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Without Avto and Lipi, still enough to look out for in Tbilisi
23 Mar 2016 11:50
Top athletes Varlam Liparteliani and Avtandili Tchrikishvili will not compete at the Grand Prix of Tbilisi. They will return to action at the European Championships in April. A blast for the Georgian an international fans, but the World Championships have lots of things to look out for.
Last year Tchrikishvili stranded in the 1/8 final in Tbilisi, Liparteliani made it to the final where Beka Gviniashvili won U90kg. Now he will be one of the favourites for a medal in his new weight class U100kg.
Last year also Azerbaijan and Mongolia were strong with two gold medals. Five of last year’s winners are now ranked number one in the World Ranking.
The rest is normal for most athletes who just want to keep in shape and feel opponents every now and then. The top athletes are nominated for the Olympic Games in Rio and the top 20 athletes are aiming for participation at the World Masters in May in Guadalajara. Proud owner of a red judogi backpatch, Yeldos Smetov, the reigning U60kg world champion, will not compete in Tbilisi.
Kazakhstan, who will host a Grand Prix in Almaty in May, claimed one medal in Tbilisi a year ago as U73kg fighter Dastan Ykybayev took silver and he returns this year. The high entry from Kazakhstan suggests that the nation is using the Tbilisi test as a final selection and warm-up event for April’s Asian Championships which will be held in Uzbekistan. Last year’s winner in Tbilisi was Sharafuddin Lutfillaev U60kg.
On paper the category U70kg looks most interesting with the numbers one and two Polling and Vargas-Koch lined up for Tbilisi. Also Bernadette Graf (5-AUT) and Linda Bolder (10-ISR) are in the field as well as Last week’s European Cup winner Katarzyna Klys (12-POL) who seems warmed up.
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Ali Söyler (TUR)