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At the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam World champion Saeid Mollaei will wear his red backpatch for first time and will start his competition in the second round against Jack Hatton (USA) on Sunday. In a field of 36 athletes fighting U81kg Mollaei is also in the pool with Tamazi Kirakozashvili (GEO) but should normally survive his pool.
World number one Mollaei won all five of his contests in Baku in a mercurial display and will be the man to beat in Abu Dhabi.
In pool B promising Belgian Matthias Casse is first ranked and might face his team mate Sami Chouchi who did so well at the European Championships taking the silver.
Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Frank De Wit (NED) in pool C will be fancied for honours while Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Nyamsuren Dagvasuren (MGL) will be a leading threat for Mongolia. European Championships bronze medallist Aslan Lappinagov (RUS) is in Pool D which includes Sagi Muki of Israel. Last year Saei Mollaei won the bronze, this time he will try to aim gold. A match against Israel’s Sagi Muki in friendship would be the ultimate final for World Judo Day. Abu Dhabi will take over the sporting world landscape this weekend where the sport will also be celebrating World Judo Day and the theme of Friendship on Sunday 28 October, the second day of this Grand Slam.
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