country’s first female Olympic champion in any sport while former world champion KONDO Ami (JPN) could also star. 
  

-52kg - Sunday 7 August

Kosovan hero Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS) – who will be her country’s flagbearer at their first opening ceremony on Friday – is the favourite to win -52kg gold and to be the first Kosovo athlete to top an Olympic podium. Double world champion KELMENDI represented Albania in 2012 as Kosovo was not recognised by the IOC until 2014. KELMENDI suffered a premature exit in London but a year later won Kosovo’s first world title in any sport in Rio de Janeiro and the 2014 world champion has gold in her sights again in Rio.

Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist NAKAMURA Misato (JPN) is hoping to strike Olympic gold at her third and final attempt. The 2009, 2011 and 2015 world champion lost to eventual gold medallist AN Kum Ae (PRK) in London but NAKAMURA is a stronger character this time around and could prove unbeatable as she has in her last three competitions at the World Judo Masters, Tokyo Grand Slam and World Championships. Three-time world medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA) from her country’s capital city of Brasilia will be among the top seeds and will be in contention. 

-57kg - Monday 8 August

Olympic and world champion MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN) was dubbed ‘The Beast’ after her London 2012 victory in which she saved her country’s blushes as Japan’s only gold medallist in judo. MATSUMOTO took two years off after winning her first Olympic title and won the Tokyo Grand Slam in 2014 followed by the World Championships last year. The ne-waza master will become a judo legend if she can successfully retain her Olympic title.

Double World Judo Masters winner DORJSUREN Sumiya is the top-ranked judoka in the -57kg category and has only been beaten once in 2016. Ulaanbaatar judoka DORJSUREN has won the Asian Championships and World Judo Masters this year and took silver at the Paris Grand Slam after falling to KIM Jan-Di in the final. The world bronze medallist will not be fazed at her first Olympics and could be the pick of the 13 Mongolian judoka in Rio.

Former world champion Rafaela SILVA has one of the most remarkable and captivating stories of Rio 2016’s 10,000-plus Olympians. SILVA, 24, hails from Rocinha – the largest favela in Brazil – started judo in school as a means to channelling her energy into something positive and judo offered structure. Rafaela and her older sister Raquel moved on to Instituto Reacao, a judo school for all ages and abilities, founded by Olympic bronze medallist judoka Flavio CANTO (BRA). SILVA, who still says she is haunted by memory of London 2012 where she was disqualified in the preliminaries for a leg grab, became Brazil’s first female world judo champion in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro and an Olympic medal – the only one missing from her record – could be next.  

-63kg - Tuesday 9 August 

Slovenia’s first and reigning world champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) is in the incredible position of being the favourite to win the Olympic gold medal and if successful would retain the -63kg title for Slovenia. Urska ZOLNIR was the -63kg winner in London as she won Slovenia’s first Olympic judo gold medal and world number one TRSTENJAK is in pole position this time around with the added benefit of ZOLNIR being part of her coaching staff.

Former world champion Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) was a spectator four years ago in London and said the experience was ‘magical’. This time AGBEGNENOU will grace the tatami as one of the favourites having appeared in the final of all three editions of the World Championships since London 2012 and came out on top in 2014. The French fighter last fought in February when she won the Paris Grand Slam.

Havana Grand Prix winner Yarden GERBI (ISR) won Israel's first World Championship gold medal when she took first place in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. GERBI was last on the podium in January in Cuba having finished fifth at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix, European Championships and Baku Grand Slam in her last three events. The Israeli star has a great chance to become her country’s first female Olympic judo medallist but will only be thinking of gold and a first Olympic judo gold medal for Israel.  

-70kg - Wednesday 10 August

World champion Gevrise EMANE (FRA) won Olympic bronze in London in the -63kg category as her teammate Lucie DECOSSE won -70kg gold. EMANE, now 34, reverted back to her favoured -70kg category after DECOSSE retired and has arrived in Rio as the world and European champion. As the most experienced and accomplished -70kg judoka in the Brazil, EMANE starts as the favourite but triple world champion Yuri ALVEAR was on the London 2012 medal podium as she won bronze, the first Olympic medal for a Colombian judoka. ALVEAR started judo aged 14 having practised volleyball, water polo, handball and athletics previously.

London 2012 Olympian and four-time Grand Slam winner TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN) will be confident of a winning a medal at her second Olympic Games finished seventh in London. TACHIMOTO has lacked competitions in this campaign with one international event in 2016, two in 2015 and two in 2014 but has qualified with ease after winning Grand Slams back-to-back and was undefeated from 2014 until she took silver at the Paris Grand Slam this year. 

