Men's 100kg and +100kg and Women's +78kg Division World Championships Preview
(Rotterdam, Netherlands) - Competition will conclude at the Senior World Championships on Sunday in Rotterdam with the men's 100kg and +100kg and women's +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.
Three-time World Team member Djamaldin Aliev (Greenwood Village, Colo. / USA Judo National Training Site at the Olympic Training Center / Boulder Judo Training Center) competed as a 100kg player in 2005 and in the open weight division in 2007.
Aliev has an opening round match against Elmar Gasimov (AZE) with the winner facing former World and Olympic medalist Ariel Zeevi (ISR). Aliev would then need to defeat 2007 World medalist Oreidis Despaigne (CUB) to advance to the finals. Takamasa Anai (JPN), the 2009 Hamburg Grand Prix and Paris Grand Slam Champion, is in the top of this pool and will be looking for his first World or Olympic medal.
The reigning World Champion, Luciano Correa (BRA), was the #1 ranked player in the world in August and is one of Brazil's best shots at winning their first medal of the Worlds on Sunday.
Also watch for a first-round match between 2007 World silver medalist Peter Cousins (GBR) and bronze medalist Daniel Hadfi (HUN). Hometown favorite Henk Grol (NED) is a 2008 Olympic medalist who is in the same pool as Cousins and Hadfi who Grol defeated earlier this season at the European Championships.
Don't count out a run by Belgium's newest team member either. Former Dutch player Elco van der Geest, recently obtained his Belgian citizenship and is expected to be in the hunt for his first World medal.
A ninth-place finisher at the Beijing Olympic Games, Daniel McCormick (Wakefield, Mass. / NYAC / USA Judo National Team FORCE) will be competing on his first Senior World Championship Team and will fight against 2006 Junior World silver medalist Stanislav Bondarenko (UKR). The winner is expected to face Martin Padar (EST), the reigning European Champion and 19-time World Cup medalist.
Teddy Riner (FRA) also is in McCormick's pool. Riner won the 2007 Senior Worlds as an 18-year-old and placed third in Beijing. Among Riner's wins this season was a gold medal at the Paris Grand Slam in February where he defeated three-time World Champion Alexandr Mikhailine (RUS), the current #1 player in the world who Riner has gone 3-0 against during the last two seasons. Mikhaylin has a first-round bye, but then could meet Yasuyuki Muneta (JPN), the two-time World Champion who is looking to regain the heavyweight crown he last held in 2003.
Nina Cutro-Kelly (San Antonio, Texas / Universal Judo) moved up from 78kg where she held the #1 U.S. ranking in the division up to heavyweight earlier this year where she won her first Senior National title in an Olympic weight division.
Cutro-Kelly will face Lucija Polavder (SLO), the 2007 World silver medalist and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, in the first round.
Although Polavder is the #1-ranked player in the division, the title of "favorite" goes to Wen Tong (CHN) who has not been known to lose a match since the 2001 World Championships, counting four World titles and a 2008 Olympic medal among her accolades.
Two Beijing Olympic medalists, Maki Tsukada (JPN) and IdalisOrtiz (CUB), will be among the favorites to return to the podium.