July 24, 2016


22 Jul 2016 09:15


The opening day of the Olympic Games at 6 August can be the amazing start for the women of Brazil. Sarah Menezes can set Brazil on fire with a renewal of her Olympic title. The Brazilian team consists of the same women as in 2012, a unique selection and the tiny Menezes is under huge pressure with the task to fire up the Olympic flame in the Brazilian team. The World champion though is not from Brazil but from Argentina.

Last year in Astana Argentine Paula Pareto won the world title in 2015 against Haruna Asami. It was the best ever performance of an Argentine judoka since Daniel Krukower. Pareto was Olympic bronze medallist in 2008 in Beijing and won silver at the 2014 World Championships. Meanwhile she won over 10 international events such Grand Prix in Samsun and Budapest and she is multiple Pan American Champion. Still, we don’t know if she is the number one favourite for the Olympic title.

Urantsetseg Munkhbat is still among the favourites. The Mongolian lightweight became World Champion 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. She won the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon U48kg. Munkhbat was seventh at the Olympic Games in London U48. Munkhbat won the IJF World Masters in Rabat in 2015 and won the Grand Prix Tashkent and Ulaanbaatar and Grand Slam in Paris. It says enough about Munkhbat.

Another big name from Asia is Ami Kondo who was the World Champion in 2014 in Chelyabinsk. Later she won the World Junior Championships U21 in 2014 in Miami. In 2015 she won bronze at the senior worlds in Astana. She is one of the youngest ever World Champions. She won the Grand Slam of Tokyo in 2015 and IJF Masters in 2016, so no doubt about her form.

But perhaps the biggest favourite is homeplayer and defending Olympic Champion Sarah Menezes from Brazil. The Olympic Champion in 2012 in London U48kg who won the Junior world title in 2008 in Bangkok and 2009 in Paris. She won bronze at the World Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Menezes won 11 World Cup events starting in 2008. She struggled a bit in this cycle, which is very normal for Olympic medallist who usually all take a break for their side activities. Menezes came back winning in Havana this year, the Pan American title and silver at the Masters. She could prolong the title again.

In the quarter final Menezes is paired to Spanish Julia Figueroa if both survive the first shift. The tiny Spanish won the Grand Slam of Tyumen in 2015, as first ever Spanish to win a Grand Slam. She won her 1st World Cup in Madrid. Figueroa won 3 Spanish titles and national titles in U17, U20 and U23. Bronze in 2015 at the Grand Slam of Paris. Figueroa won the Grand Slam of Baku in 2016.

Kazakh Galbadrakh Otgontsetseg is originally from Mongolia who switched to Kazakhstan in 2015. She won the Grand Prix in Astana in 2014 U48kg and Grand Prix Jeju in 2015 for Kazan. In 2016 she won the Grand Slam of Paris, the highlight for her. In 2016 she won the Grand Prix in Samsun and Almaty.

Éva Csernoviczki is European Senior Champion in 2013 and 2014. Won 9 sonsecutive European medals and was U23 European Champion in 2006 and 2008. The Hungarian won world bronze in 2011. Coached by her father Csaba, from Tatabánya. European U23 Champion in 2003. Seventh at the 2015 World Championships. She may face Pareto in the quarter final.

Korean Bo-Kyeong Jeong won bronze at the World Championships in 2015. Jeong won the FISU Universiade in 2015 in Gwangju U48kg. She won a few World Cups starting in 2012 in Budapest. The judoka took the victory in the Asian Open in Taipei in 2015 and gold at the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf in 2016. She will be in the same pool with Munkhbat.


Belgian Charline van Snick is Olympic Games bronze medallist in 2012, 2013 bronze medallist and 2015 European Games winner after two lost European finals. In 2015 she won the Grand Prix in Dusseldorf and took silver at the Grand Slam of Paris. What a turbulent four years it’s been for Van Snick, who has a bag full of experience how to ‘stand her man’ in Rio.

Russian Irina Dolgova won 6 European and World Cadet and Junior titles as well as the EYOF in 2011. She won her 1st Grand Prix in 2014 in Samsun. She won bronze at the Grand Slam in Tyumen. In 2015 she won her first Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi. She was European Open winner in Madrid in 2016. She can meet with the best, but she is still young. It will be a useful Olympic experience anyway.

Taciana Lima was born in Brazil, but switched to Guinéa-Bissau in 2013. She won 6 World Cups, for both Brazil as Guinee. Taciana Lima-Baldé or Taciana Reze has a strong Ouchi-gari and she won 4 consecutive African titles since 2013. She was Pan American Champion in 2001. Reached the world ranking top 5.

Turkish lightweight Dilara Lokmanhekim and super talent. She won two European junior titles (2012 and 2014) and U23 (2012). Silver at the World Junior Championships in 2014. Won her first Grand Prix in 2015 in Zagreb. She already won more than 10 Olympic qualification event medals. & Judo Photos Unlimited (