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Rio2016 Olympic Judo Preview Men U60kg
5 Aug 2016 13:20
The lightest weight division will be in action on 6 August, the opening day of the tournament. The previous edition was won by Arsen Galstyan (RUS) which was quite a surprise, but the competition has become more intense with a new generation of judokas. Many older judokas stepped up to U66kg or couldn’t hold their position.
Current World Champion Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan could be the biggest favourite for the Olympic title. Smetov is seeded and may face Urozboev in the quarter-finals. Smetov’s biggest rival could be both from Japan in the form of Naohisa Takato, or from Korea with Kim Won-Jin. Yeldos Smetov won the 2010 World Junior Championships U20 in Agadir. He also won the Asian Games in Incheon two years ago. In 2015, he took his biggest crown with the world title at home in Astana against Rustam Ibrayev. This year, he won silver at the Grand Prix Düsseldorf.
Korean Kim Won-Jin won bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Astana and 2013 in Rio. Kim won the Universiade in Shenzhen in 2011 and 2015. He won the Grand Slam Tokyo in 2014, the Asian Championships in Kuwait in 2015 and Grand Prix Jeju three times. He was also the winner of the Grand Prix Dusseldorf in 2016. Kim is directly matched with Elios Manzi, the super talent from Italy, although an opponent as Kim may come too early for the Italian youngster.
Orkhan Safarov is one of the best judokas in his division. He won the only medal for Azerbaijan with a silver at the European Games in Baku. He won a World bronze medal in 2013 and has won IJF Events in Baku, Tbilisi and Abu Dhabi. He added the World Masters to his wins earlier this year in Guadalajara.
Naohisa Takato was the 2013 World Champion in Rio de Janeiro. He won bronze at the Worlds in Chelyabinsk in 2014. He was also World Junior titleholder in 2011 in Cape Town. Takato's junior achievements go back to winning the World U17 Champion in Budapest in 2009. He has won the Grand Slam Moscow, Tokyo and Paris, as well as the 2013 Masters in Tyumen. Takato can throw from all corners but can be thrown if his opponents can dive under him from behind, but they have to be fast to catch the former world champion. He is the master in improvisation.
Diyorbek Urozboev of Uzbekistan has won several World Cup medals since 2012 in Tashkent and has made spectacular progress in the U60kg division. He won silver in 2013 at the World Junior Championships against U66kg World Champion An Ba-Ul. He is well known for his spectacular pick-ups. Urozboev won gold at the Grand Prix Tbilisi 2016.
Amiran Papinashvili won bronze at the World Championships in 2014. He was also European Champion in 2013 and has won four European medals in a row. He was European Team Champion with Georgia in 2014. In 2015, he won the Grand Slam Abu Dhabi. Since 2009 he has won 2 Grand Slams, 3 Grand Prix and one World Cup.
French judoka Walide Khyar won the European title in 2016 in Kazan. He took bronze at the Grand Slam Paris in 2016. Khyar won the European Junior title in 2015 in Oberwart. He also won bronze at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Abu Dhabi, and in the individual and Team Europeans in 2014. Khyar is matched with Felipe Kitadai if he beats Simon Yacoub.
Felipe Kitadai of Brazil won Olympic bronze in London 2012. He won gold at the Pan American Games in 2011 and silver in 2015 in Toronto. He has been competing at the World Championships since 2010 and was 5th in 2015. He won the PanAm Championships in 2011 and 2015. He was also World Military Champion 2015. Against European Champion Khyar he shall show his real form. It could also be over soon for the Brazilian.
Beslan Mudranov of Russia is the European Games winner in 2015 and triple European Champion in 2012, 2014 and 2015. He won World silver in 2014 in Chelyabinsk and is the successor of Olympic Champion Arsen Galstyan for Russia in the U60kg category since 2012. He won his first Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in 2010 and went on to win the event three times. He will face Dutch Jeroen Mooren in his first bout, not easy.
Seeded athletes paired
Kim (after surviving Manzi) with Mudranov
Takato with Papinashvili
Safarov with Kitadai, with Khyar in that pool.
Smetov with Urozboev
Nice matches after the draw are Garrigos vs Englmaier and McKenzie vs Ozlu.
Previous Olympic Champions
Arsen Galstyan (RUS)
Choi Min-Ho (KOR)
Tadahiro Nomura (JPN)
Tadahiro Nomura (JPN)
Tadahiro Nomura (JPN)
Nazim Guseinov (EUN)
Jae-Yup Kim (KOR)
Shinji Hosokawa (JPN)
Thierry Rey (FRA)
Stat: Australian Joshua Katz is the youngest athlete at the Olympic Games. Joshua fights in the U60kg category and his older brother Nathan (21) also qualified. There is quite a difference in age between him and Ludwig Paischer (AUT, 34 years old) who he might face U60kg.
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Robert Krawczyk (POL)
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