2015 Rabat Judo World Masters - 22 May (Preview) Back
May 22, 2015
News - 22 May, 2015
Judo World Masters Mohammed VI, Rabat 2015, Morocco
Official Draw - PREVIEW
RABAT REACHES THE TOP
The IJF World Judo Tour has now moved on to Morocco for the invite-only World Judo Masters event which will take place from 23-24 May at the Palace of Sport in Rabat. For the very first time in history, after Suwon (KOR 2010), Baku (AZE 2011), Almaty (KAZ 2012) and Tyumen (RUS 2013) the event gathering the top sixteen athletes per weight category will be held on the African soil. Under the patronage of the King of Morocco, his Highness Mohammed VI, the World Judo Masters will offer 700 points to the winners.
The efforts made by the Moroccan Judo Federation with the support of the International Judo Federation, to welcome delegations and officials and to propose a world class event, are impressive and the stadium which hosts the event, totally dressed in red, is visible from afar. The welcome conditions, the accommodation and preparation are optimal.
During the official draw of the competition, Mr. Marius Vizer, the IJF President, declared: "It is a great honour and occasion to be united in Rabat, one year prior to the Olympic Games and I am convinced that we will have a fantastic event. Year by year, the popularity of judo is increasing and we have had so far a lot of successes. I can already announce that next year, the event will be held in Mexico, in Guadalajara. I wish good luck to all the participants."
Mr. Vizer also added: "I want to underline the very good synergy between the African Judo Union and the IJF to organise this edition of the World Masters. This event, which under the hospices of the King of Morocco, his Majesty Mohammed VI, is very important. It is a great promotion for our sport that will be broadcasted over 150 countries. It is a fantastic tool to show the values, the tradition and the culture of Morocco worldwide."
After his address to the 51 heads of delegations, who were present for the draw, Mr. Marius Vizer presented the IJF Golden Plaque to the Moroccan Judo Federation President, Mr. Chafik El KETTANI, who said: "In the name of the federation, the Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports, I want to welcome you all in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, on African soil. Thank you very much to his Majesty, the King Mohammed VI, who has been strongly supporting us since the beginning. My gratitude goes to Mr. Vizer, to his staff and to the AJU staff. This event is important for Morocco and for Africa. We want to transform our continental open into a Grand Prix. We also want to open a new training African Centre in our country. Having such an event here, will help us to succeed in our goals. Morocco is a county of peace and confidence. I am looking forward to watching great judo during the next two days and to see the spirit of our sport and the fairplay fly over the world."
Mr. Marius Vizer presents the IJF Golden Plaque to Mr. Chafik El KETTANI
General Lasana Palenfo, the African Judo Union President said: "It is with great pleasure that I see you all here. Welcome to Morocco. After several continental events, I am happy to welcome the IJF back on our continent. I thank his Majesty, Mohammed VI, for his support and all of you, who made that event possible."
The format of the competition, that brings together the top sixteen athletes per weight category of the moment, ensures a quality show and every fight will be the equivalent of a World Judo Tour final. Places on the podium will be particularly expensive, in a context where it is very difficult to make any predictions.
Last year, Morocco, which has a long tradition of organizing international events (Junior World Championships Agadir 2010, Casablanca continental open), proposed its candidature to host the Masters 2015. After the world championships, the World Masters is the most important competition in the world.
Since 2007 and the election of Mr. Marius Vizer as the IJF President, judo has deeply evolved and modernized. In recent years, the international calendar was extended by numerous events (Grand Prix, Grand Slam, Masters) which all give points for the world ranking, which itself determines the Olympic qualifications. The rules have been adapted to offer a more dynamic and spectacular judo and to offer to the athlete the opportunity to restore their taste to score ippon. Undoubtedly, the competitions of this weekend will perfectly illustrate this evolution and the medalists of Rabat might step again in the podium of the Rio Games in 2016.
