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Absence of undefeated Riner makes heavyweight battle attractive

24 Jun 2015 11:45

   Emir Incegul / Turkish Judo Federation
20150627_Baku_Emir_Adam Okruashvili_GEO (1)

No one can measure with Teddy Riner, and it’s a pity that the seven time World Champion cannot compete due to an injury. It could make the heavyweight category much more interesting though. There’s something to battle for, the gold medal is open. Long live the champion, but without him, it’s not so bad as well.

So who’s going to follow up Riner with the European title? Just for the records, Riner won four of them in four starts in 8 years: still undefeated. Since 2007 Riner, Tamerlan Tmenov, Martin Padar, Ihar Makarau and Alexander Mikhailin won the title, all from Russian areas. For example the last Hungarian winner was in 1995 by Imre Csosz and number one seed Bor Barna gained his highest ever position since 2010 last week after taking a bronze medal in Budapest. In July 2010 Bor was the number two of the world behind El Shehaby (EGY).

The tall Renat Saidov (2) of Russia should be the successor of Alexander Mikhailine, not an easy task but he won bronze at home at the Worlds in Chelyabinsk. Saidov did the Pan American tour in March and won in Santiago. But at world level in Rabat he couldn’t take a medal and lost to Roy Meyer (3) who is the number three seed behind Bor and Saidov. The Dutchman booked a tremendous progress and won three medals this year. In this field he is definitely a fighter who can go for gold.

Youngster Levani Matiashvili (5) from Georgia and his compatriot Adam Okruashvili (4) shall give their best to take a gold medal, which is not impossible in this close field. Romanians Daniel Natea (6) and Vladut Simionescu (7) are true heavyweights and also seeded in Baku.

Outsiders for a medal are Andre Breitbarth (8) from Germany who's seeded as last man, Matjaz Ceraj (SLO) and Iakov Khammo (UKR). Also Oleksandr Gordienko of the Ukraine is in shape, he lost the final in Budapest but can be seen of the same level of many heavy guys and is not expected to take a medal. In this close field anything can happen though but the top favourites are seeded and fight for the legacy of Riner.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Iakiv Khammo (UKR) - European Games Baku (2015, AZE) - © Emir Incegul, Turkish Judo Federation
  • Renat Saidov (RUS), Khasanbi Taov (RUS) - European Games Baku (2015, AZE) - © European Judo Union / EJU, Copyright:
  • Or Sasson (ISR), Shay-Oren Smadga (ISR) - European Games Baku (2015, AZE) - © European Judo Union / EJU, Copyright:

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