World number one Kim POLLING (NED) is a three-time European champion, a three-time Grand Slam winner and a three-time World Judo Masters winner but the Dutch fighter has managed only one medal at a World Championships. POLLING won the World Judo Masters last time out after finishing fifth at the European Championships and could be her country’s best medal hope in judo. 

-78kg - Thursday 11 August 

Olympic champion Kayla HARRISON (USA) has look unstopped of late as she prepares to try and defend her Olympic crown in what is expected to be her last Games. Former world champion HARRISON, 26, has won everything in judo but America’s first Olympic judo champion knows that she can leave behind a formidable legacy if she can win in Rio. The American’s greatest rival is London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Mayra AGUIAR (BRA) who won the 2014 World Championships. Porto Alegre’s AGUIAR, 24, and HARRISON have fought 17 times and it’s the latter who leads their gripping head-to-head series 9-8 which could have one final and most crucial entry next week.

World champion UMEKI Mama (JPN) will be overlooked by those who are sensing one more America – Brazil showdown at the summit of the -78kg category but the 21-year-old left everyone in her wake last year when she won all five contests to take a surprise gold medal.

Former world champion Sol KYONG (PRK) – who trains out of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology Sports Club - is unseeded and will be the most dangerous fighter outside of the top eight seeds as she looks for victory in Rio as she did in 2013 at the World Championships. 

+78kg - Friday 12 August 

The women’s heavyweight Olympic champion will be crowned on the final day of judo in Rio and Japan, China and Cuba are expected to maintain their stranglehold of +78kg title as the only three nations to capture the heaviest women’s gold medal. Olympic champion and number one seed Idalys ORTIZ, who took up judo aged 10 in Candelaria, Cuba, is chasing her third consecutive Olympic medal having won bronze at Beijing 2008. Until ORTIZ struck gold in London it was only Japan and China who had won this category but the charismatic Cuban has no intentions of letting Asia back into the fold. The 26-year-old has won her last three events, two Grand Prix (Almaty and Ulaanbaatar) and the World Judo Masters to enter the Olympics Games as the front-runner.

World champion YU Song (CHN) has been trusted by the Chinese selectors to take them back to the top of Olympic sport as they look to continue their staggering run in the women’s heavyweight division and add to gold medals from 1996, 2000 and 2008. YU was favoured to World Judo Masters silver medallist MA Sisi (CHN) for the Rio berth and is under pressure to deliver on the final day for China’s eight-member team.

World bronze medallist YAMABE Kanae (JPN) will make her Olympic debut in Rio and whatever her teammates achieve in the other 13 weight categories, the 25-year-old will be under intense pressure to perform for Japan. YAMABE made the Japanese number one spot her own by being a consistent medallist on the IJF World Judo Tour and staying injury-free which could not be said of her domestic rivals such as world silver medallist TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN). YAMABE will be seeded but cannot underestimate any opponent who will be bidding for the scalp of their lives on the biggest stage of all.  



MEN

-60kg - Saturday 6 August

Tokai University’s TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) ended his country’s 16-year wait for a -60kg world title when he won gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. The Japanese showman, 23, is now tasked with bringing the -60kg Olympic gold medal back to Japan for the first time since lightweight kingpin NOMURA Tadahiro (JPN) won his third Olympics in 2004. TAKATO will be one of the top seeds and won the Masters and Grand Slams in Paris and Tokyo in a row last year before suffering a surprise first round exit at this year’s Masters in May (to Vincent LIMARE of France who has not been picked for Rio).

Double world bronze medallist KIM Won-Jin (KOR) is widely tipped to star for South Korea who collectively possess one of the strongest teams in Rio de Janeiro. KIM, 24, is leading his country’s new generation of stars as one of the oldest and most experienced judoka in their talent-rich ranks. The Seoul-based fighter won the Dusseldorf Grand Prix this year either side of bronze medals at the Paris Grand Slam and World Judo Masters

World Judo Masters winner Orkhan SAFAROV (AZE) will be one of the top eight seeds and should put Azerbaijan in medal contention while world champion Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ) won the Asian Championships in April and could star on day one at the Carioca Arena 2.  

-66kg - Sunday 7 August

World champion and top-ranked AN Baul (KOR) won the Junior world crown in 2013 and has accelerated to the top of the category in record time. AN, 22, won the World Championships at this first attempt in 2015 and this year claimed the invite-only World Judo Masters at the first time of asking. Now the baby-faced dynamo is looking to make it an extraordinary hat-trick by winning the Olympic Games at his first opportunity.  

