Junior World Championships, Fort Lauderdale 2014

Fort Lauderdale – USA, Oct 22, 2014: The Junior World Championships, Fort Lauderdale 2014, will show the world the finest young talent in the sport and offer new accolades to Rio 2016 hopefuls who are already making their mark on the IJF World Judo Tour.

As the final IJF World Championships of the year, following Senior, Kata and Veteran events, all eyes are on the five-day event in Florida which will feature 16 weight categories (eight men, eight women) before concluding with the Team Event on Sunday.

unnamed (3)The Junior World Championships features judoka under the age of 21 with a minimum age of 15. Many judoka will be competing on the biggest and brightest stage of their careers while a handful of athletes are not only active on the IJF World Judo Tour but are actually making waves against fully fledged senior opposition.

World champion KONDO Ami (JPN) returns to junior duty on the international stage for the first time since 2013 as the 19-year-old aims to make it a unique double in 2014. The 19-year-old was unbeatable in Russia in August as she came to the fore on the opening day.

World number three KONDO won the cadet world crown in 2011 and could seal a remarkable hat-trick of world titles at the tender age of 19.

Prize money will be at stake in the form of $100,000 which will be divided among the medallists and best male and female winners with $80,000 being split in the individual competition and $20,000 for Sunday’sTeam Event.

The Team Event made its Youth Olympic Games debut at Nanjing 2014 and has become a core feature of the IJF’s annual World Championships competitions.

On Tuesday the 77 delegations attended the draw at the Broward County Convention Center on the eve of the competition. Athletes are seeded for the first time following the introduction of the Junior World Ranking List which was officially announced at last year’s event in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“Dear colleagues, guests, ladies and gentlemen and executive board members, I welcome you all to Fort Lauderdale. I also have the great pleasure to welcome Illie NASTASE who is a special guest of the IJF and I thank him for his support. I want to proceed with the mission of the IJF and in particular the team event is something we have great confidence in and continue to work to develop. I hope for a successful competition and I wish you all a lot of success. I hope you enjoy the competition and America.”

Tennis great Illie NASTASE is a regular visitor to IJF World Judo Tour events. The Romanian icon was twice ranked as the world number one in the 1970s and won admirers the world around with this talent and charisma.

During his distinguished career, he won two Grand Slam singles titles – the US Open in 1972 and the French Open in 1973 – and was a runner-up at Wimbledon in 1972 and 1976 and, in all, he won 57 career singles titles and 51 doubles titles.

NASTASE said: “I am very pleased to be here, the event is an opportunity for me to stay in touch with sport and this is something I am grateful for from the IJF. I am developing a good understanding of the sport and I really look forward to seeing some special young athletes this week. I wish you all good luck.”

Jose HUMBERTO RODRIGUEZ, USA Judo CEO, said: “On behalf of USA Judo, I’d like to welcome you all and I would like to thank the International Judo Federation and President VIZER for giving us the honour of hosting this event. We hope everything will go well for all of you and we want to give the athletes the best stage to win at this prestigious event. Once again, welcome to the US and welcome to Florida.”

Juan Carlos BARCOS, IJF Head Refereeing Director, said: “Good afternoon everyone, I am very happy to be here in Fort Lauderdale for these World Championships. Under the leadership of our President Mr. Marius VIZER we have made a great effort to improve the quality of refereeing. The behaviour of coaches and athletes has been very good and in particular at the World Championships in Russia this year. I hope you can all show the values of our sport during your week in Fort Lauderdale and show the quality of judo. I wish you all good luck.”

PREVIEW: JUNIOR WOMEN
-44kg
Junior European champion Borislava DAMYANOVA (BUL) is the top seed in the lightest category. The Bulgarian is undefeated in her last four events which culminated with her winning her second consecutive Junior European crown in September. Catarina COSTA (POR) finished fifth at the Junior European Championships and will be targeting her first major world medal on Wednesday while Junior Pan American champion Larissa FARIAS (BRA) will hope to convert continental success into world honours.

-48kg
World champion KONDO Ami (JPN) is in the unthinkable position of vying for a Junior world crown two months after winning the senior title. KONDO is an overwhelming favourite and could give the American audience a showing to remember. Turkey tend to specialise in producing lightweight judoka and Dilara LOKMANHEKIM (TUR) is such a talent. Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist LOKMANHEKIM is in her last year as a junior and will be confident of bowing out in style before switching her focus to bid for Rio 2016.

-52kg
Junior European champion Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA) has managed to thrive on the senior stage in 2014 while also maintaining her superiority in the junior ranks. GIUFFRIDA took silver at the first Budapest Grand Prix in June and the same colour medal at the Samsun Grand Prix. Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) has been a revelation in 2014 as she has surged to stardom on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Frenchwoman took silver at the European Championships and bronze at the World Championships and is one of the most accomplished judoka in any age group this year. Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner PARK Da Sol (KOR) and Junior European silver medallist Astride GNETO (FRA) will be in action along with Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Larisa FLORIAN (ROU).

-57kg
Former World Military Championships winner Flavia GOMES (BRA) will be remembered by the most discerning of judo fans for taking a silver medal at the Rio Grand Slam in 2012. GOMES, 20, took bronze at the Montevideo Pan American Open and her leading rivals will include judoka from North America and Asia. Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD (CAN) won the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix and Tyumen Grand Slam in consecutive weeks this summer while DEGUCHI Christa (JPN) took bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam last year and a week later won the Jeju Grand Prix.

