Part 3 of our Complete Guide to #JudoWorlds2018 covers Teams L-R and 31 countries!

Latvia (LAT)

Davis DUDA -90kg

European University Championships bronze medallist DUDA, 21, enters his first World Championships in Baku. The Latvian Championships runner-up has been handed his first Worlds start as part of a three-man delegation. DUDA has been active on the IJF World Judo Tour this year with a seventh-place finish from the Düsseldorf Grand Slam being the pick of his results after he recorded three contest wins by ippon.

Instagram: @davisduda

Jevgenijs BORODAVKO -100kg

Four-time Grand Slam medallist BORODAVKO, 31, will be making his eighth appearance at the World Championships. The shrewd veteran tends to be wildly inconsistent but at times looks assured and authoritative on the tatami. BORODAVKO finished seventh at the Worlds in 2009 in Rotterdam and will believe that he can achieve a similar result this year having won bronze at the Budapest Grand Prix in August where he won five contests and only lost to Karl-Richard FREY (GER) in the semi-finals.

Raivis CAKSTINS +100kg

Heavyweight CAKSTINS, 29, makes his World Championships debut this year and will be an unfamiliar name to most of the +100kg entrants. The Latvian Championships silver medallist has never appeared on the IJF World Judo Tour and is as brave as he is optimistic to contest a category teeming with world-class heavyweights in Baku.

Lebanon (LBN)

Silva SUELLEN -63kg

Former Brazilian youth team member SUELLEN, 20, has been part of the Lebanon fold since 2018. Carioca SUELLEN made an impressive debut for her adopted nation by taking silver at the Junior Asian Championships in May with wins over Kazakh and Indian adversaries. Lebanon’s only female judoka in Baku also took silver at the Junior Pan American Cup in Lima in June and was eliminated in round one at the Asian Games in her last competition.

Steven AZAR -81kg

World Championships rookie AZAR, 21, made his IJF World Judo Tour in February and has signed on to face the world’s best judoka in Baku. The Mont Liban-based youngster introduced himself to the world at the Paris Grand Slam when he felt the full effect of LEE Seungsu (KOR) and his thunderous ippon-seoi-nage. AZAR registered a contest win for Lebanon at the Asian Games over Hadi HADI (IRQ) before suffering a narrow defeat to Sharofiddin BOLTABOEV (UZB) in round two.

Instagram: @stevenazar95

Nacif ELIAS -90kg

Former Brazilian international ELIAS, 29, has competed at four World Championships for Lebanon including an audacious participation at the Openweight event last year. Rio 2016 Olympian ELIAS, who lives in Vitória, Brazil, finished seventh at the Worlds in 2014 and would love to return to the latter stages of the IJF’s showcase event. ELIAS has won two Pan American Open events in 2018 and finished seventh at the Asian Games in August.

Instagram: @nacifelias

Libya (LBA)

Mohamedissa ENNAAS -90kg

ENNAAS, 21, has been a new participant on the IJF World Judo Tour this year and will be Libya’s only judoka at Baku 2018. The youngster joined the circuit in January at the Tunis Grand Prix and has gone on to feature at Grand Prix events in Agadir and Budapest as well as the African Championships. ENNAAS is winless in these events but will see this as a long-term process as he tries to be more competitive and eventually secure continental and international contest wins for himself and for his country.

Lithuania (LTU)

Sandra JABLONSKYTE +78kg

Four-time Grand Prix medallist JABLONSKYTE, 26, will become a five-time World Championships participant in Baku. The 2014 Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist has dramatically improved her consistency over the last year and is now a credible contender at every competition. JABLONSKYTE has won bronze at the Tbilisi Grand Prix this year and finished seventh at Grand Prix events in Agadir and Tunis to keep her number of points on the World Ranking List ticking over.

Instagram: @karaliussandra

Rokas NENARTAVICIUS -90kg

Former Cadet European Championships silver medallist NENARTAVICIUS, 22, joins the World Championships roster for the first time this year. NENARTAVICIUS, who lives in Chiba, Japan, and practices at the International Budo University, took silver at the Taipei Asian Open in July to earn a call-up for the Worlds where he will undoubtedly favour his uchi-mata against unsuspecting opponents

Instagram: @r.nenartavicius

Karolis BAUZA -100kg

London 2012 Olympian BAUZA, 31, finished seventh at the 2013 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro and his biggest asset is his vast level of top-level experience. The two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist won his solitary Grand Slam medal (bronze) at the 2010 Moscow Grand Slam and has twice won bronze at the European Championships (2009 and 2013). BAUZA won bronze at the Prague European Open in March and will be looking to roll back the years in Baku.

Instagram: @karis.bauza

Luxembourg (LUX)

Tom SCHMIT -66kg

African Open bronze medallist SCHMIT, 26, returns to the World Championships for the first time since 2015. On the second day in Astana he lost his opening contest to Jeroen MOOREN (NED) by ippon. SCHMIT won the 17th Games of the Small States last year in San Marino and now he is intent on closing the gap between him and the stars of the IJF World Judo Tour.

Instagram: @tompovic

Claudio NUNES DOS SANTOS -73kg

NUNES DOS SANTOS, 19, who came through the Portuguese youth system, started to represent Luxembourg on the international stage last year. The ura-nage merchant has experience of one competition on the IJF World Judo Tour having launched his elite career in Paris this year where Tommy MACIAS (SWE) abruptly ended his French trip with a hiza-guruma. NUNES DOS SANTOS has fought at five Junior European Cup events and one senior equivalent since where he’s mustered up a handful of contest wins.

Bilgee BAYANAA -81kg

African Open bronze medallist BAYANAA, 22, will embark on the first World Championships of his career in Azerbaijan. The world number 223 has made three appearances on the IJF World Judo Tour with experience of the Paris Grand Slam in 2016 and 2017 in addition to the last edition of the Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix in 2016. Most recently BAYANAA fell in the opening round at the Saarbrucken European Cup against Baptiste PIERRE (FRA) by ippon.

Madagascar (MAD)

Brenda ANDRIATIANA -57kg

One-time World Championships competitor ANDRIATIANA, 26, has not medalled at any high-profile events but has placed at numerous editions of the African Championships. ANDRIATIANA, who finished fifth at the Junior World Championships in 2011, has finished fifth and seventh at the African Championships on two occasions which is the competition that is crucial to her Tokyo 2020 Olympic dream.

Instagram: @brendavalerie57

Damiella NOMENJANAHARY -63kg

NOMENJANAHARY, 21, made her World Championships debut a year ago in a losing effort against Leilani AKIYAMA (USA) who held down the East African judoka with a ushiro-kesa-gatame for ippon. The youngster finished fifth at the African Championships last year with a record of 2:2 and will be the last of her country’s three judoka to compete in Baku.

Abdou NAZIR BIN -60kg

Two-time African Championships competitor NAZIR BIN, 28, starts his first World Championships in Baku. NAZIR BIN has minimal experience outside of Madagascar and that is illustrated his tally of three points on the IJF World Ranking List which puts him at number 342 in the world. As the only male member in his team, the Worlds novice will be concerned with putting up a struggle and making things competitive when he sees action on day one.

Malawi (MAW)

Harriet BONFANCE -48kg

BONFANCE, 25, only has experience of one international competition. The Malawi fighter fought at the 2014 World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, where Abigail CHINDELE (ZAM) sent over the debutant with a textbook uchi-mata for ippon. BONFANCE is the only female member of her country’s four-strong team and will be in action on day one.

