Crowded house for new arrivals U70kg

When Lucie Decosse FRA stood atop the podium at last summer’s Olympic Games in London she did so as reigning world champion and confirmed her status as world number one. By achieving at her third attempt her goal of winning an Olympic gold medal, and aged 31, Decosse became the focus of speculation regarding her possible retirement. That question is likely to be answered at the World Championships in Rio this August where Decosse is scheduled to defend her world title. Alongside her in London were two former world champions, Edith Bosch NED (Cairo 2005) and Yuri Alvear COL (Rotterdam 2009) making a very strong podium line up. Only silver medallist Kersten Thiele GER was regarded as having upset the rankings in a category where, prior to the Games at least, the main protagonists in the -70kg category had pretty much been identified.

Post London, and in this new Olympic cycle, the -70kg, more than most others, is in for quite a shake up as athletes move up a weight or take the unusual step of moving down. Two Olympic champions are set to move into the -70kg category: Urska Zolnir SLO is moving up from -63kg whilst Kayla Harisson USA, has already made the move down from -78kg. In the short term Zolnir and Harrison will face competition first from Asia, particularly in the shape of established fighters such as Hwang Ye Sul KOR, Chen Fei CHN and Tachimoto Haruka JPN. Harrison, prior to her knee injury, had already locked horns in Pan-America with Colombia’s Alvear and both will have to contend with Kelita Zupancic CAN, Maria Portela BRA and Onix Cortes CUB. Africa too can offer up stiff competition in the shape of world bronze medallist in 2009 Houda Miled TUN, Antonia Moreira ANG and current African champion Assma Niang MAR. But it is possibly the Europeans who will pose the biggest threat.

Whilst Decosse may be about to hang up her belt it is the rising stars of Europe in the shape of two former junior world champions Kim Polling NED (a worthy successor to Bosch) and Bernadette Graf AUT that will pose the real threat. Polling in particular appears to have the force with her at present and seems unstoppable. Her team mate Linda Bolder will also be looking for a place on the podium as will Germany’s Laura Vargas-Koch. The Paris Grand Slam was the first “major face-off” and it was Polling who triumphed in devastating fashion. The same wave saw Polling capture the Dusseldorf Grand Prix, the European Championships and the World Masters titles. Bosch has retired and Decosse seems set to join her. But the remaining group know that there will be room for only four on the podium and one place looks pretty well taken.

By Sheldon Franco-Rooks

__pictures__

Events


News

Road to Rio: Ugo Legrand, Flight: FR2014 – BR2016

04/01/2014 | 07:06 am | in
Road to Rio: Ugo Legrand, Flight: FR2014 – BR2016Ugo Legrand started judo at age of four in his father's dojo in Normandy at the club called, Grand Quevilly. When Ugo started judo, he had different motivation than 'just' gaining for the mega-event, "Since I was little, I wanted to be World... Read more

Road to Rio: Georgii Zantaraia, Flight: UKR2014 - BR2016

03/05/2014 | 11:05 am | in
Road to Rio: Georgii Zantaraia, Flight: UKR2014 - BR2016The 2011 European champion, Georgii Zantaraia started judo in Ukraine, in 1997. "My parents had to move out of Georgia because there was a war at the time and so they moved to Ukraine. I started judo there at my school. There wasn't any other... Read more

Road to Rio: Corina Caprioriu, Flight: RO2014 - BR2016

02/28/2014 | 01:04 pm | in
Road to Rio: Corina Caprioriu, Flight: RO2014 - BR2016Corina's sports career began with gymnastics at the age of five and just a bit more than a year later she swopped the somersaults for ippons. "At the time my brother was doing judo for four years and he told me to come along for a session. I loved... Read more

Europe wins unique Team Challenge against Asia

01/25/2014 | 04:02 pm | in
Europe wins unique Team Challenge against AsiaThe first successful shot was by Alesya Kuznetsova who defeated World Champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg. A good start for the European team. However it was World Champion Naohisa Takato who made the equalizer against Olympic Champion Arsen Galstyan.... Read more

Riner and Mammadov claim World titles

08/31/2013 | 11:35 pm | in
Riner and Mammadov claim World titlesWorld number one and World Judo Masters winner Elkhan MAMMADOV (AZE) arrived in Rio with the favourite tag and duly delivered as he dismissed the -100kg elite including a win in the final against Olympic bronze medallist Henk GROL (NED). Former... Read more

Day 5 full of surprises

08/30/2013 | 11:30 pm | in
Day 5 full of surprisesDay five proved to be a day of surprises as the top seeds fell and two judoka won their first senior world titles while one added a second to her impressive record. Europe claimed another seven medals making a total of 25, but no gold this time.... Read more

Lucie Decosse (FRA) retired after great career

08/30/2013 | 11:19 pm | in
Lucie Decosse (FRA) retired after great careerDecosse took an age to the leave the tatami after losing the bronze medal contest as the reality set in that she had graced the tatami for the last time in a career where she become a superstar in the sport. After leaving the competition tatami... Read more

Unique 8 medals for Europe: Gerbi and Pietri golden couple

08/29/2013 | 11:57 pm | in
Unique 8 medals for Europe: Gerbi and Pietri golden coupleWorld number one Yarden GERBI (ISR) and world number two CLARISSE AGBEGNENOU (FRA) were on an inevitable collision course from the outset as the two outstanding talents in the category this year. GERBI went ahead with a yuko from an o-goshi and... Read more

Five European medals at third day

08/28/2013 | 11:52 pm | in
Five European medals at third dayONO, the 2011 Junior world champion and Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist, was expected to be severely tested against the accomplished and hugely experienced Frenchman who won bronze at London 2012. That challenge failed to materialise as ONO... Read more

European Judo heroes inducted into IJF Hall of Fame

08/25/2013 | 11:27 pm | in
European Judo heroes inducted into IJF Hall of FameI a missing a very dear friend in this room and that is Anton Geesink. I took up judo because of him. After 1964 our careers mingled and we were good friends. I’m so pleased his family could be here. I thank you all for this wonderful award.”... Read more

German flagship Andy Toelzer retires after World Championships

08/12/2013 | 12:06 pm | in
German flagship Andy Toelzer retires after World Championships Andreas Toelzer, bronze medallist at the Olympic Games in London will retire after the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro in the end of this month. The 33-year old judoka from Mönchen Gladbach announced his retirement: “I hope for a medal... Read more

Europe leads IJF World Ranking with seven captains

07/30/2013 | 10:40 am | in
Europe leads IJF World Ranking with seven captains Europe has seven World Ranking leaders in advance of the World Championships judo in Rio de Janeiro. Seven is the same number of European Olympic Champions, but only one Olympic Champion in 2012 is still leading the World Ranking. Brazilian Sarah... Read more

Sochi hosts elite international judoka at first OTC

07/27/2013 | 10:33 am | in
Sochi hosts elite international judoka at first OTC Until the 31 st of July the elite in judo is preparing for the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro from 25-31 August. Sochi will host the Winter Olympic Athletes in 2014 but also hosted the Russian athletes in advance of their successful... Read more

Sindelfingen pleasant warm-up forthcoming major events

07/20/2013 | 09:27 pm | in
Sindelfingen pleasant warm-up forthcoming major events The fifth of five European Cups for Seniors is this weekend in Sindelfingen in Germany. Slovenia is leading the medal table after the first day of fighting. European Champion Rok Draksic preferred to prepare for the World Championships in Germany... Read more