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Azerbaijan hopes for gold U100kg for Elmar Gasimov
24 Jun 2015 11:35
Six out of seven judoka in the latest Judo World Ranking are Europeans and most of them are in Baku for the European Games. Obviously World Ranking leader, World and European Champion from the Czech Republic Lukas Krpalek landed with his team in the Azerbaijan capital. Last year he won both titles and this special event is high on his list. Whether he is completely fit is the question but the newly married Krpalek should be fresh is his mind.
At least Krpalek won a silver medal at the IJF World Masters in Rabat in May giving him the benefit of the doubt. A world champion with his skills is able to peak when he has to, to athletes can take a break if they need it. Secondly his weight doesn’t help the more than 2 meter tall Czech has troubles with his weight U100kg. His normal weight is between 108-110kg but his wife will keep him in shape to look sharp. For sure he will be sharp on the tatami because Krpalek is just 24 and already blessed with many titles. His main opponent may come from the home nation with Elmar Gasimov and 2013 World Champion Elkhan Mammadov as major opponents. Gasimov was not in the top 10 one year ago and won the Grand Prix of Tbilisi, Samsun and the World Masters in Rabat which makes him the favourite to win the title at home. Although at home he lost to Adlan Bisultanov, but he doesn’t compete in Baku.
More opposition will come from the team of Germany with Dimitri Peters (3) and Karl-Richard Frey (4). Peters won the GP in Zagreb and silver in Tbilisi and Budapest. Peters defeated Frey three times in international confrontations, Frey defeated Peters in Samsun. The last victory was for Peters in Zagreb. Frey took a lot of points over the last two years but didn’t win a gold medal since Qingdao in November 2013. Olympic bronze medallist Peters has so far good papers but it’s a big battle which can lead to good results in Baku.
French Cyrille Maret is ranked fifth and won bronze last year in Montpellier. After winning in Paris and Samsun in 2014 we haven’t seen the strong Maret anymore, although bronze this year in Dusseldorf is a good grade.
Henk Grol is always a favourite, although he lost a few places in the World Ranking, the experienced Dutchman has enough skills to peak to a top three position, although he wants to have the gold to badly. He won bronze in Dusseldorf this year but couldn’t convince in Baku and Rabat’s Masters. He may face one of the Germans, which is a long time ago, but in better times not a problem.
From the new generation Martin Pacek (SWE), Toma Nikiforov (BEL) and Jorge Fonseca (POR) have showed they can be nasty opponents for the traditional top. Fonseca won three international medals this year in Rome, Zagreb and Baku and is a true thrower with his great technique. The man from Sao Tome and Principe is just 22 and got a license for Portugal a few years ago, we can say he is an asset to judo.
Gold for Azerbaijan that’s what the homecrowd demands in Baku, not an easy pressure to deal with, so maybe spectacular things might happen, different from the expectations with such field.
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Matyas Tinkoczy (NED)