27 August 2009

Preview Women's U63kg: European faces on the podium likely

Preview Women's U63kg: European faces on the podium likely

Only one of the medal winners from the previous World Championships in Cairo as well as the Olympic Games 2008 will be present at the 2009 World Championships, paving the way for some new faces to be seen on the podium here.

Urska Zolnir (SLO), will be the one to beat. It seems like she has been around forever, but she just made it into world class at a very young age. The now 27-year-old has won 26 medals (10 gold, 8 silver, 8 bronze) in major events, as well as all three medals in European championships but still strives for the big title. So far she stands at one bronze medal in Olympic Games (2004) and one bronze in World Championships (2005).

Claudia Malzahn (GER) is another one with many good results but no medal in world championships so far. She won the Grand Slam in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year, defeating Gévrise Emane (FRA) in the final match.

Vera Koval (RUS) comes to Rotterdam as the runner up in the 2009 European Championships in Tbilisi and bronze medalist at the Tournoi de Paris, having won over Elisabeth Willeboordse (NED) twice this year already.

Gévrise Emane (FRA) will fight her first world championships in this category, entering the competition as the reigning World Champion in the U70kg category in which she has also won silver in 2005.

Neither Driulis Gonzalez (CUB), three-times World Champion and Olympic Champion nor Ayumi Tanimoto (JPN), two-times Olympic Champion (2004 and 2008) will be competing. Lucie Decosse (FRA) has changed weight category (U70kg now), so Elisabeth Willeboordse seem to be one of the clear favourites. With eight gold medals in World Cups, Grand Prix and Grand Slams and none in World Championships she will definitely want to fill this gap and hope to improve her result.

Yoshie Ueno (JPN) will be one to watch, as success seems to run in the family: her 4-year older sister Masae has won two titles each in Olympic Games as well as world championships.

This class is well divided in the bracket sheets, with no tense first matches, even though it’s a tough category. The second part of the sheet, however, does contain Zolnir, Emane, Willeboordse and Schlesinger, which will result in an interesting European battle for a place in the final. On the other side Ueno, Malzahn, Koval seem to have an easier path to the final in a field of 30 judoka.