By Nick Butler

cadet champs logoAugust 7 - More than 500 of the world's most promising teenage judoka from 80 different countries have descended on Miami for the 2013 Cadet World Championships for what will undoubtedly be the most important competition of their budding careers so far.

The four-day event is the first of its kind since 2011 and will consist of 16 different events for boys and girls at the Doral Legends Ballroom, with a total prize fund of $50,000 (£32,000/€37,000) to be shared among the medalists.

The event is an important stepping stone for under-17 athletes and and offers a glimpse of possible future stardom, with the list of previous winners, including Japan's Naohisa Takato in 2009, who has since won the 2011 Junior world title and will be hoping for the same result in his first senior World Championships later this month in Rio de Janeiro.

It is also a qualifying tournament for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games to be held in Nanjing.

world cadet judoThe Doral Legends Ballroom in Miami will host the 2013 World Cadet Judo Championships 

It is notable that the favourites for each event come from a huge variety of different countries and competition is set to be fiercest in this most unpredictable of sports.

In the male disciplines the Russian team looks particularly strong, with 2011 under 66kg winner Mikhail Igolnikov back to contest a second title in the heavier 81kg division along with two reigning European cadet champions in Ruslan Godizov in the 73kg category and Karlen Palian 90kg.

Other contenders include two Brazilians in four-time European Cadet Cup winner in the heavyweight division Hugo Praxedez, and former Pan-American champion Kainan Pires, who will compete in the lightest 50kg event against rivals including 15-year old prodigy Brian Abreu who will be fighting in his home-town of Miami.

In the girls events, 2011 silver medalist Enda Mako will lead the Japanese challenge in the 70kg division while France should also figure strongly courtesy of Eloise Combeau in the 48kg category and Astride Gneto in the 52kg.

Her elder sister, Priscella, won bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Also among the favourites will by Azerbaijan's 40kg sensation Leyla Aliyeva who won the European Cadet title earlier this year, despite being only 15.

eyla AliyevaLeyla Aliyeva (left) will be a contender in the under 40kg division

USA Judo chief executive Jose Humberto Rodriguez is excited ahead of proceedings getting under way.

"We have received great interest and we have worked hard for many months," he said.

"We hope to make this the best Cadet World Championships event."

Vladimir Barta, head sports director of the International Judo Federation (IJF) expressed similar "delight to be here in sunny Miami," before adding that he "wishes all teams and competitors a nice competition" and is "sure USA Judo will stage another first class competition."

Competition is due to underway tomorrow with four categories to be held each day up to the events' conclusion on Sunday (August 11).

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