Triple world champion EBINUMA Masashi (JPN) won bronze at London 2012 and was disappointed with his first Olympic outing having entered as the then-world champion. EBINUMA, 26, won world titles in 2013 and 2014, as he has saved himself for the big occasions with only sporadic appearances on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Japanese poster boy has made only eight international appearances since London with the last coming February 2016 when he stylishly won the Paris Grand Slam which included a quarter-final win over AN (KOR) by ippon.

The sport’s household names are rich in supply in the -66kg category with double Olympic bronze medallist Rishod SOBIROV (UZB) eyeing a third Olympic medal as five-time world medallist and highlight-reel king Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) aims for his first.  

-73kg - Monday 8 August 

Two-time and reigning world champion ONO Shohei (JPN) is one of the most special talents in the sport and will see it as his destiny to win the Olympic Games. ONO, from Tenri University is a protégé of 1984 Olympic champion HOSOKAWA Shinji who masterminded NOMURA Tadahiro’s remarkable Olympic run, has one of the most complete skillsets in judo and will be looking to show that on the greatest stage of his career.

World bronze medallist AN Changrim (KOR) has been a sensation on the IJF World Judo Tour since bursting onto the scene in 2014 when he won the Jeju Grand Prix a month after winning the Junior World Championships. AN, 22, was born in Kyoto, Japan and speaks fluent Japanese but choose to represent his family’s homeland of South Korean instead of Japan when he transferred to Yong In University in 2014. AN has only once missed the medal podium when wearing the South Korean flag and that came in his last competition when he finished a hard-fought fifth at the World Judo Masters in May of this year.

Former world number one Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) is one of the most explosive and reliable performers on the IJF World Judo Tour and will command the attention of his -73kg peers. ORUJOV has been mentored by double Olympic champion Peter SEISENBACHER who worked wonders before and during London 2012 with -66kg gold medallist Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO). The Georgian ace moved up to the -73kg category in 2014 and eventually found form in his new category to ensure he will go to his second Games where he will bid to become a two-time and two-weight Olympic champion. 

-81kg - Tuesday 9 August 

World champion NAGASE Takanori (JPN) is for many the fighter to beat in the -81kg category as one of the late breakout stars in the Rio 2016 qualification campaign. NAGASE, 22, finished fifth at his first World Championships in 2014 but won the annual event a year later and paid a special tribute to his late uncle who was his first coach. The Tsukuba University member placed a photo of his uncle on a seat in the stadium in his honour. Since then NAGASE won bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam in the final event of 2015 and won the Baku Grand Slam in his only international competition in 2016.

Former world champion Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) lost out to Travis STEVENS (USA) in his second contest in London and is bidding for redemption in Rio. TCHRIKISHVILI has been in the medal hunt at all the major events since London and is a completely different fighter and proposition for his rivals. World Judo Masters winner Travis STEVENS (USA) was regarded as the best male judoka to leave London 2012 without a medal having finished in fifth-place and the American warrior will make one more titanic tilt for Olympic hardware in Rio de Janeiro which will be his third Olympic Games. STEVENS, 30, will be one of the top seeds after becoming the first American male judoka to win the Masters and will not hold back in his relentless pursuit of Olympic success as his go-forward, all-action, throw-or-be-thrown style will again endear him to legions of new fans.

Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL) was financially supported to compete in Rio 2016 qualification events by the International Judo Federation and has since become one of the strongest judoka in the category. The 22-year-old has already fought internationally on eight occasions this year as he successfully secured a seeded place at his first Olympics with world ranking points-pushing results such as silver at the Paris Grand Slam, bronze at the European Championships and silver at the Baku Grand Slam. 

-90kg - Wednesday 10 August 

World Judo Masters-winning 21-year-old BAKER Mashu (JPN) will be the top seed at his first Olympic Games having emerged through the ranks of the Kodokan, the sport’s spiritual home and most famed judo centre, having started the sport as an enthusiastic six-year-old. BAKER has already won four Grand Slams and won bronze at the World Championships last year to signal his arrival as one of the most exceptional young judoka in the sport. The Japanese has maturity and intestinal fortitude in equal measure and will relish going toe-to-toe with the many legends of the sport who will be campaigning in the -90kg category next week.

