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Yuri Alvear resumes IJF World Judo Tour in Baku
10 Mar 2017 09:15
Stars of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and pillars of the IJF World Judo Tour are set for action in Baku including Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Yuri Alvear (COL) and Azerbaijan heroes and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Rustam Orujov (AZE) and Elmar Gasimov (AZE).
Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and London 2012 Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO) and London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah Menezes (BRA) are also among the top drawer names in action in Azerbaijan.
Delegations from 31 countries with 183 judoka (110 men, 73 women) are ready to compete in Baku. The field is quite thin in quantity but the quality is just fine with U48kg Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Milica Nikolic (SRB) and U52kg London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah Menezes (BRA) who moved up to the -52kg category in February and should hit her stride in Baku. U57kg Three-time Grand Slam medallist Lien Chen-Ling (TPE) lifts the curtain on her 2017 season in Baku as the world number 12 competes.
World number 12 Alice Schlesinger (GBR) is another judoka with pleasant memories of Azerbaijan having clinched the -63kg gold medal in 2016. Rio 2016 Olympian Schlesinger is by far the most experienced and accomplished judoka in the category in Baku. Speaking about experience, triple world champion and double Olympic medallist Yuri Alvear (COL) resumes IJF World Judo Tour duty this weekend for the first time since taking silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 20-year-old Paris Grand Slam medallist Elvismar Rodriguez (IJF), has the tools and desire to emulate Yuri Alvear.
Two strong fighters give the U78kg a good story: Grand Slam expert Guusje Steenhuis (NED) follows her Paris Grand Slam bronze with an outing in Azerbaijan. The four-time Grand Slam winner, who was overlooked for Rio 2016, May want to fight 2009 World Champion Marhinde Verkerk (NED). Former world champion Verkerk, 31, who lost her one and only contest at the Olympics in Brazil, has not fought since Rio but still starts as the number two seed for day three in land of fire.
In the women’s heavy weight category Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Larisa Ceric (BIH) and European champion Sayit Kayra (TUR) will offer some good contests on Sunday.
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