Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dusseldorf Grand Prix 2017, Germany PREVIEW




New status for opening Grand Prix of 2017 as Dusseldorf is set for a carnival of judo 


The IJF World Judo Tour has arrived in Germany as a rainswept Dusseldorf could not dampen the enthusiasm on Friday ahead of the first Grand Prix of the new season. 


Following a blockbuster bow for the 2017 campaign in France at the Paris Grand Slam a fortnight ago, Olympic and world champions are among the world-class roster of judoka who have descended on Dusseldorf for a carnival of judo.


The official draw of #JudoDdorf2017 

The new set of rules first adopted in Paris on the IJF tour will be adhered to in Germany and through until the IJF World Championships 2017 in Budapest, Hungary. In addition to the aforementioned annual crown jewel of the season, the IJF World Judo Tour currently comprises of an invite-only World Judo Masters, five Grand Slams, seven Grand Prix and Worlds events at the cadet and junior level.

Germany’s premier judo event will be the most valuable Grand Prix in the history of the IJF World Judo Tour as there is a new World Ranking List points allocation for IJF events in 2017.

A Grand Prix gold medal now offers 700 points (up from 300 in 2016) to bring it on par with the reward for the continental championships. The intention is to boost the level of the entry and make the overall standard of each competition even higher.

A Grand Slam gold is now worth 1000 points while the Masters returns 1800 points and the Worlds and Olympics are equal at 2000 points for gold which will create a lot more movement on the World Ranking List with each IJF event offering a world of opportunities to all judoka.  

CLICK HERE FOR RULE CHANGES FOR 2017

The official draw took place at Hotel Nikko on Friday afternoon as the IJF IT team crunched the numbers and could reveal that 346 judoka (206 men,140 women) from 50 nations will all have their eyes on the greatest prize ever on the Grand Prix stage.

Rio 2016 Olympic champions Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) and Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) and Olympic silver medallists Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA), DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) and Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ) will be among the many superstars chasing Grand Prix gold in Dusseldorf this weekend.


The IJF delegation at the draw 

Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA (above - centre), IJF Education and Coaching Director, said “Mr. President, dear colleagues I would like to thank the German Judo Federation for their work and organisation. The IJF President Mr. VIZER asked me to extend his great appreciation to the organisers. We will use the new rules once again as we look to provide the conditions to see the best performances and the best judo. I wish good luck to athletes and coaches.”


The German Judo Federation delegation at the draw 

Mr. Peter FRESE (above - centre), German Judo Federation President, said: “Dear ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dusseldorf, thank you for coming here, I wish you the best for your teams. I will give you a good tip, please enjoy the carnival in Dusseldorf, I hope you enjoy our hospitality and good luck to you all.”

Mr. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sport Director, said: “Good afternoon everyone, thank you Peter for your nice words, thank you for German Grand Prix, this is the second event of the year. We have a new level of points for a Grand Prix which will impact the World Ranking List and I wish you all good luck here.”


 

Use #JudoDdorf2017 to join in with the social media discussion 




WOMEN

-48kg

World number eight Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) launched her year with a splendid bronze medal in Paris a fortnight ago. The 22-year-old’s finest result on the IJF World Judo Tour has propelled the Serbian judoka into the world’s top 10 and to top seed status for Dusseldorf. Four-time African Championships winner Taciana CESAR (GBS), who spoke to IJF President Mr. Marius Vizer regarding her desire to initiate development activities in her adopted homeland at the end of her competitive career, is the number two seed in Germany. CESAR, 33, will be joined in action by 21-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist TONAKI Funa (JPN).  

-52kg

Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist SHISHIME Ai (JPN) is in Germany to defend her 2016 title as the top seed. The 23-year-old has never finished off the medal podium in an IJF World Judo Tour event in a stunning run dating back to 2013. Former Baku Grand Slam winner Gili COHEN (ISR) is an 11-time Grand Prix medallist and will see the first Grand Prix of the season as the ideal battleground to double her golden medal tally if she strikes a dozen on Saturday. Rio 2016 Olympian Evelyne TSCHOPP (SUI) is also among the top seeds and could offer a stern challenge if she starts well in her first IJF competition of 2017.  

-57kg

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist DORJSUREN Sumiya (MGL) is not resting on her accomplishments from 2016 as the Mongolian ace is in town for the first Grand Prix of the year. Three-time IJF World Judo Masters winner DORJSUREN, 25, became her country’s first female Olympic medallist last summer and reappeared on the circuit in December with bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam. Former Junior World Championships bronze medallist Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD (CAN) is up to 14th in the world and could enhance that ranking as the number two seed. Former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) and London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla GNETO (FRA) could also stamp their names on proceedings if they can discover their best form. 

-63kg

Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) contested the Paris Grand Slam final earlier this month and the outcome was the same as in Rio de Janeiro. Slovenia’s Olympic, world and European champion leads her head-to-head series with France’s former world champion 4-3 having won their last four meetings after AGBEGNENOU won their first three clashes all in 2014. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Mariana SILVA (BRA) is part of Brazil’s rotated squad while Germany’s own European Games winner Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) is fighting with the goal of winning her home event for the first time. 
  

