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Tokyo Preview women U48kg: Bilodid major favourite for prolongation
25 Aug 2019 00:05
Can Japan finally beat its biggest rival for women U48kg, Daria Bilodid of the Ukraine, at home in the Budokan? No Japanese beat Bilodid so far in her impressive career. Without a doubt Ukraine's Bilodid is the major favourite to prolong the world title. Bilodid has been beaten only once since November 2017, when she unexpectedly lost to Melanie Clement of France in the 2019 Grand Prix of Tbilisi in March. First she will face Aliyeva or Costa as first round opponent.
Japanese Funa Tonaki is her main rival and former World Champion and the current World number one. Bilodid has fought her three times and won each time. Other top fighters are Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia and Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo. She has never fought Munkhbat in the IJF World Tour so it might be interesting if there is a match up. Munkhbat is also relative tall for her weight class and is good on the ground. Bilodid has fought and beat Krasniqi twice but the Kosovan fighter is a rising star, so it should make for an interesting match-up too.
Two other exciting fighters to look out for are Paul Pareto of Argentina and Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan but both are of very short stature and would have difficulty with someone as tall as Bilodid. Galbadrakh has beaten Bilodid before but in their last three match-ups, it was Bilodid who prevailed. Galbadrakh is in one poule with Munkhbat, the two former Mongolians. Galbadrakh switched to Kazakhstan.
One of the smallest but in fact most compact is Paula Pareto, former World and Olympic Champion of Argentina, we count her in for the last eight. She is in the poule with Krasniqi. Russian Irina Dolgova could make the next step, she needs it as she was never successful at world championships. Dolgova is in the same poule as Bilodid, so not an easy task.
Milica Nikolic is the last seeded player and likely in the poule with Tonaki. Number one and eight are matched in the same poule and in fact protected until the quarter final.
Outside that protected bunch of women we foresee chances for Spaniards Figueroa and Martinez Abelanda as well as French woman Melanie Clement has chances on a good day. Same counts for Shira Rishony who started her year so convincingly. Furthermore there are a lot of girls that could upset some of the elite fighters in the first rounds: Costa, Csernovizky, Menz, Cherniak, Senturk, Stangar, Li, Giliazova (in the poule with Tonaki) but there will be more. Still, we believe that the top favourites will qualify for the semi finals as they simply outperformed so far. But hey, this is the World Championships in judo, in fact anything could happen. Stay tuned.
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