Wednesday, July 19, 2017

-57kg Analysis

Full Analysis

+100kg Men: Riner (FRA)
+78kg Women: Asahina (JPN)
-100kg Men: Haga (JPN)
-78kg Women: Tcheumeo (FRA)
-90kg Men: Toth (HUN)
-70kg Women: Arai (JPN)
-81kg Men: Khalmurzaev (RUS)
-63kg Women: Trstenjak (SLO)
-73kg Men: Soichi Hashimoto (JPN)
-57kg Women: Tsukasa Yoshida (JPN)
-66kg Men: Hifumi Abe (JPN)
-52kg Women: Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS)
-60kg Men: Naohisa Takato (JPN)
-48kg Women: Urantsetseg Munkhbat (MGL)

Tsukasa Yoshida (in white) has a massive uchimata that would make Japan's head coach Kosei Inoue proud. She's the top favorite
This category has two notable absentees -- Japan's Kaori Matsumoto and France's Automne Pavia, both of whom just gave birth.

Originally, I had listed Mongolia Sumiya Dorjsuren as the top favorite for this category based on her very strong performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she dispatched Matsumoto for ippon like it was child's play. She eventually took a silver but her final against Brazil's Rafaela Silva was a hard-fought one. She was on fine form. However, in looking more closely at her track record since Rio, her performance has not been impressive. Despite taking part in several IJF World Tour events, she hasn't won a single one so far. Silva's performance is just as bad. She too has been competing in several IJF World Tour events but hasn't won any yet.

So, I'm switching my prediction for gold to Japan's Tsukasa Yoshida, the girl with the devastating uchimata. She is the current Asian Champion and last year she won the Tokyo Grand Slam. It was also last year that she beat both Dorjsuren and Silva. So she definitely knows how to fight these two.

South Korea's little-known Kwon You-Jeong is a dark horse. She's relatively young at 22 and has had only a few international matches under her belt but she shocked everyone by winning the 2017 Paris Grand Slam. Interestingly, she defeated Yoshida in that event although the Japanese player got her revenge in the recent Asian Championships, where she beat Kwon in the final. Kwon's not a top favorite by any means but is definitely someone to look out for.

Another dark horse worth paying attention to is Taiwan's Lien Cheng-ling. A late bloomer who is already 29, she won her first IJF World Tour title this year at the 2017 Baku Grand Slam. She famously beat Matsumoto in groundwork at last year's IJF World Masters and very narrowly lost to Matsumoto in Rio. She's definitely a strong contender.

Two oldies but goodies are Portugal's Telma Monteiro and USA's Marti Malloy. Both are 31 but still competing. Monteiro is a Rio Olympics bronze medalist and Malloy recently won the 2017 Cancun Grand Prix. Who knows, they might just spring a surprise and defeat the young ones.

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