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Tchrikishvili and Pietri rule but not as dominant as last year
23 Jun 2015 15:10
Always a spectacular category in judo is the men’s U81kg with world leader Avtandil Tchrikishvili. He was is reigning World and European Champion of 2014 but suddenly in 2015 he lost the key of success. Obviously exaggerated as he is still a boss but lost a few times. Although he doesn’t need to be shape yet, he will be eager enough to regain the European title. Last year he defeated Loic Pietri at home in France.
The Frenchman won bronze in Dusseldorf and a gold medal at the Grand Prix of Samsun but got surprised by Sergiu Toma in Rabat. He is not here in Baku so Pietri is still among the best. Only Joachim Bottieau of Belgium beat both Pietri as Tchrikishvili in Dusseldorf.
This year also Nyamsuren defeated the Georgian and in the semi final it was Russia Ivan Nifontov who defeated Tchrikishvili in a top close match. So maybe Ivan Nifontov is the man to watch out for. The former World Champion is still one of the most talented and skilled athletes of the Russian team. Despite the choices they have in Russia with Khubetsov, Khalmurzaev and Magomedov who are all in the top 15 of the world, it will be Nifontov who has the best papers for Rio qualification. So maybe it’s even too early to expect miracles of Nifontov, but given his form of Rabat, it makes us curious for more.
With Nifontov who is ranked 3 in Baku and Khubetsov who is Baku’s number 4, we name the top seeds. Khubetsov won the Grand Prix in Tbilisi but didn’t impress any further. In the top of the World the danger comes from other continents such as Valios Fortier (3), Nagase (4), Penalber (5), Toma (7) and Kim (10). In between is Sven Maresch who is always a factor when it comes to top events. He hasn’t been very lucky at European Championships in his career but last year he won bronze for the first time. With bronze in Dusseldorf and Budapest Maresch is back after an injury and stable.
Other outsiders are young Ushangi Margiani (seed 7), Roman Moustopoulos (seed 8) and dangerous guys like Bottieau (BEL), Laszlo Csoknyai (HUN), Srdan Mrvaljevic (MNE), European Junor Champion Nemanja Majdov (SRB) and, based upon his last event in his career, Tomo Marijanovic could give it one more try to shine.
Spectacular judo is expected in this sensational category.
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