Ljubljana – Slovenia, Oct 22, 2013: The Junior World Championships, Ljubljana 2013 is set to show the world the stars of tomorrow at the Stozice Centre from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 October.
The five-day event will see 75 countries compete as 611 judoka take to the tatami in the delightful city which is one of the hidden gems of Europe. Ljubljana, an untouched and enchanting location with breathtaking landscapes, will become the capital of the judo world this week and athletes will see a glimpse of the city’s natural beauty as the mountainous regions are visible from outside the venue.
Slovenia will be staging the final World Championships of the year following the Cadet and Senior competitions. As one of the highlights of the World Judo Tour, judo fans will be introduced to the sport’s next judo heroes as judoka aged under 21 compete with a minimum age of 15 years old. The reward for success will include prize money as $100,000 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 the team event.
Ahead of the draw an IJF delegation were invited to meet Mr. Borut PAHOR, President of Slovenia, on Tuesday morning alongside Slovenian Judo Federation officials. Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director, was joined by Naser AL-TAMEEMI, IJF General Treasurer, who presented PAHOR with an IJF gold plaque.
BARTA said: “We were very pleased and honoured to meet the President of Slovenia. PAHOR was knowledgeable about Slovenia’s athletes and their success and is looking forward to the event. We had great pleasure in presenting an IJF gold plaque ahead of the competition.”
“Olympic champion Urska ZOLNIR joined us and not only is she the ambassador for the competition but also a coach to the Slovenian athletes who will be in action.”
The draw was held on Tuesday afternoon at the Austria Trend Hotel, 0.8km from the venue, and opened with Bogdan GABROVEC, President of the Slovenian Judo Federation, who made the welcoming address.
GABROVEC said: “All the judo family is going to meet here to feel the excitement and enthusiasm of judo by watching all of the elite junior judoka of the world compete. We are honoured to host this great event in the year when we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Judo Federation of Slovenia.”
Jean-Luc ROUGE, IJF General Secretary, spoke on behalf of IJF and SportAccord President Marius Marius VIZER who is currently in St Petersburg, Russia for the SportAccord World Combat Games.
“I want to thank Bogan for organising the event, it is not easy, Slovenia is not the biggest country but we know they are very capable and we know their capacity. I wish good luck to all the athletes, you are building the champions of the future.”
Vladimir BARTA, IJF Head Sports Director, said: “Welcome to Ljubljana, after a two-year break because of the Olympic year, we host a Junior World Championships and now for the first time we will include a team event. Slovenia is a big judo country and despite not having a big judo population, they have won medals in judo at the last three Olympic Games.”
BARTA also reaffirmed plans to introduce a Junior World Ranking List in 2014 after the proposal was accepted at the IJF Congress this year in Rio.
“Next year we will have a Junior World Ranking List and host continental Open events for juniors in addition to Continental Championships and the Junior Worlds.”
Juan Carlos BARCOS, IJF Head Refereeing Director, said: “The image of our sport is very important to us and to maintain the values and principles of judo. Therefore we are applying the rules for negative judo very strictly as we want players at this age to fight with fighting spirit and in respect of the rules.”
PREVIEW: JUNIOR WOMEN
Former Cadet World Championship winner Tawany SILVA (BRA) has been in a rich vein of form this year with four Junior European Cup medals to show for her efforts including two gold. SILVA, who only turned 18 earlier this month, could be poised for a memorable showcase of her talent on the biggest stage of her career.
YAMAUCHI Honoka (JPN) won the Cadet World Championships in August and will be unleashed once again in Slovenia. The 17-year-old also topped the medal podium at the Cadet European Cup in Berlin with both victories coming in the -40kg category. The lightest category in the Junior World Championships is -44kg so the Japanese judoka will make her international debut in the heavier weight category.
Junior Asian Championship runner-up Yenglik SATYVALDY (KAZ) will aim to be in the hunt for world honours along with home judoka Marusa STANGAR (SLO), the reigning Cadet World Championship and Junior European bronze medallist, who will receive a hero’s welcome when she graces the tatami.
