The upcoming weekend will truly be the final act en route to the Paralympics. Over 200 judoka from 48 countries are presently in Georgia for their last chances. As per protocols, the eye classifications are underway. Having 13 IBSA world ranking leaders attending certainly adds to the value of the event, however it also could also mean that their tickets to Paris are signed, sealed and delivered, in many cases. Therefore, Tbilisi will really be about those who are on the border of qualification.

J1 Men There will be a real battle between Junaedi (INA) and Abdelkader Bouamer (ALG) in the -60kg category as the latter is hanging just outside the currently qualified athletes while the Indonesian judoka has, for now, secured the last spot. A gold from Bouamer is a must to keep his Paris hopes alive. It’s aimilar for Valerio Romano Teodori (ITA) and Bauyrzhan Arstanbekov (KAZ) in the -90kg category and with the latter being absent from the entry list, Teodori has one job to focus on, to make it to the final.

J2 Men Ukraine’s Rufat Mahomedov is 103 points away from fetching the last spot from Sergio Ibanez Banon (ESP) in the -73kg category. Meanwhile Daniel Rafael Goral (GER) is 102 points away from his dreams in the -90kg category. A note worth making: a bronze medal is worth 120 points.

J1 Women Germany’s hopes are likely to increase in the -48kg category yet Anna Tabea Muller will need to make her way to the final to keep her Paris chances realistic. The same applies to Uljon Amrieva(UZB) and Maria Manzanero Ruiz (ESP), both in the -57kg category, though the Spaniard judoka would require winning the event. There are a handful of judoka in the same boat in the -70kg category too.

J2 Women Turkiye’s Cahide Eke (TUR) will seek to steal the final place from Kokila (IND) in the -48kg category while both Ramona Brussig  (GER) and Kudo Hiroko (JPN) will be looking to do just that with Wang Jianan (CHN) in the weight division above. Kirsten Taylor (GBR/+70kg), likewise, has ‘must medal’ on her to-do list over the weekend to be eligible to join the Paris crew as the only British female Paralympic judoka.

The French Team The host team of the Summer Games are bringing their A-team to Tbilisi including a winner of multiple IBSA world titles Helios Latchoumanaya (J2/-90kg). While their tickets or rather taxi rides are secured for the Paralympics, the trouble for them, arriving in Georgia, is the potential upset they can cause for the rest of those mentioned above.

The Tbilisi Olympic Palace is about to create some sweet and sorrowful memories for the IBSA squad. Nevertheless, we will be guaranteed top class judo from all attendees. Let the final show begin. Hajime!

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