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Strong presence for Russians at Grand Slam Ekaterinburg
16 Mar 2018 17:20
This weekend the IJF World Judo Tour 2018 landed in Russia with Olympic and world champions among the stars on show at the third Grand Slam of the season, Ekaterinburg 2018.
Following two back-to-back Grand Slams in February (Paris and Düsseldorf) it is now the turn of Russia to host a two-day spectacle as the fascinating season is breaking new for the sport on television, online and in terms of its standing as a high-octane, pulse-pounding sport where any athlete is beatable.
The hosts’ fourth largest city, Ekaterinburg, delivered a Grand Slam for the first time last year and now an even stronger field of judoka have assembled to the east of the Ural Mountains for a crucial stop on the IJF World Judo Tour.
The draw took place on Friday afternoon at the Hyatt Regency hotel where it was revealed that 251 judoka (152 men, 99 women) will be in action from 34 countries.
Names such as Olympic champion Fabio Basile (ITA), world champion Mayra Aguiar (BRA), World Judo Masters winner Guram Tushishvili (GEO), four-time world medallist Telma Monteiro (POR) and the returning three-time world champion Ebinuma Masashi (JPN) give an indication of the level of talent competing this weekend.
Judo fans are now waiting with bated breath for the latest Grand Slam supershow and there are compelling storylines in every weight category this weekend. Seven categories will be contested each day, moving from the lightest on day 1 to the heaviest on day 2, and while current stars may reconfirm their level there is also the chance for surprises and for newcomers to the IJF World Judo Tour to make a splash in Ekaterinburg.
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Saidzhalol Saidov (TJK)
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