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Preview U48kg: Tsunoda and Menz paired again

Preview U48kg: Tsunoda and Menz paired again

6 May 2023 13:20 - Hans van Essen / judo news, results and photos

At the first day of the World Judo Championships in Doha the women U48kg will give their best effort. At U48kg, the top favorite is Natsumi Tsunoda (JPN), the defending World Champion. She has a tomoe-nage that is predictable and rather conventional yet difficult for any of her opponents to stop. And when the tomoe doesn’t work, she goes straight into a juji-gatame.

The World No. 1 is Shirine Boukli of France. These two have fought once and Tsunoda was the winner then. A rising star is France’s Blandine Pont who just won three Grand Slams in a row, this year alone. She could be the dark horse. Both French are separated at the draw on Saturday, so are the two Japanese. Tsunoda is in the same pool as last year’s finalist Katharina Menz (GER). World number 1 and 8 are in the same side of the pool, Boukli and Wakana Koga, but seemed to have a good draw with no stunning surprises.

The two Serbian candidates Nikolic and Stojadinov are also separated. Nikolic is seeded and in the pool for the quarter final with Abiba Abuzhakynova (KAZ). Stojadinov is in the same pool with Alessia Scutto, Italy’s ace. Blandine Pont is on good form and the only athlete in the world who won three IJF events this season. She is in the same pool as Sabina Giliazova (AIN) and Korea’s Lee. The pool of Catarina Costa (POR) is not easy with Ganbaatar (MGL) and Lima (BRA).

This category contains 45 women. The same number as in 2019 in Tokyo. Last year in Tashkent there were 38 women in this division, in 2021 in Budapest 42.

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