Junior World Championships 2015, Abu Dhabi Official Draw – PREVIEW

Abu Dhabi, Oct 23, 2015: Abu Dhabi has become the epic centre of the judo world as the IJF Junior World Championships 2015 and the fourth Grand Slam of the year will be held back-to-back in the Emirates capital.

As the final IJF World Championships of the year, following the Cadet, Senior, Kata and Veteran events, judo fans will first be following the five-day junior showpiece from 23 – 27 October which will feature 16 weight categories (eight junior men, eight junior women) before concluding with the Team Event on Tuesday.

The fourth Grand Slam of the season, following Baku, Tyumen and Paris, will then be held from 30 October – 1 November with a host of junior standouts remaining in Abu Dhabi to compete at the senior event alongside Olympic and world champions.

The festival of judo in the Middle East opens on Friday with the first day of the Junior Worlds and on Thursday, the eve of the flagship u20 judo competition, the delegations gathered at the competition venue, the IPIC Arena, for the draw.

Mr. Daniel LASCAU, IJF Sports Director, announced that 560 judoka will be in action from a total of 82 nations.

Mr. Mohamed MERIDJA (above – centre), IJF Education and Coaching Director, made the welcoming address on behalf of the International Judo Federation.

“Dear Mr. President, dear IJF Executive Committee members, distinguished guests, dear judo friends, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the International Judo Federation and the President Mr. Marius VIZER, I would like to express my warmest welcome to all of our guests, officials, coaches and athletes to the Junior World Championships 2015 in Abu Dhabi,” said Mr. MERIDJA.

“We are convinced that the organisers will deliver a great competition like they did before many times. I wish all the best to the coaches and athletes. Thank you for your kind attention.”

His Excellency, Mr. Nasser Khalifa AL-BUDOOR (below – left), U.A.E Judo Federation Vice President, said: “I am proud to see you all here for the first of our two major events. It is good to see you all and I hope you have a relaxing stay in Abu Dhabi and a successful competition. Thank you for your support and I wish you a good time in the U.A.E.”

Junior world silver medallist Larissa FARIAS (BRA) is the top seed in the lightest junior women’s category and big things will be expected from the 19-year-old in one of her country’s favoured categories. Junior European silver medallist Melisa CAKMAKLI (TUR) has more experience and honours since winning bronze at the same event a year ago and the 17-year-old will also be targeting top spot.

Europe’s leading -48kg junior judoka PUPP Reka (HUN) is held in such high regard that she already has the experience of competing at the first European Games and a host of IJF Grand Prix events. The 19-year-old will be aiming for her first world medal in Abu Dhabi while reigning cadet world champion Marusa STANGAR (SLO) now has the luxury of testing herself in the next age group on day one.

Cadet world champion TOMIZAWA Kana (JPN) won her age group’s top event so convincingly in August that she has been selected for the junior version. The 16-year-old will be one of the youngest judoka in the competition and will look forward to going up against opposition such as Junior European champion Astride GNETO (FRA) who is the younger sister of fellow -52kg judoka and Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla GNETO (FRA).

Top seed Dewy KARTHAUS (NED) has waited a year for one more tilt at a Junior World Championships medal having finished in fifth-place last year in Miami. The 19-year-old has won three Junior European Cups in 2015 and will need to stay at this level to overcome judoka of the calibre of Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN) who finished fifth on senior duty at the Pan American Championships back in 2013.

Junior European champion Lucy RENSHALL (GBR) won her first senior continental open medal a fortnight ago in Lisbon as she took an eye-catching bronze in Portugal. The 19-year-old British hope will be a leading contender along with Elisavet TELTSIDOU (GRE) who RENSHALL beat in the continental final and finished seventh at the Paris Grand Slam last week.

Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Sanne VAN DIJKE (NED) will compete at the Junior World Championships for the final time in Abu Dhabi before becoming a fully-fledged senior competitor. VAN DIJKE fought at the senior World Championships in August which also can be said of GERCSAK Szabina (HUN) and both judoka will feature on Sunday.

