Tuesday, July 18, 2017

-73kg 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)

Soichi Hashimoto's reputation might not loom as large as Shohei Ono's has but he is already a dominant force in the category.
The top favorite here is also the IJF No. 1 ranked player in this category: Soichi Hashimoto of Japan. Armed with impressive throwing skills -- he's able to throw the left and to the right, with equal facility -- he has been undefeated all of this year and last year. Along the way, he has picked up gold medals at the 2016 Asian Championships, 2016 IJF World Masters, 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam, 2017 Paris Grand Slam and 2017 Ekaterinburg Grand Slam. Confident, stylish and effective, Hashimoto is the man everyone will be looking out for in Budapest.

One of Hashimoto's main rivals will be An Changrim, arguably South Korea's best prospect for a gold medal in any category. He is Asian champion this year but he has not fought much since the Olympics. In the 2017 Paris Grand Slam (the only IJF World Tour event he's taken part in since the 2016 Rio Olympics) An got a silver medal, losing to Hashimoto, no less.

Hashimoto's other key rival is Olympic silver medalist Rustam Orujov of Azerbaijan. Always at or near the top of the IJF rankings, he's very active and takes part in a lot of IJF World Tour events. This year he has lost to An and to his compatriot Hidayat Heydarov (twice) though.

Speaking of Heydarov, it's likely that both he and Orujov will be sent to the World's. He's still very young at 19 but is the current European champion. He also won the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games defeating his teammate Orujov in the final. He had also beaten Orujov earlier in the year at the 2017 Paris Grand Slam.

Dark horses are Georgia's Lasha Shavdatuashvili, a former Olympic champion (albeit at a lower weight class) and Russia's Dennis Iartcev who holds the distinction of being the last European player to have beaten the great Shohei Ono (but that was back in 2014 in the World Team Championships). Alas, Ono is not fighting in the World's as he did not take part in the Japanese trials this year (ostensibly due to wanting to focus on his academic studies).

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