Men's 90kg and Women's 70kg and 78kg Division Preview
(Rotterdam, Netherlands) - Competition will continue at the Senior World Championships on Saturday in Rotterdam with the men's 90kg and women's 70kg and 78kg divisions.
Below is a preview of each of the divisions. Competition begins with preliminary rounds at 9:30 a.m. local time and finals at 2 p.m.
A three-time World Team member, Aaron Cohen (Buffalo Grove, Ill. / NYAC / Cohen's Judo) has won medals at five Pan American Championships as an 81kg player, but has been eluded by the World medal stand. Cohen moved up from 81kg to 90kg earlier this year and this will be his first major international event in the new division.
Cohen will face Bogdan Barbulescu (ROU) in the first round with the winner advancing to a second round match against Takashi Ono (JPN), a 2005 World medalist and the current #3-ranked player in the world. Also in Cohen's pool is Ilias Iliadis (GRE) who won Olympic gold as a 17-year-old in 2004 and has since been a two-time World silver medalist.
Two of the Olympic medalists from Beijing are in the division as well and will be in the same pool in Rotterdam. Silver medalist Amar Benikhlef (ALG) and bronze medalist Hisham Mesbah (EGY) could meet in the quarter-finals, but Benikkhlef would first have to get past a possible third-round match against top-ranked Andrei Kazusionak (BLR).
The 2007 World Champion and a 2008 Olympic medalist in the 81kg division, Tiago Camillo (BRA) has since moved up to 90kg and has medalled three times on the World Tour this year.
Competing in her first World Championships, Katie Sell (Colorado Springs, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) will fight against eight-time World Cup medalist Mina Watanabe (JPN). Also in Sell's pool is 2005 World medalist Rasa Sraka (SLO).
A first-time World Team member, Matanabe is likely to make a podium run, but Lucie Decosse (FRA) is the division favorite. The 2005 World Champion, Decosse won the silver medal at the Beijing Games as a 70kg player, but moved up to 70kg last year and has moved into the #1 World Ranking without dropping a match in major competition.
On the opposite side of the draw, 2005 World Champion Edith Bosch (NED) won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, but will look to become the first Dutch player to win gold this week.
The reigning Junior World Champion, Kayla Harrison (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) is competing on her first Senior World Team after moving up from 63kg in 2008. Nineteen-year-old Harrison is still new to the international senior level, but she won a bronze medal at the Belo Horizonte World Cup in July.
Harrison has a first-round match against three-time World Cup medalist Samantha Lowe (GBR) with the winner fighting 12-time World Cup medalist Amy Cotton (CAN). Harrison and Cotton have fought three times with Cotton winning each, but the matches have always been close.
The match to watch in the division will come down to a first-round meeting between two-time World silver medalist Sae Nakazawa (JPN) and Celine Lebrun (FRA). Lebrun, a three-time World bronze medalist won the open division of the 2003 World Championships, but has yet to win a title in an Olympic weight division. The 33-year-old fought Nakazawa at the Hamburg Grand Prix earlier this year with Lebrun taking the win.
Also watch for 21-year-old Kaleima Antomarchi (CUB). The successor to two-time World Champion Yurisel Laborde, Antomarchi is the 2009 Pan American Champion and could serve as a spoiler for the podium.