-70kg

Paris Grand Slam winner ARAI Chizuru (JPN) is the only member of Japan’s 21-strong team in Germany who also fought at the season-opener in France. That suggests that world number one ARAI is the pick for Japan for the World Championships this year as Olympic champion TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN) is still considering whether to continue competing. World number four Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) will be tipped for a medal push along with Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (IJF) as the -70kg category has a new and youthful look at the top.

-78kg

World number five Natalie POWELL (GBR) was not at her best on her post-Olympics return in Paris as she finished in seventh-place. Despite finishing outside of the medals, the Welsh judoka moved up to a career-best 5th place in the world and top seed status for Dusseldorf. POWELL could find herself tangled in a battle for honours again on Sunday with two-time European champion JOO Abigel (HUN), former world champion UMEKI Mami (JPN) and Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist TAKAYAMA Riki (JPN) just a small sample of what’s to come for the Walsall-based Briton. 

+78kg

World Judo Masters bronze medallist Larisa CERIC (BIH) is looking to build on her form from 2016 as she put her country on the judo map with a flurry of international medals. CERIC, who lost out to eventual winner ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) in Paris, is the number one seed this Sunday and will be expected to convert that billing into a medal. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Carolin WEISS (GER) has only managed a bronze medal on home turf at her country’s own Grand Prix in 2015 and has to achieve more than that to stay ahead of domestic rival Jasmin KUELBS (GER). Five-time world medallist TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN) is unseeded having missed the last year on the IJF World Judo Tour due to injury. 



MEN

-60kg

World champion and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ) is back in action on Friday after soaking up his hero status in Kazakhstan in the second half of 2016. Top seed SMETOV took silver in Dusseldorf a year ago and will expect to better that even on his comeback. Former world silver medallist DASHDAVAA Amartuvshin (MGL) starts his IJF season in Dusseldorf alongside former world champion GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL). Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO) and European champion Walide KHYAR (FRA) will also be in engaged in -60kg action on day one. 

-66kg 

Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist DOVDON Altansukh (MGL) is the judoka to beat in the -66kg category this weekend after a run of four consecutive medals on the IJF World Judo Tour in the latter half of 2016. The Mongolian star, who was on the podium in his home continent in Ulaanbaatar (Grand Prix), Tashkent (Grand Prix), Qingdao (Grand Prix) and Tokyo (Grand Slam), is one place above world number five and World Judo Masters silver medallist DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg (MGL) on the ranking list and both start in Germany. European champion Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) won his first Grand Slam medal (bronze) last time out in France and will be closely monitored on Friday. 
  

-73kg

Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and London 2012 Olympic champion Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) leads the -73kg field into action on Saturday and is by far the most exceptional talent in the category. The 25-year-old is a Georgian legend and has every chance of being around in 2020 to vie for a third Olympic medal. Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Tommy MACIAS (SWE) is focused on a bid for a maiden Grand Prix title while former World Judo Masters winner Denis IARTCEV (RUS) needs to return to the medal picture with a host of understudies waiting in the wings to capture his spot. 

-81kg

Paris Grand Slam winner Frank DE WIT (NED) threatened to break through in a big way on the tour ever since he took bronze in Paris in 2015. DE WIT, who turned 21 following his stunning Paris win earlier this month, now knows what it takes to win an IJF event on the elite stage and will be itching to get out on the tatami in Dusseldorf and look to make it two wins from two in 2017. Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Ivaylo IVANOV (BUL) won bronze in Germany 12 months ago and will be a contender again in 2017. European bronze medallist Nugzari TATALASHVILI (GEO) makes his -81kg debut as the Georgian men’s team’s post-Olympic shake-up continues. 

-90kg 

Tokyo Grand Slam winner Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB) is yet to capture Grand Prix gold but that could change on the final day of action in Germany. The 25-year-old won back-to-back Grand Slams (Abu Dhabi and Tokyo) to end 2016 on a high note and returns to competition as the number one seed on Sunday. The Serbian judoka will face competition from Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Mihael ZGANK (SLO), World Judo Masters runner-up Khusen KHALMURZAEV (RUS), four-time Grand Prix winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) and Qingdao Grand Prix winner Max STEWART (GBR). 

-100kg

Two-time Grand Slam winner Martin PACEK (SWE) competes for the first time since his round two defeat at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. PACEK, 29, is still ranked world number four and commands the respect of his peers for his highly-efficient and tactical judo. Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Jorge FONSECA (POR) jumps straight back into action after winning over the Bercy crowd with a ferocious display of power and throwing skills in France. Georgian star Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO), who won the second -100kg bronze in Paris, aims for more of the same in his new category while German interest rests largely with Rio 2016 pick Karl-Richard FREY (GER). 
   

+100kg

The top eight heavyweight seeds in Germany are highly-established and decorated on the IJF World Judo Tour but the focus of Sunday’s +100kg affairs will be -100kg Olympic champion Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) who steps up for the first time outside of the Czech Republic. Former World and European champion KRPALEK, 26, is now the man who those within the sport can trouble the heavyweight kingpin Teddy RINER (FRA) who is undefeated since 2010. KRPALEK, who already has a ne-waza game to strike fear in any heavyweight, will be taking it one tournament at a time and there is world-class judoka at every turn in the heavyweight field in Germany. World Judo Masters winner Daniel NATEA (ROU), Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist HARASAWA Hisayoshi (JPN) and seven-time Grand Prix medallist Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) will be among the judoka looking to ‘welcome’ the unseeded Czech to the land of the giants.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Location:  Mitsubishi Electric Halle

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