Reigning Olympic champion Kayla Harrison of the United States and Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar will renew their rivalry in the women’s under 78 kilogram event at the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Masters in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The pair will be hoping to gain the upper hand as they approach the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with both Harrison and Aguiar currently boasting eight wins apiece from 16 meetings to date in the division.
However, the duo will need to negotiate a strong field to set up a potential final showdown, with the showpiece event reserved for the world’s elite judoka.
Only the top 16 ranked competitors in each category were invited to compete at the Lopez Mateo Sports Centre.
Held in the Americas for the first time, the event will showcase Olympic and world champions, along will athletes who have already secured Rio 2016 qualification and several judoka who are seeking to move into the qualification zone.
London 2012 silver medallist Gemma Gibbons will seek to fend off the challenge of her compatriot Natalie Powell to secure the sole British berth in the women’s under 78kg event at the Olympic Games.
The World Judo Masters will prove key to their prospects as the competition draws the qualification process to a close.
Each of the judoka present at the competition discovered their potential route to the gold medal ties in Guadalajara, following the draw taking place at the Fiesta Americana Hotel in the city.
“Dear friends, on behalf of the Mexican Judo Federation, I welcome you to the World Judo Masters 2016 in Guadalajara,” stated Manuel Larranga, Pan American Judo Confederation and Mexico Judo Federation President.
“I would like to thank the IJF for giving us the great honour of hosting this competition and I would also like to thank the Governor of Jalisco and the Ministry for all of their support.
“I wish you all the best of luck at the Masters and look forward to seeing you all again at Rio 2016.”
In the absence of reigning Olympic champion Teddy Riner, Japan’s Hisayoshi Harasawa will look to establish himself as the biggest threat to the Frenchman at Rio 2016 by triumphing in the men’s over 100kg competition.
Harasawa will have to wait for the final day of competition to showcase his abilities, with competition due to begin today before drawing to a close on Sunday (May 29).
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