Emmanuel NDAWU -60kg

NDAWU, 25, is restored to Malawi’s World Championships team this year after featuring in 2015. The -60kg judoka was second best in Astana against Arif BAGIROV (BLR) as he was overpowered on the ground by his European opponent and lost out by osaekomi-waza. NDAWU, who represented his nation at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has not fought internationally since 2015.

Chikondi Samuel KATHEWERA -60kg

World Championships newcomer KATHEWERA, 21, will don his judogi for Malawi for the first time outside of his homeland. KATHEWERA, who is a member of Kamuzu Institute Judo Club, is a complete unknown and that will be his greatest strength when he competes on day one in Baku. The koshi-waza proponent will need the support and encouragement of his more experienced teammates to help him to keep his composure to avoid being overawed by the occasion.

Dylesi WYSON -66kg

Freshman WYSON, 18, will be the fourth and final member of his team to compete in Baku. WYSON is still a junior and has not fought outside of Malawi but has been included in a young and green squad who will see their flag alongside the sport’s powerhouse nations which should be enough incentive to put forward their best showing in Azerbaijan.

Malta (MLT)

Jeremy SAYWELL -66kg

Two-time World Championships competitor SAYWELL, 25, has registered to compete in Baku where he will single-handily fly the flag for Malta. While his country is at the forefront of the IJF Academy’s wide-ranging and highly-successful work, SAYWELL has only made a handful of international trips on IJF duty but has won medals for his country at lower levels. The former Commonwealth Championships bronze medallist won his first World Championships contest in 2011 in Paris against Albert TECHOV (LTU) and will be striving for a repeat in Azerbaijan.

Mexico (MEX)

Former British junior team member AWITI ALCARAZ, 22, of Enfield Judo Club in London joined the Mexican team last year. Welsh Open gold medallist AWITI ALCARAZ finished seventh at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February and fifth at the Pan American Championships in April to collect valuable points towards her aim of qualifying for Tokyo 2020. The seoi-otoshi enthusiast will be Mexico’s only judoka at Baku 2018 and will be making her Worlds debut.

Instagram: @priscaalcaraz

Moldova (MDA)

Dorin MIHU -60kg

MIHU, 21, joins the World Championships for the first time in his burgeoning career. MIHU, who is based in Chisinau, Moldova, fought at the Orenburg European Cup in May where he fell to Alin ALBU (ROU) by a waza-ari score. The lightest member of the seven-strong all-male team fights on day one and will be tasked with the toughest day of his career in Baku.

Instagram: @dorin.mihu

Denis VIERU -66kg

World number 16 VIERU, 22, has bolstered his team’s capabilities on the senior stage since 2016 and is an underrated member of the -66kg division. VIERU opened his IJF honours list in April with a silver medal at the Antalya Grand Prix and added a bronze medal at the Budapest Grand Prix in August. The Moldovan young gun has beaten Mongolian star DOVDON Altansukh on numerous occasions and also holds wins over two-time Grand Prix winner Lukhumi CHKHVIMIANI (GEO) and World Judo Masters bronze medallist Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR).

Vadim BUNESCU -66kg

Former Junior European Cup bronze medallist BUNESCU, 23, moves up to the World Championships in Baku after fighting at the junior version of the event in 2013 and 2015. BUNESCU finished seventh at the Minsk European Open in August with a 3:2 record providing a career-best result ahead of his Worlds initiation. The Moldovan defeated two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Daniel JEAN (FRA) at the European Championships this year by a waza-ari score from an osoto-gaeshi.

Iulian PEATICOVSCHI -73kg

PEATICOVSCHI, 25, has showed some promise in his first full year on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Slobozia-Chişcăreni, Bălţi-based judoka won two contests at the European Championships in April by ippon and lost one by the same scoreline and produced a solid display on his IJF debut at the Zagreb Grand Prix in July. The Moldovan defeated London 2012 Olympian Emmanuel NARTEY (GHA) by ippon with a sumi-otoshi and scored a waza-ari against Mohamed MOHYELDIN (EGY) with a ippon-seoi-nage before being caught with the exact same techniques by the Egyptian for a waza-ari score on each occasion.

Instagram: @iulian_peaticovschi

Dorin GOTONOAGA -81kg

Belgrade European Cup gold medallist GOTONOAGA, 23, is a two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist and won gold last year at the u23 European Championships. GOTONOAGA, who has particular success with his koshi-waza (hip techniques), made his first start at the Worlds a year ago where he held down Ilker GULDUREN (TUR) with a tate-shiho-gatame hold. The world number 42 won bronze the Düsseldorf Grand Prix last year and won the same colour medal at the Antalya Grand Prix in April.

Instagram: @doringoto81

Nicon ZABOROSCIUC -81kg

Former Junior European Championships silver medallist ZABOROSCIUC, 23, will be engaged in his third World Championships in Baku. ZABOROSCIUC lost his opening contest in 2015 but fared a lot better last year as he won his first and second contest in Budapest. The Moldovan defeated Sadr BOEV (TJK) by ippon with an uchi-mata in just nine seconds and then thwarted Oussama HADJAM (QAT) after scoring with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi and an ouchi-gari for a waza-ari each time. Olympic champion Khasan KHALMURZAEV (RUS) ended his spirited run by a waza-ari score with a sumi-otoshi.

Instagram: @nicon_zaborosciuc

Valeriu DUMINICA -90kg

Rio 2016 Olympian DUMINICA, 31, completes the Moldovan team. Former Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist DUMINICA will be the last member of his team to compete in Baku when he takes to the tatami on day six. The daring veteran, who finished seventh at the 2015 World Championships, has not fought since the Olympics and has selected the toughest stage possible to make his comeback.

Instagram: @valeriuduminica

Monaco (MON)

Yann SICCARDI -60kg

Two-time Olympian SICCARDI, 32, is also a five-time World Championships participant. SICCARDI has travelled the world and lived out his dreams competing for Monaco on the biggest stages in the Olympic sport but, even at this advanced stage of his career, still retains hope of winning a first IJF World Judo Tour medal. This desire is what drives him to keep fighting and the crafty veteran will not be underestimated by his -60kg peers in Baku.

Cedric BESSI -73kg

Two-time World Championships fighter BESSI, 27, is ranked number 238 in the world. Medals may not be innumerable on his record but BESSI possesses enough talent to trouble judoka whose reputations far exceed his own. The Monaco man has conquered Alex William POMBO SILVA (BRA) by ippon with an osoto-gari and SUN Shuai (CHN) with a ko-uchi-gake to illustrate his ability and the compelling nature of the thriving sport where anyone can be beaten on any day.

Instagram: @cedricbessi

Mongolia (MLG)

MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg -48kg

Former world champion MUNKHBAT, 28, comes into the event as the world number one and will be aiming to repeat her 2013 win. Four-time Grand Slam gold medallist MUNKHBAT finished fifth at Rio 2016 and took silver a year ago at Budapest 2017 behind TONAKI Funa (JPN). The -48kg category will produce fireworks from the outset with a plethora of current Olympic and world medallists going toe-to-toe as early as the pool stage.

BISHRELT Khorloodoi -52kg

Former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist BISHRELT, 20, fought at the World Championships last year where she held down Diana DE JESUS (DOM) with a kami-shiho-gatame for ippon. BISHRELT was shot-shy in the next round as she was penalised three times against Alexandra-Larisa FLORIAN (ROU). The world number 41 has earned silver medals at the Warsaw European Open and Taipei Asian Open this year and comes in under the radar in Baku.

Instagram: @bishrelt_khorloodoi

GANBOLD Gantsetseg -52kg

GANBOLD, 22, is part of a new breed of judoka for Mongolia. The youngster is unproven on the IJF World Judo Tour but the Mongolian Judo Association are always quick to introduce new athletes and often put them in particularly early with a steep learning curve to test their credentials and see whether they can make it at the elite level. GANBOLD suffered first round defeats at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and Hohhot Grand Prix this year but improved to finish fifth at the Asian Games in August.

