Moscow receives the 2nd IJF Grand Slam of the year

IJF Article: Moscow is ready to receive world class judokas at the IJF Moscow Grand Slam, to be held next week-end (30-31 May) at the Druzhba sporthall. Preliminaries start at 10h and finals at 16h (local time).


The second Grand Slam of the year (the first one was in Paris, in February) will bring together 251 athletes from 35 countries representing all five continents. Prize money for the Grand Slam will be US $ 150.000 to be shared by the medalists. The event also is valid for the World Ranking List (300 points for 1st place, 180 for 2nd place, 120 for 3rd place).


One of the biggest name on the mat will be Min Ho Choi, crowned Olympic champion in Beijing 2008 in the -60kg (also world bronze 2007, Olympic bronze 2004 and world champion 2003), who will come back after some months recovering for the last hard season. The best judoka of 2008 will be accompanied by teammates such as Ki-Chun Wang, silver medalist in Beijing (-73kg) and world champion in Rio de Janeiro 2007.


Brazilian will show up with its top male team for the first time this season, with double Olympic Medalist (2000-04) and 2007 World Champion Tiago Camilo fighting in the -90kg division after winning bronze in Beijing 2008 and gold in Rio 2007 in the lower category (-81kg). His first Olympic medal was in Sydney 2000 among the -73kg. Leandro Guilheiro (bronze Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) will also fight his first IJF Grand Slam after his conquest in China last summer. Along with twice World Champion João Derly (2005-07), Guilheiro won the Pan-American Championships 2009. Another Brazilian star is Luciano Correa (world gold 2007, world bronze 2005).


France will present Olympic silver medalist, Benjamin Darbelet, trying to repeat the medal in the Paris Grand Slam 2009 (silver) but this time in a different category: -73kg instead of the usual -66kg. Gevrise Emane (-70kg, World Champion 2007, World Silver 2005) and Stephanie Possamai (-78kg, Olympic Bronze 2008, World Bronze 2007) will also be competing under the French colors.


Telma Monteiro (-57kg), who has impressed the judo world by having a successful adaptation period in the new division (she was -52k, with titles such as world silver 2007 and world bronze in 2005) will also compete in Moscow, leading the Portuguese team. Monteiro is the current European Champion and won the IJF Hamburg Grand Prix earlier this year.


Egyptian Hesham Mesbah (-90kg), Olympic bronze in Beijing 2008, Amar Benikhlef (ALG, -100kg), Olympic silver in 2008 in the lower category and Anys Chedli (TUN, + 100kg), who won the last IJF Tunis Grand Prix, are the most powerful representatives of the African continent, proofing that judo is a strong sport all over the world.


The Dutch, who come from a very good performance at the IJF Tunis Grand Prix, have strong names in their lineup for Moscow: Guillaume Elmont (world champion 2005, world bronze 2007) and Edith Bosch (Olympic bronze 2008 and silver 2004, world champion 2005, world bronze 2003) just to mention two of them.