-63kg
Youth Olympic Games winner Szabina GERCSAK (HUN) is a performer for the big occasion. GERCSAK won world gold in America last year as she took cadet gold in Miami and has been just as consistent this year as she followed her Nanjing 2014 title by clinching Junior European gold in September. Maylin DEL TORO CARVAJAL (CUB) took bronze in Ljubljana last year and is part of an eight-strong Cuban team who will be well supported in Fort Lauderdale. BALDORJ Mungunchimeg (MGL) comes into the event on the back of a notable fifth-place finish at the Asian Games while Katie-Jemima YEATS-BROWN (GBR) has a Commonwealth Games bronze medal to her name.

-70kg
Budapest Grand Prix runner-up Barbara MATIC (CRO) is the reigning Junior world champion and finished fifth at the senior version in August. MATIC, who is still only 19, has made waves at every level in judo and will settle for nothing less than more silverware in Fort Lauderdale. Former Asian Championships bronze medallist Gulnoza MATNIYAZOVA (UZB) finished seventh at the World Championships in Chelyabinsk and will be a force in the -70kg category while 2013 Cadet world champion Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) will be one of the youngest judoka in competition at 17 years old.

-78kg
Youth Olympic Games winner Brigita MATIC (CRO) took bronze at the Tbilisi Grand Prix on the senior circuit and will compete on Saturday after watching her sister fight on Friday. Junior European bronze medallist Sama Hawa CAMARA (FRA) took bronze at the Samsun Grand Prix in March while top seed Anastasiya TURCHYN (UKR) is not only the reigning Junior European champion but also the 2013 European u23 champion.

+78kg
Reigning Cadet world champion Gusmary GARCIA SAVIGNE (CUB) finished fifth at the first Havana Grand Prix this year and will be aiming to improve on her Junior Worlds fifth-place from 2013. GARCIA SAVIGNE will feature in the heavyweight category on Saturday along with Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist ASAHINA Sarah (JPN) and former Almaty Grand Prix bronze medallist Ruza DUKHTURBAYEVA (KAZ).

JUNIOR MEN
-55kg
Junior Pan American Championships silver medallist Rafael ORBE CONCEPCION (DOM) is the top seed in the lightest category for junior men. ORBE CONCEPCION will take to the tatami on the opening day of the Junior World Championships in Florida. Roy KOFFIJBERG (NED) is a fixture on Junior European Cup medal podiums and is one of the top seeds along with Bryan JOLLY (AUS) who finished fifth at the Youth Olympic Games.

-60kg
Qingdao Grand Prix gold medallist CHOI In Hyuk (KOR) gave an indication of his precocious talent at the World Championships in Russia where he finished seventh. The 20-year-old will face opposition from judoka such as Junior European bronze medallist Walide KHYAR (FRA) and Junior European champion Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP) who, in addition to winning the Lisbon European Open last time out, is also the top seed in Florida.

-66kg
Junior Pan American Championships silver medallist Julian SANCHO (CRC) is the top seed in the -66kg category. The Costa Rican judoka is his country’s only male fighter and will be highly motivated to grace the medal podium having finished in fifth-place at the Youth Olympic Games. Junior European Championships bronze medallist Martin SETZ (GER) is also seeded and is part of the 15-strong German team.

-73kg
Former Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Huseyn RAHIMLI (AZE) is seeded and will be tipped as a front-runner along with Junior Pan American champion Lincoln NEVES (BRA). Havana Grand Prix silver medallist Magdiel ESTRADA (CUB) and Lisbon European bronze medallist Nuno SARAIVA (POR) could also star on day two at the Broward County Convention Center.

-81kg
Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Ushangi MARGIANI (GEO) has star quality and has proven his potential on the senior stage. As he reverts to the junior scene, standout judoka such as Junior European champion Nemanja MAJDOV (SRB) – who finished fifth at Youth Olympic Games – will be ready to end his candidacy. MAJDOV, who is coached by his father, is also joined in the -81kg category by his brother and Junior European bronze medallist Stefan MAJDOV (SRB).

-90kg
World silver medallist Krisztian TOTH (HUN) has another World Championships in his sights and will be poised for a long day on Friday which he hopes will end by hearing the Hungarian anthem. TOTH has already had many memorable battles with fellow senior star Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) and the latest chapter in their budding rivalry will surely be written in Fort Lauderdale. GVINIASHVILI has won Grand Prix in Samsun and Ulaanbaatar this year while Tallin European Open bronze medallist Michael KORREL (NED) will look to force his way into medal contention.

-100kg
Junior European champion Niyaz ILYASOV (RUS) is the top seed and features as part of a full strength Russian team of 20 judoka. Junior Pan American Championships winner Gabriel SOUZA (BRA) will fly the flag for Brazil while All Japan Junior Championships winner WOLF Aaron (JPN) will see action for Japan.

+100kg
Top seed Iakiv KHAMMO (UKR) finished seventh a year ago and will be challenged all the way in Fort Lauderdale. Asian Games silver medallist ULZIIBAYAR Duurenbayar (MGL) is a big man with a growing reputation and will be a leading candidate from Asia along with the towering 18-year-old OGAWA Yusei (JPN) who is the son of 1992 Olympic silver medallist and four-time world champion OGAWA Naoya.

COMPETITION PROGRAMME
Wednesday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on two tatami

Junior women: -44kg, -48kg
Junior men: -55kg, -60kg

Thursday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on two tatami

Junior women: -52kg, -57kg
Junior men: -66kg, -73kg

Friday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on two tatami

Women: -63kg, -70kg
Men: -81kg, -90kg

Saturday
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on two tatami

Women: -78kg, +78kg
Men: -100kg, +100kg

Sunday – Team Competition
10:00 Preliminaries on three tatami
17:00 Final block on one tatami

Junior women’s team event
Junior mens team event

Location: Broward County Convention Center. —- Photos: © IJF Media Team by T. Zahonyi

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