Instagram: @ganbold.gantsetseg.127

DORJSUREN Sumiya -57kg

World champion and world number one DORJSUREN, 27, is the favourite to defend her crown in Baku. Judo’s only four-time World Judo Masters gold medallist has placed at every competition since 2015 and is becoming more dominant. The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist took gold at the Taipei Asian Open in July either side of bronze medals at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and Asian Games. DORJSUREN is a big stage performer and will be the fighter to beat at -57kg.

Instagram: @sumiya_ojnoo

DORJSUREN was the hero for Mongolia in 2017

LKHAGVATOGOO Enkhriilen -57kg

Mongolia’s -57kg offering does not end with the defending world champion. The Asian nation has opted to double up in this weight class with LKHAGVATOGOO, 19, poised for her second World Championships. The teenager won her home Grand Prix in 2016 and took silver at the Junior Worlds last year. LKHAGVATOGOO won bronze at the 2018 Düsseldorf Grand Slam where former world champion UDAKA Nae (JPN) was one of her victims.

Instagram: @enhrilen.2020

BALDORJ Mungunchimeg -63kg

World bronze medallist BALDORJ, 24, was part of a hugely successful Budapest 2017 team for her country. The former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner shone last year at the premier event on the circuit as she went 5:1 with her only defeat coming against eventual world champion Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA). BALDORJ has not been on the podium since Budapest but has finished fifth at the World Judo Masters and seventh at the Paris Grand Slam and could rediscover her best judo in Baku.

Instagram: @baldorj_mungunchimeg

BOLD Gankhaich -63kg

Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist BOLD, 23, went 2:1 at the World Championships last year and returns in 2018 with an enhanced reputation. Former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix silver medallist BOLD broke onto the Grand Slam podium in Germany in February and won bronze this summer at the Hohhot Grand Prix, the first Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification event.

TSEND-AYUSH Naranjargal -70kg

Former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner TSEND-AYUSH, 26, will make her fourth appearance at a World Championships. The world number 46 has never reached the last eight at the most important event of the season and is capable of achieving that based on her results on the international circuit and the level of opposition who TSEND-AYUSH has bested. The Rio 2016 Olympian finished seventh at the Hohhot Grand Prix in May and won bronze at the Asian Games in August.

Instagram: @tsendayush1992

BATTULGA Munkhtuya +78kg

Heavyweight BATTULGA, 30, will be Mongolia’s last female judoka to compete from their nine-strong women’s team. World number 35 BATTULGA has won four Grand Prix medals including one gold back in 2013 at home in Ulaanbaatar. The three-time World Championships competitor, who will also feature in the mixed team competition on day eight in Baku, finished fifth at the Asian Games last time out.

Instagram: @munkhtuyabattulga

BAYARAA Amartuvshin -60kg

Powerhouse judo nation Mongolia often make bold selections and side with youth over solid veterans. BAYARAA, 21, benefits from his country’s willingness to experiment as he has been picked over two former world medallists to make his World Championships debut. The Hague Grand Prix bronze medallist will be thrust into the spotlight like never before when the judo-loving nation travels in numbers to Baku and could witness one of their new generation go all-out on day one.

Instagram: @maaraa.126

GANBOLD Kherlen -66kg

World Judo Masters gold medallist GANBOLD, 26, will be a contender on day two for Mongolia. The world number five has won 12 Grand Prix medals and arrives in Baku in a rich vein of form. GANBOLD, who currently leads the race for Tokyo 2020 in Mongolia at -66kg, won bronze at the Antalya Grand Prix and knows that can he can present a more compelling case of world glory if he can eliminate his tendency to pick up unnecessary penalties. The Mongolian has picked up penalties in 10 of his last 11 contests and how he fares in this area of his game could decide his fate in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @kherlen_ganbold

GANBAATAR Odbayar -73kg

World bronze medallist GANBAATAR, 29, is ranked fourth in the world after a blistering 12 months on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Rio 2016 Olympian left Baku as a gold medallist last year when he won the country’s Grand Slam and repeated that victory at the Abu Dhabi equivalent shortly after earning his first Worlds medal. GANBAATAR has finished fifth at his last four events but the margins are so fine in judo that the Mongolian could easily be back amongst the medals in Baku.

Instagram: @ganbaatar_odbayar

TSEND-OCHIR Tsogtbaatar -73kg

Rio 2016 Olympian TSEND-OCHIR, 22, is having a breakout year on the IJF World Judo Tour. TSEND-OCHIR was a surprise pick for the Olympic Games where he won two contests and lost one in the -60kg category. The Mongolian starlet returned to the circuit last summer at -73kg as he skipped the -66kg category entirely and now looks comfortable at the weight. TSEND-OCHIR won bronze at the Paris Grand Slam in February, gold at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam a month later and won bronze at the Hohhot Grand Prix in May.

Instagram: @tsendoochir73

OTGONBAATAR Uuganbaatar -81kg

World number five OTGONBAATAR, 30, finished fifth at the World Championships last year and will again be a contender for Mongolia. The Rio 2016 Olympian won the Tokyo Grand Slam in December and won bronze at the Asian Games in August to show that he can perform on the big stage. OTGONBAATAR will be seeded and will be prepared for a long and successful day in Baku.

GANTULGA Altanbagana -90kg

Six-time Grand Prix medallist GANTULGA, 23, finished seventh on his Worlds debut last year in Budapest. GANTULGA has since powered his way into the world’s top eight which means that he will be seeded this time around which will keep him away from his closest rivals in the early rounds. The Mongolian has won bronze medals at Grand Slam events in Düsseldorf and Ekaterinburg in 2018 along with silver at the Hohhot Grand Prix and the runner-up spot at the Asian Games.

Instagram: @gantulga_altanbagana

LKHAGVASUREN Otgonbaatar -100kg

Rio 2016 Olympian LKHAGVASUREN, 25, started a new chapter in his career after his first Olympics as he left behind the -90kg category to move up a weight in 2017. LKHAGVASUREN made his -100kg debut at the World Championships a year ago, in typically Mongolian style, and won one contest and lost one. The uchi-mata specialist finished fifth at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February, won bronze at the Antalya Grand Prix in April and the same medal at the Asian Games in August.

Instagram: @otgoo_champion

ULZIIBAYAR Duurenbayar +100kg

Former Junior World Championships gold medallist ULZIIBAYAR, 24, has matured into being a capable heavyweight for his country. ULZIIBAYAR won the junior crown in 2014 and initially struggled when he stepped up to the IJF World Judo Tour. The +100kg man has fought his way up the rankings and onto the medal podium at Grand Prix and Grand Slam events over the last couple of years and now finds himself with a seeded position for the Worlds. The Hohhot Grand Prix silver medallist also took silver at the Asian Games and will be intent on powering his way through the rounds on day seven in Baku.

Instagram: @duuree1199

NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar +100kg

Mongolian hero NAIDAN, 34, was crowned his country’s first Olympic champion in 2008 and the feat helped to ease the tensions in a country which was still experiencing civil unrest. NAIDAN took silver at the London 2012 Olympics to add to his legacy and went to his third Games in 2016. Many expected the -100kg great to call time on his career after Rio but instead NAIDAN moved up to the heavyweight category, turned up to the World Championships and won bronze. The story of Mongolia’s all-time great is still being written and he will be roared on in Baku by his many travelling supporters.