Gabriela CHIBANA (BRA) will be one of the most accomplished juniors in action this week. The 20-year-old, who saw older brother Charles finish fifth at the senior World Championships in Rio, established herself on the World Judo Tour last year by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix either side of a silver medal at the Rio Grand Slam and bronze medal at the Qingdao Grand Prix. 20-year-old teammate Nathalia BRIGIDA (BRA) has also shone with Miami Grand Prix silver and San Salvador Pan American Open gold ranking as the best results of her burgeoning career. BRIGIDA has form at this event having won Junior World Championship bronze in 2010.
Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) will already be a name familiar to diligent judo fans after finishing in seventh-place at the Paris Grand Slam this year at the tender age of 17. BUCHARD, who turned 18 in July, took bronze at the 2011 Cadet World Championships and most recently finished in fifth-place at the Junior European Championships in September.
Londoner Hayley WILLIS (GBR) knows what it takes to grace a Junior World Championship medal podium having won bronze in 2011 at the age of 16. WILLIS, now 17, has already made an impact on the senior stage with silver medals this year at European Cup events in Sindelfingen and Sarajevo along with bronze on home soil at the London European Cup.
Shira HAYAT (ISR) will hope to add to the stunning exploits of Israel’s senior women who, led by their country’s first world judo champion Yarden GERBI, have established themselves as one of the fastest rising teams in the sport. On the senior stage herself, HAYAT, 20, won bronze at the Lisbon European Open in June and, with inspiration all around her in her homeland, will be a challenging prospect for any judoka.
Distria KRASNIQI (KOS) shared a medal podium for Kosovo’s first world champion, Majlinda KELMENDI, at the European u23 Championships last year as the former took bronze and KELMENDI won gold. KRASNIQI will hope to follow in the footsteps of her country’s new idol who won the 2009 Junior World Championships. The Kosovan judoka finished seventh at the Rijeka Grand Prix in September and won bronze at the Junior European Championships a week later.
19-year-old Julia ROSSO (FRA) showed her quality at the continental level in September with silver at the Junior European Championships and will hope to follow up by making an immediate impression on the world stage.
France’s Treicy ETIENNAR and Amelie GUIHUR are both capable of pushing for honours in the -57kg category. ETIENNAR, 19, won Junior European Championship gold in 2011 while GUIHUR, also 19, took silver at the continental event in 2012.
Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD (CAN) is another junior judoka with a significant amount of experience in the senior ranks. The 19-year-old enters the competition on the back of a career-best bronze medal at the Rijeka Grand Prix and only 116km away from the scene of that defiant display the Canadian could be in medal contention in Ljubljana.
Floor STOOP (NED) won bronze at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Cape Town and will be tipped to be in medal contention in Ljubljana.
Cadet World Championship winner Szabina GERCSAK (HUN) will test herself against the junior elite and will be tipped to rise to the occasion. The 2013 Junior European Championship and European Youth Olympic Festival silver medallist finished seventh at the senior European Championships in April at the tender age of 16. GERCSAK, now 17, is one of the most active cadet judoka and will need all of that competition experience when she starts her campaign for the world crown in Ljubljana.
TSUGANE Megumi (JPN) is best known for winning the 2012 Tokyo Grand Slam, one of the leading events of the World Judo Tour. The 17-year-old finished fifth at the 2013 Dusseldorf Grand Prix behind Clarisse AGBEGNENOU, ABE Kana, Anicka VAN EMDEN and Yarden GERBI. TSUGANE captured bronze at the All Japan Judo Championships in May with ABE Kana winning the gold.
Former Cadet World Championship bronze medallist Katie-Jemima YEATS-BROWN (GBR) was discovered playing rugby for her school by now British men’s coach Chris Bowles. The tenacious 18-year-old won the Cadet European Championship title in 2011 along with the aforementioned world medal and finished in fifth-place at the Junior World Championships. After an injury-ravaged 2012 the British hope is back to her best and is intent on challenging for major honours once again.
