Judo season opens in Tbilisi and Sofia
This weekend the season truly begins. The European Open of Tbilisi and Sofia are the first two official events where points can be gained for the IJF World Ranking.
For the first time the former World Cup and A-tournament is now named as European Open. In Tbilisi almost 200 participants will be fighting for the men’s titles. Last year six out of 7 titles were claimed by the organizing country of Georgia. Only Dimitri Peters of Germany won gold U100kg as foreigner. He won Olympic bronze in August.
Lasha Shavdatuashvili won a gold medal last year and amazed everyone with his golden performance in London. He is not expected to start next Saturday.
The Georgian big names will be Gogotchuri, Gviniashvili (both U90kg) Matiashvili (+100kg), Papinashvili and Merebashvili (both U60kg), Zurabiani and Tsiklauri (both U81kg)
Many countries will send their best team such as Belarus, Azerbaijan, Greece, Israel and Ukraine.
Strong fighters also U90kg despite the absence of the announced Ilias Iliadis. Zviadi Gogotchuri (GEO), Sasson (ISR), Garaklov (GRE), Gurbanov (AZE), Burns (GBR), Penasenkov (RUS), Yoshida (JPN), Gvinishvili (GEO) and Kazusionak (BLR) are some of the interesting potential medallists in this category.
The women fight at the European Open in Sofia (BUL).