Takanori Nagase is among those to watch out for Japan in Budapest ©Getty Images

Hungarian capital Budapest is set to host the crème de la crème of judo at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Judo World Masters, starting tomorrow.

Over 400 athletes from 59 countries are set to battle it out for at the Papp László Sports Arena with Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying points at stake.

Last year's tournament in Jerusalem saw Japan top the medals table with three gold medals.

The Asian giants are expected to do the same again, with Olympic champions like Takanori Nagase, Aaron Wolf, and Shori Hamada among others in the mix.

However, stalwarts like Hifumi Abe and brother Uta, will not be competing at the tournament.

Hungarian Judo Association general secretary András Nagy spoke glowingly of the Japanese delegation on the eve of the competition.

"An extremely strong field is expected, there will be three Japanese in one weight group," Nagy was quoted as saying by MTI.

"As in the World Cup, I hope for one medal and one point-scoring place from our 22 competitors, two medals is already very good, and three would be a fantastic performance."

"As we are in the final year of Olympic qualification, every result now counts 100 per cent in the world rankings and the Masters will be the second highest scoring event in the whole qualification after the World Championships next year."

Kosovan Tokyo 2020 champion Distria Krasniqi is the one to beat in the under-52kg class ©Getty Images
Kosovan Tokyo 2020 champion Distria Krasniqi is the one to beat in the under-52kg class ©Getty Images

For France, the Olympic hosts, world silver medallist and defending champion in the women's under-48kg kilograms category Shirine Boukli will be absent.

However, she will be replaced by Blandine Pont, who has won Grand Slam events in Tel Aviv, Paris and Antalya this year.

Kosovan Tokyo 2020 champion Distria Krasniqi is the one to beat in the under-52kg class.

Her transition since winning the Olympic gold in the under-48kg has been sensational and has bagged a podium spot at the Grand Slam events in Tiblisi and Pairs this year.

World and defending champion Christa Deguchi will be the one to beat in the under-57kg category.

Her Pan American counterpart and Rio 2016 champion Rafaela Silva will also be looking to get back to form.

Bronze medallist last year, the Georgian defending world champion Luka Maisuradze and Spaniard Francisco Garrigos are among the big names missing out.

Azerbaijan's Balabay Aghayev in the men’s under-60kg is among those to look out for along with compatriot and two-time European medallist Turan Bayramov in the under-74kg.

Defending champion Ilia Sulamanidze of Georgia will start as the favourite in the under-100kg competitions while Daniel Cargnin of Brazil looks comfortable after switching from under-66 to under-73kg and will be hoping to bag gold again.

The competition is scheduled to conclude on Sunday (August 6).