At the Grand Prix of Portugal in Almada the men’s U100kg might be the highlight of the tournament with a catchy participants field. World ranked number one Ilia Sulamanidze of Georgia will make his appearance.
One of his rivals will be Simeon Catharina of the netherlands who is in shape. Former Cuban World Champion Asley Gonzalez of Romania is seeded fourth in Portugal and might have a chance for a medal but the fireworks is expected from Lukas Krpalek. The Czech just decided to switch from the heavyweight to the U100kg weight class. The home crowd will watch how the double Olympic Champion of 2016 and 2021 will try to gain his first qualification points for the Olympic Games in 2024 in France. All eyes on Krpalek who just loves to compete in his former weight category where he won the junior world title, Senior World title and Olympic title. Ilia Sulamanidze will have a look how to bite in this tall Krpalek or bite his teeth off.
Sulamanidze will have a tough task ahead of him to try and outdo his rivals. He will be looking to prove that he is still the number one seed in this division and that his skillset is still at the top of the game.
Catharina is another aspect of the U100kg division that fans should look out for. The Dutch judoka has been on the rise lately and is sure to be in the medal hunt.
Overall, the U100kg weight division at the Grand Prix in Portugal is sure to be an exciting event. All eyes will be on the top seed, Ilia Sulamanidze, and his rivals, Simeon Catharina, Asley Gonzalez, and the return of the double Olympic Champion, Lukas Krpalek. It's sure to be a great event and one that fans should not miss without the presence of Portugal’s sensational double World Champion Jorge Fonseca.
World #1 SULAMANIDZE
Georgian judoka Ilia Sulamanidze claimed gold at the IJF Masters in Jerusalem in 2022. He captured the Junior world title in 2021 in Olbia after he claimed the gold at the Junior Worlds in Marrakech.. As a youngster he took silver at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 in Buenos Aires. He captured the Junior European title in 2019 and 2020 and European U23 title in 2021 and 2022. He took the Junior European title in 2020. He bagged silver at the Grand Slam in Tbilisi in 2021. He took bronze at the 2021 World Championships. Ilia is a gifted piano player, let’s see how he plays his opponents at the season start.
This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com