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The heat is on at the Osaka Grand Slam

21 Nov 2019 08:10

 Iván Alcolea Ramos    JudoHeroes
20191122_jh_osaka_3_2

Judo in japan is always interesting to know about, even their national competitions as Kano Cup, All Japan Championships or University Championships. When IJF Tour lands in Japan, a special athmosphere is capturing the world of Judo. One year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the olympic road is turning tigh in many categories and many coaches from different countries are starting to have headaches to make their selection.

In this stage, the Osaka Grand Slam could reveal some contests between direct rivals for an Olympic ticket, the heat is on.

U66kg category is on fire, just one ticket is available and the two last (former and new) world champions are competing for it. 

On the other side, many countries suffer with hard decision-making. Such as the U73kg category in Italy. Current Olympic champion U66kg, Fabio Basile is having some troubles qualify via the Olympic Ranking, and another italian young promise, Giovanni Esposito, is developing fast with his 5th place at the last Brasilia Grand Slam and another silver medal at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix.

Countless examples where qualification is a hard battle, not just in Japan, where the athletes actually don’t need to qualify but shall be nominated as the host country will automatically have 14 places available.

The female divisions doesn’t look easier. For instance the category U48kg where two Spaniards are ranked 5th and 6th in the Olympic Ranking. Laura Martinez and Julia Figueroa have just a relatively small gap of 265 points. Figueroa has a huge opportunity to get points in Osaka and revert the qualification.

Three Japanese judoka between are ranked within the first ten positions in U52kg in the Olympic List. This will made this category so interesting during this weekend. Abe Uta, is the current world champion and she will liekly keep keep her crown. Teammates Natsumi Tsunoda already stepped back to U48kg as there is space. Ai Shishime also want to make a statement in Osaka. She is also a former World Champion, but just set aside by the Japanese super prodigy.

Not always the heavyweight category get the attention but in Osaka it’s on fire. Just a few points between the brazilians Maria Suelen Altheman (3th in OR) and Beatriz Souza (5th in OR), both from Brasil. Obviously the big clash is between Sone Akira (2th in OR) and Asahina Sarah (4th in OR).  Perhaps, Osaka’s points will make the difference in some of these cases, as well as the reduction of last year’s points. Reason enough not to miss this Grand Slam.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Laura Martinez Abelenda (ESP), Julia Figueroa (ESP) - Grand Prix Budapest (2019, HUN) - © IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio, International Judo Federation
  • Fabio Basile (ITA) - Grand Slam Paris (2019, FRA) - © Paco Lozano, Judo y Otros
  • Sarah Asahina (JPN) - Grand Slam Tokyo (2017, JPN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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