NAIDAN won the Hohhot Grand Prix in May

Montenegro (MNE)

Jovana PEKOVIC -70kg

Junior ace PEKOVIC, 20, returns to IJF duty for her second World Championships. The 2015 Cadet World Championships bronze medallist and 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival silver medallist is one of the most talked about judoka Montenegro has ever produced. PEKOVIC took part in her first Grand Prix this year in Antalya but had the misfortune of being drawn against Olympic bronze medallist Sally CONWAY (GBR). The sole female in Montenegro’s Worlds team picked up a contest win at Budapest 2017 as she held down Ayuk Otay ARREY SOPHINA (CMR) with a kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame.

Instagram: @pekovicjovana

Marko GUSIC -66kg

World number 110 GUSIC, 20, makes his World Championships debut in Baku. The Sarajevo Junior European Cup bronze medallist exceeded all expectations at the European Championships in April as he went 3:2. GUSIC only has experience of one IJF World Judo Tour event from the Antalya Grand Prix where world-class operator GANBOLD Kherlen (MGL) submitted the young judoka with a juji-gatame.

Jusuf NURKOVIC -66kg

World number 221 NURKOVIC, 21, is a multiple-time national champion. NURKOVIC won bronze at the 17th Games of the Small States in San Marino last year which is arguably the best result of his career. Results have not been there for the young judoka at the highest level but the Worlds newcomer has only featured at three Grand Prix and still has time to find his feet on the IJF World Judo Tour.

Nikola GARDASEVIC -73kg

Former Belgrade European Cup bronze medallist GARDASEVIC, 23, links up with his teammates for the Worlds showpiece for the second team in his career. Last year GARDASEVIC beat Khalil REBAHI (QAT) by ippon with a ko-soto-gake having led by a tani-otoshi before a narrow defeat to Tohar BUTBUL (ISR) by a waza-ari score from an ippon-seoi-nage. The world number 77 finished seventh at the Prague European Open in March.

Nikola GUSIC -73kg

Former Dubrovnik European Cup bronze medallist GUSIC, 25, makes his second World Championships appearance and first since 2015. The world number 98 won the European University Championships last year and has once placed at an IJF World Judo Tour event. GUSIC finished fifth at the Antalya Grand Prix in April with a 3:2 record as he defeated Bilal CILOGLU (TUR) with a kesa-gatame, Olympic bronze medallist Dirk VAN TICHELT (BEL) with an ouchi-gari and Christopher WAGNER (AUT) with a ko-soto-gake

Instagram: @nikolagusiic

Srdjan MRVALJEVIC -81kg

MRVALJEVIC, 34, is the most well-known member of his country’s nine-strong team for Baku 2018. The two-time Olympian earned an unexpected silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Paris and has won one Grand Prix and one Grand Slam medal (both bronze in 2016). World number 73 MRVALJEVIC is targeting a third straight Olympics and will have flashbacks to his 2011 exploits when he lands in Baku.

Nebojsa GARDASEVIC -81kg

World Championships rookie GARDASEVIC, 23, has won bronze at the European University Championships two years in a row. The Balkan Championships bronze medallist has featured at two IJF events with Grand Prix appearances in 2015 (Zagreb) and 2018 (Budapest) which both ended in defeat in the second round. The world number 185 has nothing to lose in Baku and will be keen to employ his favoured harai-goshi.

Instagram: @neno_1912

Danilo PANTIC -100kg

Former Junior European Championships gold medallist PANTIC, 23, is set for a second World Championships showing in Baku. The world number 78 won his first Worlds contest against Thomas BRICENO (CHI) by a waza-ari score from a yoko-guruma before Andy GRANDA (CUB) ended his day by ippon with an ouchi-gari. PANTIC finished fifth at the Prague European Open in March and will campaign on day six in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @pantic_danilo

Anto DUBRETA -100kg

Former Sarajevo European Cup silver medallist DUBRETA, 27, makes his first start at the Worlds for Montenegro. The world number 210 has never graduated above the European Open level with no experience of the IJF World Judo Tour. The ura-nage specialist finished fifth at the Dubrovnik European Cup in April and will be one of the biggest underdogs in Baku.

Morocco (MAR)

Chaimae EDDINARI -48kg

Junior African Championships gold medallist EDDINARI, 21, makes her World Championships debut on day one. EDDINARI has already featured in 10 competitions this year, as she has been active on the junior and senor stage. The Moroccan starlet has been to four Grand Prix and one Grand Slam and is yet to score in a contest but will be counting down the days and hours until she steps onto the tatami at the National Gymnastics Arena.

Instagram: @chaimae_eddinari

Fatima Zahra EL QORACHI -52kg

African Championships gold medallist EL QORACHI, 22, joins her older teammates at the Worlds for the first time. The youngster marked her arrival on the senior stage with a high-quality display as she upset Olympians and IJF World Judo Tour medallists to take continental gold. The ippon-seoi-nage specialist will now have nothing to fear in Baku.

Instagram: @el_qorachi_fatima_zahra_

Soumiya IRAOUI -57kg

African Championships winner IRAOUI, 22, returns for a second tilt at world honours. The world number 23 lost her opening contest a year ago against Marti MALLOY (USA) as the American pinned down the Moroccan with a yoko-shiho-gatame hold. IRAOUI finished fifth at the Agadir Grand Prix in March with a 2:2 record and will be confident of registering her first win at the IJF’s marquee event.

Instagram: @suma.57

Sofia BELATTAR -63kg

African Championships silver medallist BELATTAR, 23, was edged out in her Worlds debut a year ago against KIM Hye Sun (PRK) by a waza-ari from a ko-uchi-gari score. The world number 27 finished fifth at the Agadir Grand Prix in March and will feel more comfortable on the World Championships tatami in 2018 where an 11-strong Moroccan team could show their enormous potential for the world to see.

Assmaa NIANG -70kg

Eight-time Grand Prix medallist NIANG, 35, was one victory away from a place on the World Championships podium a year ago. The world number seven went 3:2 in Budapest with a riveting performance for Morocco. Evergreen NIANG, who will be seeded in Baku, won the Agadir Grand Prix in March and took bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix in July before finishing her Worlds preparation with fifth-place at the Budapest Grand Prix last month.

Instagram: @asma_niang

Issam BASSOU -60kg

World number 24 BASSOU, 19, is the reigning African Championships gold medallist. The teenager makes his inaugural appearance at the World Championships and will have moderate ambitions having had success on the IJF World Judo Tour already this year. BASSOU won bronze at his first Grand Prix assignment in Tunis in March and finished seventh at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam, another new competition level, a week later.

Yassine MOUDATIR -60kg

World number 31 MOUDATIR, 30, will be making his fourth start at the World Championships. The London 2012 Olympian has had his moments on the IJF World Judo Tour with three fifth-place finishes at Grand Prix events and has had a consistent presence this year. MOUDATIR finished fifth at the Tunis Grand Prix and then the Agadir version along with the same result at the African Championships in April.

Imad BASSOU -66kg

African Championships bronze medallist BASSOU, 25, has campaigned at two World Championships events. The world number 34 finished seventh at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam last year and earned a bronze medal at his continental championships in April. The ouchi-gari expert also has Olympic experience after Rio 2016 where he registered a win over Nathan KATZ (AUS) with uchi-mata-sukashi.

Abderrahmane BOUSHITA -66kg

Former Junior African Championships bronze medallist BOUSHITA, 21, joins the -66kg World Championships field for the second time. The world number 59 convincingly defeated Gavin MOGOPA (BOT) with a waza-ari score from a tai-otoshi and then ippon from a juji-gatame. His Worlds quest was ended in the next round by ABE Hifumi (JPN) by a tai-otoshi but the Japanese ace went on to win gold.

