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Israel strong at first day in Tashkent - Preview day 2
6 Oct 2017 16:55
Five winning nations at the first day of the Grand Prix in Tashkent. Israel was the most successful, they have a strong women team and already won three medals. On Saturday Sagi Muki will be fighting U81kg for Israel and Belgrade winner Rotem Shor U63kg, but even more chances for other nations this time. Read the preview by category.
European Championships bronze medallist Kathrin Unterwurzacher (AUT) lost her opening contest at the World Championships and will be looking to bounce back at the first attempt by winning in Tashkent. Five-time Grand Prix winner Unterwurzacher, who is ranked third in the world, is still an overwhelming favourite for gold but has three-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Andreja Leski (SLO), Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Busra Katipoglu (TUR) and former Tyumen Grand Slam winner Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN) for company in one of the deepest divisions in the competition.
Antalya Grand Prix winner Anka Pogacnik (SLO) is the top seed at an IJF event for the first time. The world number 13, who has won all three colours of available Grand Prix medals, will compete alongside u23 European Championships winner Gercsak Szabina (HUN), 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix winner Gulnoza Matniyazova (UZB) and Dubrovnik European Cup winner Megan Fletcher (IRI) who competes at a Grand Prix for the first time with the Irish flag having switched from representing Great Britain earlier this year.
World number 11 Giyosjon Boboev (UZB) won his first Grand Prix gold medal earlier this year in Tbilisi and is well-placed to match that performance in his homeland. The 24-year-old is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 10 and will face stiff opposition from home and abroad including domestic rival Mirzokhid Farmonov (UZB) who won this event a year ago. Teenager Martin Hojak (SLO) was seventh in Tashkent last year and will be intent on improving that finish and showing his progress over the last 12 months while Asian Championships bronze medallist Zhansay Smagulov (KAZ) would love to take gold back to his neighbouring country.
Former Asian Championships winner Nyamsuren Dagvasuren (MGL) has a tendency to save his best judo for his home continent and has the top seed status. The world number 16 topped the Grand Prix medal podium in his native Ulaanbaatar last year and has won five of his seven Grand Prix medals in Asia. Sagi Muki (ISR) was a Grand Prix, Grand Slam and European Championships winner during his lengthy run in the -73kg category but is yet to make an impact in the -81kg category since moving up at the end of 2016. Muki, who has a penchant for the spectacular, could leave his biggest impression to date on the category when he competes in an open and fascinating division.
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