Ilias ILIADIS (GRE), the youngster male Olympic judo champion of all time, won the Olympics aged 17 in 2004 and won bronze at London 2012. Greece’s three-time world champion and living legend is ready for an Olympic swansong and is desperate to give one more breathtaking display at the event where he shocked the world and made his name. Brazilian hero Tiago CAMILO (BRA) is also competing in his fourth Olympics and at 34 the Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist and Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist is ready for a home farewell. CAMILO won the World Championships in Rio in 2007 and, like ILIADIS, is still very capable on his day as he proved by winning the Pan American Championships this year.

Tyumen Grand Slam winner Marcus NYMAN (SWE) is the form judoka in the category after storming up the rankings in 2016 to seal a coveted seeded position. The teak-tough Swede also won the Dusseldorf Grand Prix and Baku Grand Slam in 2016 in addition to bronze medals at the European Championships and the World Judo Masters.
World champion GWAK Dong-Han (KOR) has been a peripheral figure since winning his first title in Kazakhstan in 2015. GWAK won the Jeju Grand Prix in November before taking bronze medals at Grand Slams in Tokyo and Paris.

European champion Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) was a victim of one of the greatest upsets at the London 2012 Olympics as he lost to Australia’s Mark ANTHONY in his second contest. Three-time world medallist LIPARTELIANI does not need to rue that day any longer with the chance next week to put everything right and realise his dreams in Rio de Janeiro. The Georgian star won the Paris Grand Slam last year and won his third European title this year and at 27 could be fighting at this last Olympics. 

-100kg - Thursday 11 August

Top-ranked Cyrille MARET (FRA) will hope to turn his top seed status into Olympic gold in Rio. The Frenchman, 28, may be missing a world medal but has won the Paris Grand Slam this year and took silver at the World Judo Masters in May. Since then MARET has not competed but has been training daily with the one and only Teddy RINER (FRA).

World champion HAGA Ryunosuke (JPN) has fought once since claiming his first world crown as he was victorious at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December. The uchi-mata specialist is a member of Tokai University which can also be said of Japanese great and now head coach INOUE Kosei who comparisons could be drawn to if his fighter can win the Olympics.

Former world champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) is only missing an Olympic medal from his resume with added motivation of potentially becoming his country’s Olympic medallist in judo. The double European champion was seventh at London 2012 and will use that experience to add to his legacy as the Czech Republic’s most successful judoka.

Boy wonder Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) qualified for Rio 2016 in not one but two weight categories. The 20-year-old jumped up from the -90kg to the -100kg in October 2015 as his country favoured LIPARTELIANI for their sole -90kg slot in Rio. GVINIASHVILI had to start over in his new weight with 0 world ranking points and slowly but surely made progress as he won bronze at the Tbilisi Grand Prix before winning the Samsun Grand Prix and Baku Grand Slam. GVINIASHVILI is unseeded at Rio 2016 along with reigning Olympic champion Tagir KHAIBULAEV (RUS), Mongolia’s first Olympic champion NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar and double Olympic bronze medallist Henk GROL (NED). 

+100kg - Friday 12 August 

Olympic and eight-time world champion Teddy RINER (FRA) has come through this entire cycle undefeated. In fact the French heavyweight is unbeaten since 2010 and is the most dominate male athlete in world sport. Heavyweight judo’s icon has a repertoire techniques which is still growing and he has faced and conquered all of his leading rivals except two judoka. Japanese hope HARASAWA Hisayoshi, whose three-year unbeaten streak was surprisingly ended at the World Judo Masters in May by a super-charged Daniel NATEA (ROU), has never faced RINER and that contest is one of the most anticipated in Olympic judo history. NATEA, who looked like a new fighter at the Masters, with varied and committed attacks and superior conditioning, is also seeded and could come up against France’s formidable flagbearer for the first time.

World bronze medallist Iakiv KHAMMO (URK) is one of the most exciting heavyweights in the sport and has won his last two events (Dusseldorf Grand Prix and Baku Grand Slam). The 22-year-old will be seeded at this first Olympic Games and should be considered his country’s best medal hope from their seven-strong team. 

COMPETITION PROGRAMMESaturday - 6 August
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries  
15:30 - 18:10 Final block   

Women: -48kg
Men: -60kg

Sunday - 7 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries  
15:30 - 18:10 Final block   

Women: -52kg
Men: -66kg

Monday - 8 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries  
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: -57kg
Men: -73kg

Tuesday - 9 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries  
15:30 - 18:10 Final block   

Women: -63kg
Men: -81kg

Wednesday - 10 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: -70kg
Men: -90kg

Thursday - 11 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries  
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: -78kg
Men: -100kg

Friday - 12 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries  
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: +78kg
Men: +100kg

Location: Carioca Arena 2

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