Safouane BOUTIT -73kg

World Championships debutant BOUTIT, 21, is a new face on the IJF World Judo Tour. BOUTIT fought at the Agadir Grand Prix in March where he lost his opening contest against Bekadil SHAIMERDENOV (KAZ) by a waza-ari score from a sumi-otoshi. The newcomer will aim to add something to the -73kg category this year as he represents his African nation for the first time at the Baku supershow.

Instagram: @safouane_boutit

Achraf MOUTII -81kg

African Championships silver medallist MOUTII, 21, returns to the World Championships stage after his first introduction at Budapest 2017. The world number 26 defeated Matus MILICHOVSKY (SVK) by ippon from a ko-uchi-gari having led by a waza-ari score from a uchi-mata. The Moroccan judoka fell to ERIHEMUBATU (CHN) by ippon from a uchi-mata-sukashi in the subsequent round but gave a good account of himself and his country and could offer even more this year.

Instagram: @achraf.moutii

Mozambique (MOZ)

Jacira FERREIRA -52kg

World number 178 FERREIRA, 20, will campaign at her second World Championships and will be Mozambique’s only female judoka at Baku 2018. FERREIRA, who finished seventh at the Junior African Championships last year, narrowly lost her only contest in Hungary against Tinka EASTON (AUS) by a waza-ari score from a harai-makikomi.

Instagram: @jaciracf

Mauro NASSONE -60kg

World number 351 NASSONE, 17, debuted on the IJF World Judo Tour stage in August at the Budapest Grand Prix. NASSONE lost out to Daniel LE GRANGE (RSA) by ippon from a kesa-gatame hold. NASSONE finished fifth at the Cadet African Championships last year and is a particularly bold selection by his country.

Instagram: @mauronassone60

Kevin LOFORTE -66kg

Junior African Championships bronze medallist LOFORTE, 21, will make his second appearance at the World Championships in Baku. The world number 119 has been to a handful of IJF World Judo Tour events including Budapest 2017 where he lost to Hevorh KHACHATRIAN (UKR) by the margin of six waza-ari scores without reply.

Instagram: @k.loforte_66

Artur CARLOS JUNIOR -66kg

Lisbon-based CARLOS JUNIOR, 19, took silver at the Junior African Championships in April. The world number 261 made his Worlds bow at Budapest 2017 where he lost to Ian SANCHO CHINCHILA (CRC) from an ippon-seoi-nage. CARLOS JUNIOR, who is a member of Judo Sporting Clube de Portugal, went 2:1 at his u20 continental championships and will be anxious to fight hard and well in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @arturjunior66

Ayton SIQUIR -73kg

Former Cadet African Championships bronze medallist SIQUIR, 20, was called up to his first World Championships at Budapest 2017 and makes a return this year for Baku 2018. In Hungary, SIQUIR lost to NJIE Faye (GAM) from a yoko-shiho-gatame but the Tokyo 2020 hope knows that was just a useful experience rather than a competition where he must excel. The younger has to be hitting the podium in his home continent to realise his Olympic dream.

Instagram: @aytonsiquir73

Naura (NRU)

Iniki UERA -90kg

World number 102 UERA, 25, fights at the World Championships for a second time. UERA, who will be joined by his older brother Ovini in Baku in the same category, was second best against Peter ZILKA (SVK) as the Slovakian threw with ashi-guruma for ippon. The ippon-seoi-nage enthusiast finished fifth at the Oceania Championships in April to match his 2017 return and will be looking to make the most of his Worlds opportunity as the brothers will no doubt warm each other up in the morning and serve as inspiration for one another.

Ovini UERA -90kg

Rio 2016 Olympian UERA, 30, returns to the World Championships for the first time since 2015. The tai-otoshi expert, who due to his inactivity and lack of international medals finds himself ranked number 324 in the world, lost to Alexandr JURECKA (CZE) at the 2015 Worlds by ippon. UERA received a wildcard for Rio 2016 where he lost out to -90kg standout Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO) from a kesa-gatame hold as the Georgian went on to take silver. The brothers prepared for Baku 2018 by training at Ryutsu Keizai University in Japan.

Nepal (NEP)

Manita SHRESTHA PRADHAN -57kg

Former Junior Asian Championships bronze medallist SHRESTHA PRADHAN, 19, competes at her second World Championships in Baku. The teen judoka was humbled by LU Tongjuan (CHN) by ippon from a ura-nage last year but is still a junior and has many years ahead of her to complete her transition to the senior stage. The world number 136 is part of a five-strong Nepal team in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @roji_shrestha

Phupu lhamu KHATRI -63kg

Rio 2016 Olympian lhamu KHATRI, 21, competes at her fourth World Championships in Baku which is an impressive number for such a young judoka. KHATRI received a wildcard for the Games where Maricet ESPINOSA (CUB) prematurely ended her day by a yuko score from a tsurikomi-goshi. The world number 183 will be craving her latest opportunity to try and find her first contest win at the Worlds. Instagram: @judo_phups

Mohan BAM -60kg

World Championships newcomer BAM, 27, has made three appearances on the IJF World Judo Tour in 2018. BAM debuted on the IJF stage in May and has fought at Grand Prix events in Hohhot, Zagreb and Budapest. The world number 245 lost his first contest at each event by ippon and will be aiming to return to winning ways when the sport receives its greatest amount of attention of the year at the eight-day Worlds spectacle.

Indra Bahadur SHRESTHA -66kg

SHRESTHA, 19, makes his first Worlds start in Baku after making his IJF World Judo Tour debut in August. The world number 269 fought at the Budapest Grand Prix where he was thrown for ippon by Tornike NAGLIASHVILI (GEO) with a utsuri-goshi. SHRESTHA also suffered a first round exit at the Asian Games and can expect a far stronger -66kg field in Azerbaijan.

Ravin SHRESTHA -90kg

IJF World Judo Tour rookie SHRESTHA, 26, joined the circuit with an outing in Hungary at the Budapest Grand Prix in August. The world number 237 was stopped by Laurin BOEHLER (AUT) by ippon from a ko-uchi-gari. SHRESTHA featured for Nepal at the Asian Games last month where Sherali JURAEV (UZB) ended his day by ippon.

Netherlands (NED)

Amber GERSJES -48kg

Junior World Championships gold medallist GERSJES, 21, will be tipped to make an immediate impact at Baku 2018. GERSJES sees action on day one and has chipped away at IJF events with seventh-place finishes at Grand Prix in Tbilisi and Tunis as well as the Düsseldorf Grand Slam. The Dutch judoka is ranked number 25 in the world and will not have to wait long for world-class opposition in Baku.

Instagram: @amber_gersjes

Margriet BERGSTRA -57kg

Former Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist BERGSTRA, 25, lost out in the first round on her Worlds debut in Budapest a year ago. The Dutch fighter fell to Portuguese star Telma MONTEIRO by ippon from a ko-soto-gake. BERGSTRA showed her ability in Japan with a seventh-place finish at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December and recorded the same result in Paris in February.

Instagram: @mbergstra

Dewy KARTHAUS -57kg

Former Junior European Championships bronze medallist KARTHAUS, 22, is a fresh inclusion for the Netherlands at a World Championships. The world number 67 has been highly-active at European events this year and has picked up a number of medals. KARTHAUS has won bronze medals at European Open events in Warsaw and Sarajevo and earned a silver medal at the Madrid European Open.

