The Grand Slam of Ekaterinburg booked a record number of participants. With 358 athletes of 47 nations saw by far more athletes this year compared to 2018 and 2017. Only the Grand Slams in Moscow attracted more judoka in 2010 (488) and 2011 (458). We will have a look at the women in Russia after the draw. The women U70kg counts 33 athletes, that happened only 5 times more in the IJF Tour.
U48kg Paula Pareto is one of the favourites and separated from Irina Dolgova who seems to be in a tough pool. Last weeks winner Julia Figueroa is with Milica Nikolic.
Natalia Kuzyutina is clearly the favourite U52kg but will face the young Paris finalist Lkhagvasuren (MGL) in her first contest. Sarah Menezes is back U52kg after two Breazilian Olympic candidates are either retired or suspended.
The big clash is ofcourse between Canada’s candidates Jessica Klimkait and Christa Deguchi. They can only meet in the final or bronze bout. Klimkait may meet with Funakubo in the quarter, Deguchi is favourite to reach the semis but then Rafaela Silva seems to be the best candidate but she may fight Mezhetskaia who is in great form. Also last years’ winner Telma Monteiro is in that pool.
The category U63kg doesn’t have the top fighters in Russia so everything is possible. Both strong Russians Valkova and Davydova are on the same side of the fighting sheet.
A heayvy category in Ekaterinburg will be the women’s U70kg with 33 athletes. Interesting is a possible Dutch confrontation with Sanne van Dijke and Kim Polling, but they are far away from each-other. Polling will have to overcome Polleres, Van Dijke is in a pool with Willems, Teltsidou who beat Polling last week in Marrakech and Tanaka. The pool with Gahie, Matic, Zupancic and Timo is also tasty. Sally Conway though is our best candidate in her current form. She is opposed to World Junior Champion Alice Bellandi.
Mayra Aguiar won in Düsseldorf and is the candidate to win in Russia. But her pool is tough with Yeats-Brown and Takayama. Tcheumeo may fight Graf again on the other side.
Last year’s winner Ceric will fight strong Japanese Inamori in the first round in a pool of 16 heavyweight women. Dutch Tessie Savelkouls will now test her form against Santa Pakenyte which is an interesting first contest. Both Lithuanians Pakenyte and Jablonskyte are getting better each time.