Over 200 competitors from 42 nations are presently in Turkiye for the 2024 IBSA Judo Grand Prix Antalya. Over the weekend, the majority had undergone an eye classification to either renew their status or join the world’s premium VI judoka.

J1 Women In the absence of Nataliya Nikolaychyk (UKR), the -48kg category will be open for the rest of the crowd. Consequently, if 2023 world bronze medallist Ferdauza Ulanbekovna Ubarikova (KGZ) was to win, she would promptly overtake Nikolaychyk’s. Ecem Tasin Cavdar (TUR) will devour the same offer. Shi Yijle (CHN) is attending in Turkiye as the current IBSA world rank leader of the -57 kg category. Yet, in Heidelberg, she suffered a defeat against Uljon Amrieva (UZB) whom, with that win, led herself to a near qualifying position. Another good run in Antalya should put Amrieva into the Paris mix.

J1 Men Kapil Parmar (IND) had fallen short of a medal in Germany which adds to the reasons he’ll be seeking gold in Turkiye. With half the elite missing in the -90 kg category there is a significant opening for those who are narrowly outside of the Paralympic qualifying positions. This includes, Battugs Batkhuyag (MGL) for whom being in the final, for example, could be a literal Games changer.

J2 Women Akmaral Nauatbek (KAZ) is way ahead of all on the ranking list yet will join the show in Turkiye in the -48kg category. Meanwhile, for someone like Kokula (IND) every contest counts as she is currently sat on the edge of qualification, claiming the final spot for Paris, for now.

Tokyo Paralympic champion, Sevda (AZE), is returning to action this year with the aim of storming up the -57 kg ranking. Will she, though? Moving up from -57 kg, Brazil is spoiled for choice in the +70 kg category as both Rebeca Silva and Meg Emmerich are in qualifying position. Only Silva is attending in Antalya though, indicating a choice might have been made already.

J2 Men Uzbek duo Sherzod Namozov and Kemran Nurillaev are continuing their head-to-head, arriving in Turkiye with only 60 points between them. The pressure is high to say the least. Tokyo 2020 gold medallist, Vugar Shirinli (AZE) fancies a last-minute attempt to qualify for Paris too, which only adds to the density of this category.

More of the Uzbek gems are competing at -73 kg with two Paralympic champions, Uchkun Kuranbaev and Feruz Sayidov, in attendance. The latter is not in a qualifying position but a winning performance can change the line-up rapidly.

The draw is scheduled for Sunday 31st March at 6:30pm (CET) and can be viewed live online via IBSA Judo’s website. The tournament will run across two days and will be held at the Antalya Sport Hall. Best of luck to all participants!

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