Instagram: @dewykarthaus

Juul FRANSSEN -63kg

World number seven FRANSSEN, 28, finished fifth at the World Championships in 2015 but has added a host of Grand Prix, Grand Slam and World Judo Masters medals to her honours in the intervening years. FRANSSEN, who will be seeded in Azerbaijan, took silver at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in March with a 3:1 record and would be a popular selection in anyone’s fantasy team for Baku 2018.

Instagram: @juulfranssen

Sanne VERMEER -63kg

Junior World Championships silver medallist VERMEER, 20, joins the senior elite for the first time at a World Championships. The Dutch starlet won bronze at The Hague Grand Prix last year and has been in the medal hunt in 2018 with fifth-place finishes at Grand Prix in Tunis and Budapest and a seventh-place at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam.

Sanne VAN DIJKE -70kg

World number four VAN DIJKE, 23, will compete at her third World Championships for the Netherlands. The former European champion won bronze at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam, gold at the Hohhot Grand Prix and silver at the Budapest Grand Prix to show her world title ambitions. With the added benefit of a seeded position, VAN DIJKE will be tipped for success in the form of a first World Championships medal.

Instagram: @sannevandijke

Hilde JAGER -70kg

Reigning u23 European Championships gold medallist JAGER, 20, is a Worlds debutant for the Netherlands in Azerbaijan. Madrid European Open bronze medallist JAGER has experience of representing her country at the first European Mixed Team Championships, which took place in July in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and that know-how and team work ethic could prove vital on the last day of the 2018 World Championships.

Instagram: @hildejager

Guusje STEENHUIS -78kg

World number one STEENHUIS, 25, has medalled at all levels of the IJF World Judo Tour except the Worlds Championships. Now is the time for the five-time Grand Slam gold medallist to make her mark at the IJF’s showpiece event and STEENHUIS will be ready to lock horns with all challengers in Baku. The Dutch ace took silver at the Paris Grand Slam in February and bronze at the Budapest Grand Prix in August.

Instagram: @guusjesteenhuis

Marhinde VERKERK -78kg

Former world champion VERKERK, 32, has a complete collection of World Championships medals. World number seven VERKERK, who was picked for Rio 2016 instead of teammate STEENHUIS, has won gold, silver and bronze with her title win coming back in 2009 in Rotterdam. The two-time Olympian won the World Judo Masters in December to extend her to-flight career into 2018 and it remains to be seen whether the veteran will have the longevity to maintain a push for selection for Tokyo 2020.

Instagram: @marhinde

Tornike TSJAKADOEA -60kg

Former Junior European Championships gold medallist TSJAKADOEA, 21, will start for the Netherlands at the World Championships for the first time in Baku. Dutch Championships winner TSJAKADOEA finished seventh at the Tbilisi Grand Prix in March with 1:2 record and finished fifth at the Minsk European Open last month. The world number 42 kicks things off for the famed judo nation on day one.

Instagram: @georgiannnn

Roy KOFFIJBERG -60kg

Former Junior European Championships gold medallist KOFFIJBERG, 22, is also a new name set to feature in the -60kg category. World number 54 KOFFIJBERG finished fifth at The Hague Grand Prix last year which stands as his best return on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Sarajevo European Cup gold medallist will be aiming to shine for the Netherlands on the opening day in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @roykoffijberg

Sam VAN T WESTENDE -73kg

Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist VAN T WESTENDE, 27, will be hoping to strike it lucky on the Worlds stage at his third attempt. The world number 22 went 1:1 in 2015 and 0:1 last year but has been a medal contender below the Worlds level. VAN T WESTENDE has two fifth-places to his name on the Grand Slam stage and found his form in Georgia in March to earn his first IJF silverware.

Instagram: @samwestende

Frank DE WIT -81kg

World number two DE WIT, 22, has the tools to mount a title push at his third World Championships. The 2017 Paris Grand Slam gold medallist, who won the Junior Worlds crown in 2015, is a two-time Grand Slam winner and finished seventh at Budapest 2017. DE WIT has won bronze at the Paris Grand Slam this year and finished fifth at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and Budapest Grand Prix.

Instagram: @frankiewit

Jesper SMINK -90kg

Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist SMINK, 20, is also part of a new generation for the Netherlands. SMINK, who made his IJF breakthrough by winning bronze at The Hague Grand Prix last year, has been building momentum on the IJF World Judo Tour with a clear route opening up for Tokyo 2020. The Dutchman defeated world champion Nemanja MAJDOV (SRB) in Hohhot on penalties which bodes well for Baku 2018 as he aims to overcome a baptism of fire in the land of fire.

Instagram: @jesper_smink

Noel VAN T END -90kg

Eight-time Grand Prix medallist VAN T END, 27, who is known on the circuit as ‘Superman’ for his likeness to the fictional superhero, is one of the richest sources of medals in the Dutch team. The world number 37 won bronze at the invite-only World Judo Masters in 2015 and has finished on the wrong side of a Grand Slam final on four occasions. Rio 2016 Olympian VAN T END fought at the World Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015 without doing himself justice and there’s a feeling that a major result can become a reality in this Olympic cycle for the popular fighter.

Instagram: @noelvhe

Michael KORREL -100kg

World number two KORREL, 24, finished fifth at the World Championships a year ago and will use that disappointment to fuel his charge for glory in 2018. The Paris Grand Slam gold medallist went 3:2 in Budapest as he lost to rugged Russian veteran Kirill DENISOV for bronze from a yoko-shiho-gatame hold. KORREL, who went to Rio 2016 as a training partner, went unbeaten in the French capital in February and finished fifth last time out at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam.

Instagram: @korrelforgold

Roy MEYER +100kg

The Hague Grand Prix gold medallist MEYER, 27, finished fifth at the World Championships in 2014 and is equipped everything he needs to manoeuvre his way into the latter stages of the competition on day seven. The world number 11 has finished fifth this year at the Paris Grand Slam, European Championships and Hohhot Grand Prix but finished on the right side of a bronze medal contest in his last competition as he claimed the final spot on the podium at the Budapest Grand Prix.

Instagram: @roymeyerofficial

Henk GROL +100kg

Double Olympic bronze medallist GROL, 33, is the most accomplished member of the Netherlands team in Baku. The three-time world silver medallist, who won his Olympic medals in 2008 and 2012 at -100kg, has prolonged his career with a switch to the heavyweight category. GROL took silver at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in March and bronze at the European Championships in April and will not be seeded.

Instagram: @henkgrol

New Zealand (NZL)

Emma ROUSE -48kg

Oceania Championships silver medallist ROUSE, 27, has been called up to her second World Championships for New Zealand. The world number 39 made her IJF debut at Budapest 2017 where she was drawn against Ukranian wonderkid Daria BILODID who prevailed with her juji-gatame after registering two waza-ari scores with her ko-uchi-gari. ROUSE has surprisingly not gained any more IJF World Judo Tour experience since then with Oceania events providing the bulk of her workload.

James ENTWISTLE -66kg

Oceania Championships silver medallist ENTWISTLE, 22, makes his Worlds debut on day two in Baku. The world number 80 is a multiple-time New Zealand Championships gold medallist and has won all of his medals in his home continent. ENTWISTLE is one of three New Zealand judoka in action in Azerbaijan and will hope to catch his opening opponent with his booming ippon-seoi-nage.

Jason KOSTER -100kg

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist KOSTER, 35, is the globetrotting veteran of the New Zealand team. KOSTER, who arrived in Baku in August for his pre-competition training camp, is heading into his fifth World Championships and is eying a spot at Tokyo 2020 as his competitive swansong. The evergreen kiwi won bronze at the Oceania Championships in April and will compete on day six in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @kosterzoo

Niger (NIG)

Moctar ALLASSANE -60kg

World Championships tyro ALLASSANE, 27, has never travelled outside of Africa for a judo competition. The two-time African Championships competitor pitched a 1:1 record at his continent’s best judo offering in 2015 and 2016. Little is known about the ALLASSANE but his two colleagues will be animated supporters as the -60kg fighter will be first to make the daunting walk into the venue and onto the tatami with the eyes of the world watching his every move.