Junior European champion Barbara MATIC (CRO) will be one of the leading contenders in the -70kg category. The European u23 Championships silver medallist, 18, finished fifth at the Rijeka Grand Prix last month as she narrowly missed out on a fairytale conclusion to Croatia’s first World Judo Tour event. A Junior World Championship medal is the most notable absence on her well-stocked resume and MATIC will be motivated to amend that with a fifth place in 2011 her best result.
19-year-old Margaux PINOT (FRA) is already well-known and well respected outside of her homeland after winning two Junior European Championship titles and earning a stunning senior bronze medal at the 2011 Jeju World Cup at the age of 17. Teammate Marie-Eve GAHIE (FRA) is the youngest judoka in the French team and one of the youngest in the competition at 16 years old. GAHIE won the Cadet World Championships in August to add to her European crown she won in June.
ARAI Chizuru (JPN) exploded onto the World Judo Tour stage this year by capturing silver at the Moscow Grand Slam. ARAI, 19, is no stranger to senior action having won bronze at the Sofia European Open which was won by world number one Kim POLLING. The Junior Asian Championship winner will be earmarked by her rivals as one of the top contenders for world gold.
Cadet World Championship bronze medallist Brigita MATIC (CRO) will be hoping for success alongside her older sister Barbara and the former has been a consistent medallist at this year’s high-profile events. Brigita MATIC, 17, took bronze at the Cadet European Championships, silver at the European Youth Olympic Festival and after winning Cadet World bronze the Croatian starlet finished fifth at the Junior European Championships.
2013 Junior European champion Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) will be one of the leading contenders in the -78kg category. MALONGA, who is a product of the same club as Olympic and six-time world champion Teddy RINER and Priscilla GNETO, took an unexpected silver medal at the FISU Universiade in July as she only lost against two-time senior European champion and world number two Abigel JOO (HUN). MALONGA is a talent beyond her years and will look to show that in Ljubljana by improving on her fifth place finish at the 2010 Junior World Championships. France will also be represented by 2013 Junior European Championship silver medallist Samah Hawa CAMARA as the 18-year-old looks to follow up on European honours by adding world success.
Former Junior European champion Maike ZIECH (GER) finished fifth at the FISU Universiade and most recently won bronze at the Tampere European Cup. The 20-year-old won Junior European Cup events in Berlin and Wroclaw either side of those senior competitions. Now she will hope to emulate her country’s all-conquering senior women’s team.
Former Junior World Championship silver medallist Carolin WEISS (GER) has made huge strides since finishing second at this event in 2011. WEISS, 20, has made a seamless transition onto the senior stage this year and has been a high-quality addition to the women’s heavyweight category. WEISS took silver at the Samsun Grand Prix, bronze at the Baku Grand Slam and fifth at the Miami Grand Prix to catapult herself into the world top 20.
Cadet World Championship winner Gusmary GARCIA SAVIGNE (CUB) will be in action alongside European u23 Championships bronze medallist Aleksandra BABINTCEVA (RUS) and Junior European Championship bronze medallist Anastasiia SAPSAI (UKR).
SAPSAI will be joined in action by her equally gifted compatriot Yelyzaveta KALANINA (UKR). The 18-year-old is a former European Youth Olympic Festival winner, Cadet World bronze medallist, Junior European bronze medallist and secured the best result of her career at the 2013 FISU Universiade when she took bronze in the openweight category which was won by Olympic and world champion Idalys ORTIZ (CUB).
Heavyweight AN Zehua (CHN) is part of a seven-strong Chinese team who will all make their international debuts in the Slovenian capital.
Azerbaijan shone in the lightest junior men’s category at the Junior European Championships this year as Davud MAMMADOV (AZE) took gold while teammate and former Cadet European champion Mekhman SADIGOV (AZE) won bronze. The latest talents from the ‘Land of Fire’, which hosted its first Judo Grand Slam in Baku this year, look set to reacquaint themselves with France’s 19-year-old 2013 Junior European Championship silver medallist Vincent MANQUEST (FRA).
Former Cadet World Championship winner NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) is primed to challenge for the second world title of his burgeoning career. The Junior Asia Championships winner, 17, has been imperious this year as he has two gold medals from Europe having topped the medal podium at the Junior International Masters in Bremen and the St Petersburg Junior European Cup.
