Since the resumption of the World Judo Tour at Grand Slam Hungary, last October, the judo world had been eagerly waiting for the launch of the new season. With the Doha World Judo Masters which begins Monday, this has been made possible, thanks to Qatar.
The draw for Doha World Judo Masters – the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifying event -- took place at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall on Sunday.
With tight regulations in place as per the Ministry of Public Health guidelines, the Qatar Judo & Taekwondo Federation and the International Judo Federation have ensured a much looked forward to event.
IJF President Marius Vizer thanked HH The Amir of the State of Qatar during his welcome speech on the occasion of the draw, which was held entirely online.
“I would like to thank HH the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and his government, the National Olympic Committee, the Asian Judo Union, the Qatari Judo Federation, the sponsors and the media, as well as all the participants of the World Judo Masters, for having done everything in their power to make this major event possible,” he said.
“The Masters is one of the biggest events in the world. The best judokas are present. As we enter the last phase before the Tokyo Olympics in July in Japan, I wish everyone great health and success.
“We are now opening the sports season in Qatar and we will soon also meet for the Grand Slams of Tel Aviv, Tashkent, Tbilisi and Paris, ahead of the World Championships in Budapest in June,” he added.
Obaid Al Anzi, President of the Judo Union of Asia, said, “I would like to thank the authorities of Qatar and the Judo Federation for the work they have done. It is a very great honour for Asia to host such a competition. Thanks to Mr. Marius Vizer for believing in our ability to do so.”
Khalid Hamad Al Attiyah, President of the Qatar Taekwondo, Judo and Karate Federation said, “We are very happy to welcome you to our country. After the organisation of the IJF Refereeing and Coaching Seminar last year and with the 2023 World Championships on the horizon, our goal is to develop judo in order to make it an educational tool for our youth, so that they are ready to live in a fulfilling way. The World Judo Masters will contribute greatly to this. Thanks to Mr. Marius Vizer, who supports us and believes in us.”
As many as 399 judokas (215 male, 184 female) from 69 countries will be seen in action in Doha at the World Judo Masters over the next three days.
Among the stars will be Distria Krasniqi (KOS) aiming keep the lead in the world ranking at -48kg, the double world champion Daria Bilodid (UKR) who will be back in her favourite category after a test at -52 in Budapest in October, and the Japanese judoka Tonaki Funa.
In the -52kg category, Amandine Buchard (FRA) will have a lot to do, with Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS), Shishime Ai (JPN) or even Odette Giufridda (ITA) standing in front of her, while in the next weight group Jessica Klimkait (CAN) could score valuable points in the absence of her great rival and compatriot, the world champion Christa Deguchi.
In the -63kg category we will watch carefully to see if someone is able to compete with the great favourite Clarisse Agbegnenou (FRA), while the -70kg world champion, Marie Eve Gahie (FRA) will try to regain the top of the podium in her weight division.
She will have a lot to do to get there with the other French fighter, Margaux Pinot (FRA), who is proving more and more dangerous on the world circuit. No matter the result, there will only be one -70kg place at the Olympics for the French delegation.
Another French world champion, Madeleine Malonga, will be on the mat at -78 kg, in a category where the French delegation will align no less than three athletes.
Finally, in the women’s categories, the heavyweight title could be contested by the legend Idalys Ortiz (CUB), the two Brazilians Beatriz Souza (BRA) and Maria Suelen Altheman LHEMAN (BRA) or Iryna Kindzerska (AZE), but surprises cannot be ruled out.
For men, the show will already be worth it in the -60 kg opening group, with the Russian team and the winner of the 2018 edition of the Guangzhou Masters, Robert Mshvidobadze (RUS).
The little Italian who is constantly climbing, Manuel Lombardo, will want to prove that he deserves his world number one rank, in a category where the Mongolians, the Georgians and the Brazilians could find themselves in a position to decide the winner. Everything is possible.
Hashimoto Soichi (JPN) will be a scarecrow figure in the -73kg category. He could find in the quarterfinals a certain Fabio Basile (ITA), reigning -66kg Olympic champion.
The -81 kg category will be followed with attention because we will find the Belgian, Matthias Casse, who does not make much noise but who progresses with each competition.
There will also be the ineradicable Antoine Valois-Fortier (CAN), the reigning world champion Sagi Muki (ISR) and Saeid Mollaei (MGL).
The -90kg men will not be left behind with Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB), Krisztian Toth (HUN), the 2019 world champion Noel Van T End (NED) and another world champion in the judogi of Serbian Nemanja Majdov (SRB).
Will Peter Paltchik (ISR) be able to re-affirm his hard-won European title form, from the end of 2020? Will Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) be able to show that he is still one of the favourites for the Olympic title next summer?
Will Jorge Fonseca (POR) remain the best in the world, following his performance during the last world championships? The Doha Masters shall reveal.
Finally, in the heavyweights, there is Harasawa Hisayoshi (JPN), David Moura (BRA), Roy Meyer (NED), Rafael Silva (BRA), Inal Tasoev (RUS), Or Sasson (ISR), Guram Tushishvili (GEO) and Henk Grol (NED), and Teddy Riner (FRA).
Action begins at 10am on Monday.
Women -48 kg, -52 kg, -57 kg
Men -60 kg, -66 kg
Women -63 kg, -70 kg
Men -73 kg, -81 kg
Women -78 kg, +78 kg
Men -90 kg, -100 kg, +100kg
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