Ismael ALHASSANE -66kg

ALHASSANE, 24, will represent Niger at the World Championships for a second time. The former -60kg judoka stepped up to the world level last year in Budapest where he fell to Nathon BURNS (IRI) via a kuzure-kesa-gatame hold after trailing to a waza-ari score from a tomoe-nage. ALHASSANE was in action in the Hungarian capital again in August as he lost to Ahmed ABELRAHMAN (EGY) by ippon from an uchi-mata.

Bachirou DOUBOU -90kg

World number 284 DOUBOU, 33, made his World Championships debut a year ago and is back for more in 2018. DOUBOU felt the full force of LEE Jaeyong (KOR) at Budapest 2017 as he was thrown for a waza-ari score with an ippon-seoi-nage and then held down with a kesa-gatame. The veteran Niger international finished seventh at the 2016 African Championships and has it all to do in Baku.

Norway (NOR)

Madelene RUBINSTEIN -52kg

Nordic Championships gold medallist RUBINSTEIN, 23, is Norway’s only competitor for the World Championships. The former Belgrade European Open winner fought at Budapest 2017 where she scored a waza-ari against SZABO Katinka (HUN) with her favoured ippon-seoi-nage before the Hungarian took over and prevailed by two waza-ari scores.

Instagram: @madelenerubinstein

Pakistan (PAK)

Amina TOYODA -57kg

Worlds debutant TOYODA, 19, finished fifth at the Cadet Asian Championships in 2016. The ouchi-gari technician will compete on day three in Baku and is part of a three-strong Pakistan for Baku 2018. TOYODA has Japanese roots and is based at Rikkyo University in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. I

nstagram: @ami.6723judo

Qaisar KHAN -90kg

KHAN, 17, makes his World Championships bow for Pakistan. The world number 324 took silver at the Cadet Asian Cup in July and finished fifth in the junior edition. KHAN already has Grand Slam and Asian Games experience. The youngster has registered a contest win in the homeland of the sport as he beat NAKANO Kodo (PHI) by ippon with a uchi-mata at the 2016 Tokyo Grand Slam.

Hussain Shah SHAH -100kg

Rio 2016 Olympian SHAH, 25, has featured in four World Championships. The uchi-mata trickster lives in Japan and practices with the top Japanese University judoka once a week at the Kodokan where he more than holds his own. SHAH has a best result on the IJF World Judo Tour of fifth-place from the Qingdao Grand Prix in 2012 and is a two-time bronze medallist at the Asian Championships.

Instagram: @shahhussainshah

Palestine (PLE)

Wesam ABU RMILAH -81kg

ABU RMILAH, 22, makes his third appearance at a World Championships for Palestine. The world number 360 fought at the Worlds in 2013 and 2015 where he lost his opening contests by ippon. The former -73kg judoka made the move to -81kg this year and campaigned in his new category at the Asian Games where he was stopped in round one.

Panama (PAN)

Kristine JIMENEZ -52kg

Highly-talented youngster JIMENEZ, 52, won gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games in July. JIMENEZ, who hails from Santiago de Veraguas in Panama currently resides in Spain where she trains full-time at Valencia Judo Club under the tutelage of Laura GOMEZ and Sugoi URIARTE. The world number 40, who has two seventh-place finishes to her name at Grand Prix events, has all the skill and potential to earn IJF honours in this Olympic cycle and to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Instagram: @kristine52kgpan

Miryam ROPER -57kg

Long-time German international ROPER, 36, has represented her father’s country since 2017 and has been a huge success story for Panama. Bilingual ROPER, who speaks German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, was crowned Panama’s first IJF World Judo Tour gold medallist with a sensational victory at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and finished fifth at the Worlds a year ago. The world number 11 joined teammate JIMENEZ in in Valencia to prepare for Baku 2018.

Instagram: @miryamroper

ROPER has been a relevation for Panama

Bernabe VERGARA -60kg

Former Junior Pan American Cup silver medallist VERGARA, 21, steps up to the World Championships for the first time this year. VERGARA finished seventh at the Pan American Championships in April to pick up valuable ranking points and finished fifth earlier this month at the Santo Domingo Pan American Open. The world number 92 will be the first Panama judoka to compete in Baku as the lightest member of their three-strong team.

Instagram: @bernabevh26

Peru (PER)

Brillith GAMARRA CARBAJAL -52kg

Former Junior Pan American Championship bronze medallist GAMARRA CARBAJAL, 21, will be fighting at her second World Championships. The world number 38 lost her opening contest at Budapest 2017 to Kristine JIMENEZ (PAN) on penalties and will be hopeful of reversing the outcome of her first contest this year. Santiago Pan American Open gold medallist GAMARRA CARBAJAL will vie for glory on day two in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @brillithgamarra

Dilmer CALLE -60kg

CALLE, 24, is part of Peru’s Worlds delegation for the second time. The world number 55 has won two Pan American Open bronze medals this year and finished fifth at the Pan American Championships. CALLE lost his opening contest at Budapest 2017 as Nayr Garcia PEDRO (ANG) had the measure of the Peruvian by ippon from a ippon-seoi-nage.

Juan POSTIGOS -66kg

Two-time Olympian POSTIGOS, 29, is the most renowned member of Peru’s squad for the World Championships. POSTIGOS won bronze at the Cancun Grand Prix last year and is a three-time Pan American Championships bronze medallist. The world number 43 is embarking on his seventh World Championships and will aim to lead by example for Peru.

Instagram: @jm_postigos

Alonso WONG -73kg

Pan American Championships bronze medallist WONG, 25, is poised for a fifth tilt at world honours. The world number 33 won bronze at the Cancun Grand Prix last year and has won two Pan American Open events this year. The ippon-seoi-nage specialist is less familiar with judoka from outside the Americas and will be hoping for a favourable draw in Baku.

Instagram: @alonso_wong10

Yuta GALARRETA VILLAR -90kg

Two-time Junior Pan American Championships bronze medallist GALARRETA VILLAR, 20, adds youth and raw talent to Peru’s ranks in Baku. The world number 123 is highly-regarded by his coaching team and took silver at the Pan American Open in Lima in March. The uchi-mata enthusiast will be making his World Championships debut in Baku.

Instagram: @roberto_yuta

Philippines (PHI)

Kiyomi WATANABE -63kg

World number 15 WATANABE, 22, is primed for her third World Championships and her strongest challenge for honours at the IJF’s marquee event. WATANABE opened her IJF World Judo Tour medal account with bronze at the Paris Grand Slam last year and achieved the same result at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February. The Japan-based fighter took silver at the Asian Games in August behind world number two NABEKURA Nami (JPN).

Instagram: @kiyomi0825w

Mariya TAKAHASHI -70kg

Hong Kong Asian Open silver medallist TAKAHASHI, 17, campaigns at her first World Championships in Baku. The teenager, who is ranked number 59 in the world, finished seventh at the Asian Games with a 1:2 record with her sole win coming over Surattana THONGSRI (THA) by ippon.

Shugen NAKANO -66kg

World number 117 NAKANO, 21, made his World Championships debut in 2017. NAKANO narrowly lost his first contest to Nathan KATZ (AUS) by a waza-ari score from a sode-tsurikomi-goshi. The youngster finished seventh at the Qingdao Grand Prix in 2016 and fifth at the Taipei Asian Open in 2017.