Former Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Brigita MATIC (CRO) will be one of the favourites in the -78kg category. The Croatian teenager took silver at the Junior European Championships in September and will have to be at her best to overcome her leading rivals such as senior German Championships bronze medallist Anna Maria WAGNER (GER).

Three-time Junior European Cup winner Camila NOGUEIRA (BRA) is the top seed in the junior women’s heaviest category. The 20-year-old Brazilian will have to defeat the world’s best young judoka to capture a place on the medal podium with unknowns such as 18-year-old GANBAT Odonjargal (MGL) – who fought at the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix a year ago – also in the mix on Monday.

Former European Youth Olympic Festival bronze medallist Vahagn HOVSEPYAN (ARM) finished fifth at last year’s event but has since claimed bronze at the Junior European Championships. HOVSEPYAN will be a tougher prospect on the world stage this time around with Junior Pan American Championships winner Nicolas GOMEZ (ARG) also possessing the skills to mount a serious challenge for honours.

Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist TSENDOCHIR Tsogtbaatar (MGL) is aiming to go one better than his previous attempt to capture the world title having finished second last year. The 19-year-old Mongolian, who was in action at the senior worlds in August, will stay on in Abu Dhabi for the Grand Slam. Tunisia African Open silver medallist and Junior European champion Walide KHYAR (FRA) is the number one seed.

Pavel PATOKOV (RUS) has won his last four events and is the form judoka in the -66kg category. After individual and team gold at the Junior European Championships, the Russian fighter will expecting to be among the spoils in Abu Dhabi. Nathan KATZ (AUS) is the junior and senior Oceania champion and will be among his country’s best hopes over the coming days.

Top seed Lincoln NEVES (BRA) cannot rely on his number one status to aid his progression to the latter stages with a pool and category teeming with talent. NEVES, who finished seventh a year ago, will be joined by judoka such as 2014 Junior world silver medallist YAMAMOTO Yuji (JPN) of Tenri University and Kosovo senior team member Akil GJAKOVA (KOS) who finished fifth on the European stage this year.

The whole judo world are now more than familiar with Frank DE WIT (NED) after his Paris Grand Slam exploits as the 19-year-old won a superb bronze medal. The Dutchman has former cadet world champion Louis KRIEBER GAGNON (CAN) and Cuban teen Jose SOTOMAYOR (CUB) for company in his pool which gives an indication of the immense depth at this level.

Junior World Championships silver medallist and top seed Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) has been a first choice pick for the senior Spanish team over the last 12 months which could give him the edge on Sunday. However, SHERAZADISHVILI is far from being the only -90kg judoka with senior experience with World Judo Masters winner Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO) arguably the top name in the entire competition.

Junior World Championships silver medallist Niyaz ILYASOV (RUS) is the top seed in the -100kg category. The Russian judoka will be confident of being on the podium again if he can emerge unscathed from a pool which also contains the best fighters from France, Japan and South Korea. Prague Junior European Cup winner Leonardo GONCALVES (BRA) is also seeded and could lead his country’s medal charge on the last day of the individual competition.

Junior European Championships winner Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) – who was fifth at his home Grand Prix in 2014 – is a potential front-runner for Georgia and will be eying a rematch with OGAWA Yusei (JPN) – the son of 1992 Olympic silver medallist and four-time world champion OGAWA Naoya. The pair met in the fifth and deciding contest of the Junior Men’s World Team Championships final last year with the Japanese fighter coming out on top.

11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on two mats

Girls: -44kg, -48kg
Boys: -55kg, -60kg

11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on two mats

Girls: -52kg, -57kg
Boys: -66kg, -73kg

11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on two mats

Girls: -63kg, -70kg
Boys: -81kg, -90kg

12:00 Preliminaries on three mats
16:00 Paralympic judo demo by IBSA Judo
16:30 Team competition draw
17:00 Final block on two mats

Girls: -78kg, +78kg
Boys: -100kg, +100kg

Tuesday – Team Competition
10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block (medal contests only) on two mats

Location: IPIC Arena. —- IJF

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