Click here to view the ongoing Olympic qualification list
FOLLOW THE COMPETITION
IJF President on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mariusvizer
Official event hash tag: #JudoRabat2015
The 2013 world champion and world number one, MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) has much to do in a category where the differences between the athletes are less and less visible. The silver medallist of the last World Championships, Paula PARETO (ARG) is demonstrating great consistency at the international level and the Japanese, KONDO Ami, who despite a small hiccup in Düsseldorf earlier this year, remains on a nice series in 2015. The recent African champion, Taciana LIMA (GBS) has also shown that she has a great international potential, as well as the Romanian Monica UNGUREANU, who won a superb gold medal in Baku a few weeks ago.
With the two top athletes of the category being absent (especially Majlinda KELMENDI from Kosovo), the top seeded athlete of the Masters will be Andreea CHITU (ROU) who might take this opportunity to move forward in the world ranking. Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS), who won the Qingdao Grand Prix last year and was present on the podium in Chelyabinsk, will also try to gain some precious points to secure Olympic qualification. The other favourites for a place in the final block will be Mareen KRAEH (GER), Gili COHEN (ISR), Yuki HASHIMOTO (JPN), Jaana SUNDBERG (FIN), Yulia RYZHOVA (RUS) and MA Yingnan (CHN).
The -57kg category will feature some of the best athletes in the world with the presence of world leader, Telma MONTEIRO (POR), Olympic medallist and silver medallist of the 2013 worlds Marti MALLOY (USA), the Romanian Corina CAPRIORIU and Miryam ROPER of Germany, who despite her feeling of having a little trouble coming back to her best, could still show her experience at this level of competition. But the leading name of the category remains the Olympic champion, MATSUMOTO Kaori (JPN) who will face Sabrina FILZMOSER (AUT) in the first round. If the Japanese fell slightly in the world rankings, she remains one of the undisputed favourites for the title.
Due to a foot injury just before the Masters, the world number one, Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA), will follow the competition from the stands. Her friend, Yarden GERBI (ISR) might take this opportunity to steal the spotlight. She will find on her way to the title, Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT), Martyna RAJDOS (GER), Edwige GWEND (IRA), TASHIRO Miku (JPN), Anne-Laure BELLARD (FRA), Hilde DREXLER (AUT) and YANG Junxia (CHN). Rizlen ZOUAK (MAR), will represent Morocco with good chance to reach the final four.
The world number one, back in top-level action, Kim POLLING (NED), could secure her superiority over the category in Rabat. Nevertheless, she will have to thwart the medal desires of the other contenders: Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER), the current world champion, Yuri ALVEAR (COL), the Pan-American champion, Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN), Bernadette GRAF (GER), Sally CONWAY (GBR), ARAI Chizuru (JPN), and the Olympic medallist, Gevrise EMANE (FRA). An other chance for the host country will come from Assmaa NIANG.
With the Brazilian world champion and world number one, Mayra AGUIAR, absent, it is the French judoka Audrey TCHEUMEO, who will be the favourite in the category. But it is difficult to make predictions while the world and Olympic champion, Kayla HARRISON (USA) is in second position and other athletes such as Luise MALZAHN (GER), JOO Abigel (HUN), both dutch athletes, Marhinde VERKERK and Guusje STEENHUIS, Victoriia TURKS (UKR) and Natalie POWELL (GBR) are also in the draw.
World champion and Olympic champion, Idalys ORTIZ (CUB), may this weekend go down in history of world judo by adding a World Masters title to her already impressive prize list. The heiress of TONG Wen (CHN), YU Song, could prevent the Cuban to obtain a new worldwide honour. Among the other favourites for the title will be Franziska KONITZ (GER), YAMABE Kanae (JPN), Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN), TACHIMOTO Megumi (JPN), another Chinese, MA Sisi, and the Ukrainian, Svitlana IAROMKA.