Vitor TORRENTE (BRA) has already ruled his continent this year as he won Pan American Junior Championships gold in July and showed his endurance by winning the South American Junior Championships on the following day. TORRENTE honed his skills in the sport’s homeland of Japan last month as part of an 18-strong Brazilian contingent of juniors who spent two weeks training in two of Tokyo’s leading Universities, Tsukuba and Teikyo.
“I think we had improvements in all aspects during training,” said TORRENTE, before adding: “I understand that I went back to a style that is similar to the essence of judo, with less physical effort and more efficiency, because the Japanese athletes train a lot, but loose, making many randori possible.”
Former Cadet World Championship bronze medallist Rashad RUFULLAYEV (AZE) is a leading contender for honours in Ljubljana after commanding victories at Junior European Cup events in Kiev and Wroclaw which set the tone for him to win his first Junior European Championship title. Junior Asian Championships winner OSHIMA Yuma (JPN) won Cadet World gold in 2011 and will fly the flag for Japan.
Former Oceania Cadet Championships winner Kai PNG (AUS) will see action along with Junior European Championship bronze medallist Oruj VALIZADA (AZE). Mohamed ABDELMAWGOUD (EGY), who finished seventh at this event in 2011, has made a name for himself in Africa this year having entered the senior ranks to capture silver at the African Championships.
African hope Houd ZOURDANI (ALG) doubled up on his continental success this year as he proved to be a leading force in both the junior and senior competitions. The 19-year-old took bronze at the senior showpiece before improving on that result by taking silver in his own age group.
19-year-old Ricardo SANTOS (BRA) won Cadet Pan American Championship gold in 2011 and has been a regular on Junior European Cup medal podiums while teammate Gabriel PINHEIRO (BRA) was crowned Junior South American Championships winner in July.
Zaur KALASHAOV (RUS) won Junior World Championship bronze at the age of 17 in 2010 and took gold at the Junior European Championship last year. KALASHAOV, now 20, will be aiming to recapture a spot on the world stage Ljubljana.
The home fans will be counting on Adrian GOMBOC (SLO) and Luka KURALT (SLO) to be in the medal picture. The duo, who are both 18 years old, are two of the most active judoka in the age group and boast significant experience of senior competitions on the domestic and European stage.
Canada’s Etienne BRIAND (CAN) topped the medal podium at the San Salvador World Cup (now Pan American Open) last year and has continued to command attention while on senior duty after earning a silver medal at the Games of the French Speaking countries in September. The 20-year-old will be joined in -73kg action by Magdiel ESTRADA (CUB) who tormented judoka far beyond his years at the Miami Grand Prix. 19-year-old ESTRADA finished in fifth place, only behind Olympic medallists Ugo LEGRAND, Miklos UNGVARI and World medallists Dirk VAN TICHELT and Kiyoshi UEMATSU.
Kairat AGIBAYEV (KAZ) who will be buoyed by the experience of witnessing his country host the first Almaty Grand Prix in September. AGIBAYEV, 19, is the reigning Junior Asian Championship bronze medallist and has graced a world medal podium before having won bronze at the 2009 Cadet World Championships.
Marko BUBANJA (AUT) has been a leading figure in the cadet scene in recent years and now he hopes to make the transition into the junior ranks. BUBANJA, 17, took bronze at the 2013 Cadet World Championships in Miami to register a new career-best having earned a silver medal at the Cadet European Championships last year.
Mammadali MEHDIYEV (AZE) could be the next Azerbaijan ace as he thrives on the big stage and has made rapid progress. The 20-year-old took bronze at the 2013 FISU Universiade and won the hearts of his nation last year by winning bronze at the Baku Grand Prix (now Grand Slam).
Quebec judoka Louis KRIEBER-GAGNON (CAN) is only 17-years-old but has already earned a place in the history books after becoming Canada’s first male Cadet World Championship winner with gold in Miami this year. With the feeling of being crowned world champion still at the forefront of his mind, KRIEBER-GAGNON will be determined to give his all once again on the biggest stage of his flourishing career.
