Recent news stated that the current world champion and world ranked number one, Davlat BOBONOV (UZB) will not be competing in Doha due to injury, which is good news for the rest of the category with arguably the strongest of the pack shifting the seeding and changing up the game for the -90kg category.
Instead, now as the number one seed we see IJF Masters winner MURAO Sanshiro (JPN) top of the pile. The 22 year old is yet to achieve senior world status, and with the opponents in this category, he will certainly have his work cut out for him. On the other side of the draw and a potential finalist is Luka MAISURADZE (GEO), the current European champion more recently had a tough head to head with team mate, Olympic champion Lasha BEKAURI – who is also in the top eight – during the Tbilisi Grand Slam final with the latter coming out on top.
Both Maisuradze and Bekauri ended up on the world podium in 2022, collecting bronze medals, the pair will be on opposite sides of the draw and what would be an ideal situation for the team would be an all-Georgian final. Bekauri can already boast world titles at cadet and junior level, so this would complete his collection, as he already managed it in continental championships. A world win here would mean that he joins his -73kg compatriot, Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI in the history books of Georgia with a European, world and Olympic title.
As per usual, this category is littered with former world champions and medallists including Noel VAN T END (NED) who is on a roll collecting grand slam gold medals at the moment and the 2017 champion Nemanja MAJDOV (SRB) who we can always rely on for a ballistic performance.
Aside from Bobonov, another Olympic medallist has pulled out, silver winner Eduard TRIPPEL (GER) has stated he won’t be travelling to Doha. Further down the entry, we have the IJF Masters surprise Alexis MATHIEU (FRA) and of course recent addition to the entry, Mikhail IGOLNIKOV under the neutral flag who took gold in Ulaanbaatar, many will be eager to see this excellent technician on the tatami.
Author: Thea Cowen