The world number one, GANBAT Boldbaatar (MGL) will undoubtedly be one of the favourites. But the World Master title could go back to world number two Amiran PAPINASHVILI (GEO), while TAKATO Naohisa (JPN), number four in the ranking list, will try to take points to move up in the rankings. The Russian team, which came into Rabat in force, could also put a man on the podium, in the form of Beslan MUDRANOV. But it is without counting on other outsiders who could upset the established order.
Russian, Mikhail PULYAEV, will be the favourite in the category of -66kg, while the Mongolian DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg could meet him in the final if all goes well for both leaders. But they will find on their way the magician Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR), Dzmitry SHERSHAN (BLR) and the British fighter Colin OATES, who finished second on the occasion of the Baku Grand Slam a few weeks ago. One must not forget the former world champion and Olympic medallist Rishod SOBIROV (UZB), who is committed to showing that he is still among the best judo players in the world.
The Dutchman Dex ELMONT will be challenged for the title in a category that will be hotly-disputed. Rustam ORUJOV (UZB), who recently won the Grand Slam of Baku, is ambushed at the second place in the world ranking, while SAINJARGAL Nyam-Ochir (MGL) and his third place at the world ranking, also wants to demonstrate his strength. But Israeli, Sagi MUKI, could thwart all predictions, while world medallist, Victor SCVORTOV (UAE), could allow the UAE to win a first medal at the World Masters.
The -81kg category will definitely be one of the most anticipated categories of the weekend with the presence of world number one and world champion, Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) who has shown some flaws during his last appearances. He will be closely followed by the 2013 world champion, Loic PIETRI (FRA) who would like to show him that he is the leader of the category. But what about Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER, Olympic and world medallist, who always raises his level at major events, or the Russian roster which has no fewer than four athletes competing, Ivan NIFONTOV, Khasan KHALMURZAEV, Alan KHUBETSOV and Sirazhudin MAGOMEDOV. American Travis Stevens will look to take the advantage of the World Masters occasion.
Georgia will present its second world leader in the person of Varlam LIPARTELIANI who almost steps on the podium on every appearance. In the absence of world number two, it's Noel VAN T END (NED) who is waiting to snatch the trophy from LIPARTELIANI. But it will probably not be the idea of the reiging world and 2004 Olympic champion, Ilias ILIADIS (GRE), who could once again show his experience at this level. The two Russians Kirill VOPROSOV and Kirill DENISOV, will also be part of the favourites to claim a medal, while the Cuban, Asley GONZALEZ, world champion in 2013, marks a comeback on the international scene.
The world champion and world leader, Lukas KRPALEK (CZE), could add another important line to his prize list here in Rabat, though Elmar GASIMOV (AZE) will be a serious contender for the title. It will also be interesting to follow the fight between the two German judoka, Karl-Richard FREY and Dimitri PETERS, who are battling to decide who will go to the Games next year. The French Cyril MARET, who still lacks consistency, could seize the opportunity to shine at the highest level, while Dutch Henk GROL is always in pursuit of a major title in the category. One must not forget, another world champion from 2013, who is fighting, Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE).
Who can dethrone the seven-time world champion and Olympic champion, Teddy RINER (FRA), who will be expected to win by everybody in Rabat. Slightly injured a few weeks ago, these World Masters are a real test for the king RINER. Will it be Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO), Faicel JABALLAH (TUN) who can destabilise him? Or should one count on a repeat of the final of the last world championships between the French and the Japanese, SHICHINOHE Ryu, who was close to score to discover who will be the next opponent to RINER? Answer Sunday.
10:00 Preliminaries on two mats
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg
Men: -60 kg, -66 kg, -73kg
11:00 Preliminaries on two mats
17:00 Final block on one mat
Women: -70kg, -78kg, +78kg
Men: -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg
Location: Palace of Sport - Palais des Sports Prince My Abdellah Rabat - Address: Avenue Hassan II, Rabat, Morocco
IJF Media & Communications Department
Mark Pickering, IJF Media Manager
Nicolas Messner, IJF Media Director
Photos © IJF Media by Zahonyi Tamas