July 19 - Moscow is preparing to host the final World Judo Tour event this weekend before next month's World Championships in Rio de Janeiro as athletes make the most of their last chance to rack up ranking points and ensure their selection for the showpiece event.
A strong field has made its way to the Russian capital for the Moscow Grand Slam, and with vital points on offer that could push athletes into the top eight positions in the world rankings which guarantee seeding for the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Championships, the Moscow event is sure to be fiercely contested.
The draw for the event took place earlier today, with more than 300 judoka from 40 nations learning their opponents.
"Dear guests, on behalf of Mr Vasily Anisimov, Russian Judo Federation President, I would like to invite you to Moscow," Russian Judo Federation vice-president and executive director Valentin Khabirov said as he welcomed athletes and officials at the draw.
"I appreciate and thank you for being here.
"With the help of you all I think we will see a special event and may the strongest win."
Women's +48kg world number one, Olympic champion and Moscow Grand Slam holder Sarah Menezes of Brazil will be hoping to make her mark before her home World Championships by retaining her title from last year, while women's -63kg world number two Yarden Gerbi of Israel looks to take advantage in the absence of Frenchwoman Clarisse Agbegnenou, and could haul her from the number one spot with a strong performance.
In the men's -60kg, Georgian world number two Amiran Papinashvili will also be looking to take the initiative in the absence of world number one Naohisa Takato of Japan, while home favourite and European silver medallist Kamal Khan-Magomedov has the chance to improve on his bronze medal from last year in the men's -66kg.
IJF head refereeing director Juan Carlos Barcos clarified the rules for the rules for the tournament.
"This is the last senior IJF competition before the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro," he said following the draw.
"We will evaluate the latest IJF rules [which have been under trial since the Paris Grand Slam in February] at the IJF Congress in Brazil and the referees present in Moscow will also be at the World Championships.
"I would like to clarify one rule to ensure everyone understands and this concerns fighting on the edge of area.
"As along as the scoring attempt, an attack of any nature – such as tachi-waza or osaekomi-waza – starts inside the area then judoka can follow through and complete the technique outside the area."
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