All Japan Judo Championships bronze medallist KOHARA Kenya (JPN) and 18-year-old Altanbagana GANTULGA (MGL), who finished fifth at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, will also feature.
Junior European Championship winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) is one of the most successful teenagers in the sport. GVINIASHVILI, 17, is a former Cadet World champion, Cadet European champion, European Youth Olympic Festival winner and won Junior World Championship bronze in 2011.
Junior Asian Championship winner KOBAYASHI Yusuke (JPN) will be aiming to replicate his continental victory on the world stage while the time could be right for the dynamic Dutch duo of Michael KORREL (NED) and Max DE VREEZE (NED), who boast three Junior European medals between them, to propel themselves into the international spotlight.
Two-time Junior European Championship bronze medallist Mihael ZGANK (SLO) has made a name for himself on the senior European Circuit this year and will be one of the host country’s leading medal hopes. ZGANK, 19, started 2013 by winning the senior national title before taking bronze at the Sarajevo European Cup and winning on home soil in Celje. After finishing fifth at the Rijeka Grand Prix in September ZGANK underlined his quality by winning the Belgrade European Cup.
Former Cadet World Championship silver medallist Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL) is a big man with a big reputation after earning a seventh place finish at the senior European Championships. The 20-year-old has proved himself in every age group and will be one of the most experienced judoka in the competition. The former European Youth Olympic Festival winner has spent much of his year competing in senior events and that will give him confidence as he reverts to junior duty for his swansong.
20-year-old Nabil MACHTROU (FRA) captured silver at the 2013 Junior European Championships and will aim for more of the same in Slovenia in his final year as a junior.
L.A SMITH (USA) won his first senior national title in April as he topped the -100kg category which included London 2012 Paralympic silver medallist Myles PORTER. New Jersey native SMITH, 18, continued to build momentum by taking bronze at the Junior Pan American Championships.
As Olympic champion and six-time world champion Teddy RINER continues to lay siege to his heavyweight rivals, it stands to reason that the next legitimate challenger to his supremacy could currently be honing their craft in the junior ranks.
Fans will be keen to see what the junior heavyweight elite have to offer and will be identifying who they think has the tools for a successful career at the highest level.
Georgia’s heavyweight sensation Levani MATIASHVILI (GEO) will be among those hoping to catch the eye in the Slovenian capital. The Georgian casts a considerable shadow over the +100kg category after his heroics on the World Judo Tour this year. MATIASHVILI, 20, who defeated world number three Adam OKRUASHVILI to win senior national gold last year, stunned his rivals and judo fans alike when he won bronze at the Baku Grand Slam in May.
Anton KRIVOBOKOV (RUS) will not be fazed by the occasion as a former Junior World Championship bronze medallist and former Cadet World champion. The 20-year-old has already won the Junior European Championships this year and now has the ultimate prize in his sights.
Former Junior Asian Championship winner Mukhriddin BUTAEV (UZB) will step onto the tatami in Slovenia on the back of the greatest experience of his career. Three weeks ago BUTAEV fought at the Judo Grand Prix Tashkent 2013, his country’s first World Judo Tour event where he lost his first fight to eventual bronze medallist Mukhamadmurod ABDURAKHMONOV (TJK). The Uzbek will hope to be a mainstay at his country’s top event over the coming years and that starts with a bright performance on the world stage.
10:00 Preliminaries. 17:00 Final block
Junior women: -44kg, -48kg and Junior men: -55kg, -60kg
09:00 Preliminaries. 16:30 Opening ceremony. 17:00 Final block
Junior women: -52kg, -57kg and Junior men: -66kg, -73kg
10:00 Preliminaries. 17:00 Final block
Women: -63kg, -70kg. Men: -81kg, -90kg
10:00 Preliminaries. 17:00 Final block
Women: -78kg, +78kg and Men: -100kg, +100kg
Sunday – Team Competition
10:00 Preliminaries. 17:00 Final block
Junior women’s team event and Junior mens team event
Location: Stozice Centre. —- IJF/Photos © IJF Media Team by G. Sabau
Share on Facebook