The last time we were in Budapest with the IJF tour, was during the 2021 World Championships and the calibre certainly seems to match up though we are missing a few notable names.
For most of the top seeds, they have managed to escape some assumed rivalry in their opening contests, but as we all know, anything can happen in judo and we love an underdog so we shan’t assume too much!
In the -73kg category, two Olympic champions could potentially be meeting in their quarter; Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) and Fabio BASILE (ITA). The -81kg see’s Saeid MOLLAEI competing for Azerbaijan for the first time, and providing he wins his first contest, he may face Sagi MUKI (ISR) of whom he has plenty of history with, off the tatami, which would make for a wonderful match up. Both have taken world champion titles, Mollaei in 2018 and Muki in 2019.
Whoever comes out of that has the chance of meeting Sami CHOUCHI (BEL), all within the same quarter! Like we said, the standard is high this weekend!
As for the women, the division of the top seeded looks good, aside from the -78kg category where an unfortunate seeding scenario will see Natalie POWELL and Emma REID, both of Great Britain battle it out very early on in the day.
If you’ve missed the draw, all can be found on the IJF Live website, click here to see the head-to-heads over the coming three days. It is now less than 24 hours to go until the start of competition.
Author: Thea Cowen