Instagram: @shugen29

Keisei NAKANO -73kg

World number 120 NAKANO, 21, joins his twin brother Shugen on Worlds duty for the Philippines. NAKANO gave Olympic bronze medallist Dirk VAN TICHELT (BEL) a scare at Budapest 2017 when he went ahead with a waza-ari score from a ippon-seoi-nage before tamely being disqualified for picking up three penalties. The -73kg fighter went 1:1 at the Asian Games in August.

Instagram: @k.nakano73_ph

Poland (POL)

Agata PERENC -52kg

Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist PERENC, 28, joins the World Championships stage for the second time in her career. The world number 19 submitted Meriem MOUSSA (ALG) last year by ippon before losing to Erika MIRANDA (BRA) by ippon from a ko-uchi-gari. PERENC has won three Grand Prix bronze medals and will open proceedings for Poland on day two.

Instagram: @agataseoi

Karolina PIENKOWSKA -52kg

Düsseldorf Grand Slam silver medallist PIENKOWSKA, 25, returns to the World Championships for the first time since 2015. PIENKOWSKA went 1:1 at Astana 2015 as she snatched a win over Djazia HADDAD (ALG) by a yuko score before bowing out after a loss to Gili COHEN (ISR) by the margin of a single yuko score. The world number 21 won gold at home at the Warsaw European Open in March.

Instagram: @pienius25

Anna BOROWSKA -57kg

Tashkent Grand Prix gold medallist BOROWSKA, 24, started a World Championships for the first time last year. The world number 17 lost her opening contest to Marti MALLOY (USA) on penalties at Budapest 2017 but a lot has changed for the Polish judoka since then. BOROWSKA earned her first IJF title with victory in Uzbekistan, with four wins from her four contests, placed (fifth) at a Grand Slam for the first time and represented her country at the inaugural European Mixed Team Championships in July.

Instagram: @anjiaborowska

Julia KOWALCZYK -57kg

Minsk European Open gold medallist KOWALCZYK, 20, is a new member of Poland’s World Championships team. KOWALCZYK, who describes herself as a chocolate addict, has pedigree in Baku having won bronze at Azerbaijan’s Grand Slam last year. The youngster is ranked number 42 in the world and could offer some unexpected firepower for her country.

Instagram: @kowaliaa

Agata OZDOBA-BLACH -63kg

Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist OZDOBA-BLACH, 30, won bronze at the World Championships a year ago and is line to make another title bid in Baku. The world number 16 is a two-time Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist and is one of Poland’s leading medal threats in Azerbaijan. The uchi-mata specialist will not be seeded but will be monitored by the -57kg favourites after her 2017 result.

Instagram: @aozdi

Karolina TALACH -63kg

Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist TALACH, 26, returns to the World Championships after her introduction in 2017. TALACH went 1:1 in Budapest with a win over Dilbar UMIRALIYEVA (KAZ) by ippon from a ko-soto-gake and a defeat to Amy LIVESEY (GBR) who forced the Polish fighter to submit to a okuri-eri-jime strangle. The world number 35 finished seventh last time out at the Minsk European Open.

Instagram: @karcia.talach

Daria POGORZELEC -70kg

Former Tashkent Grand Prix gold medallist POGORZELEC, 28, is one of the most experienced members of the Poland team and will make her fifth appearance at the World Championships. The two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist, who is ranked number 67 in the world, finished fifth at the World Championships in 2015 and belongs in the latter stages of the competition which she will hope to return to this year.

Instagram: @pogorzelka

Beata PACUT -78kg

Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist PACUT, 22, is a former Junior World Championships bronze medallist. The world number 19 featured at the senior Worlds for the first time last year and recorded a 1:1 record. PACUT held down Karen LEON (VEN) with a tate-shiho-gatame for ippon before a narrow defeat to former world champion Marhinde VERKERK (NED) by a waza-ari score from an o-goshi.

Instagram: @beteea

Paula KULAGA -78kg

Madrid European Open bronze medallist KULAGA, 22, will be a new contender for Poland at the World Championships. The world number 73 has sampled the IJF World Judo Tour with two Grand Prix outings and is now tasked with plying her trade at the biggest annual competition in the sport. KULAGA also took silver at the Warsaw European Open in March.

Patryk WAWRZYCZEK -66kg

Former Junior European Championships bronze medallist WAWRZYCZEK, 23, will be the first man up for Poland in Baku. The World Championships newcomer finished seventh at the Hohhot Grand Prix last year which remains his best result on the IJF World Judo Tour. The world number 89 went 1:1 at the Budapest Grand Prix in his last competition.

Instagram: @namakemono66

Michal BARTUSIK -73kg

Bratislava European Cup silver medallist BARTUSIK, 25, is also new to the World Championships. The world number 90 is yet to threaten the medal positions on the IJF World Judo Tour but will have dreamt that that feat could be realised in Baku. Polish Championships gold medallist BARTUSIK was also part of the first edition of the European Mixed Team Championships in July.

Instagram: @michalbartusik

Wiktor MROWCZYNSKI -73kg

Madrid European Open silver medallist MROWCZYNSKI, 23, is unfamiliar with the demands and level of the World Championships as he descends on Baku. World number 131 MROWCZYNSKI went 4:1 at Spain’s top judo offering and recorded a 2:1 record in his last competition at the Budapest Grand Prix with his only defeating coming at the hands of UNGVARI Miklos (HUN) who went on to win gold.

Damian SZWARNOWIECKI -81kg

Former Samsun Grand Prix gold medallist SZWARNOWIECKI, 24, is an established performer on the IJF World Judo Tour. SZWARNOWIECKI, who gorged on his Turkish delight in 2016, won bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix in the same year and is now ready for action at his fourth World Championships. The world number 48 has the talent to trouble judoka who are several rungs above him on the -81kg ladder.

Instagram: @szwarnowiecki

Piotr KUCZERA -90kg

Former Junior World Championships bronze medallist KUCZERA, 23, will leave it all on the tatami in pursuit of success in Baku. The world number 45, who starred as a junior in 2015, won European Championships bronze in 2016 along with the same colour medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix. Tokyo 2020 candidate KUCZERA won bronze at the Tbilisi Grand Prix in March.

Instagram: @piotrkuczera

Rafal KOZLOWSKI -90kg

Reigning u23 European Championships bronze medallist KOZLOWSKI, 22, connected with the IJF World Judo Tour last year as he won bronze at The Hague Grand Prix. The world number 65 is, like many of his male colleagues, a fresh addition to the World Championships in 2018. KOZLOWSKI went 1:1 at the Budapest Grand Prix in August as he beat Egill BLONDAL (ISL) by a waza-ari score from a ippon-seoi-nage and was disqualified against Giorgi PAPUNASHVILI (GEO).

Instagram: @kozlowski_rafal

Maciej SARNACKI +100kg

Four-time Grand Slam medallist SARNACKI, 31, is a bruising heavyweight who can class himself as a contender in Baku as he’s ranked number seven in the world. Rio 2016 Olympian SARNACKI will be seeded in Azerbaijan and is the foremost Polish male judoka in the competition. The osoto-gari expert has finished seventh at both the Paris Grand Slam and European Championships in 2018.

Portugal (POR)

Catarina COSTA -48kg

Antalya Grand Prix gold medallist COSTA, 21, has enjoyed a breakout year on the IJF World Judo Tour in 2018. The world number 20 took silver at the Agadir Grand Prix in March and followed up a month later with victory in Turkey. COSTA beat London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah MENEZES (BRA) on her way to her first IJF gold medal and could prove to be a hit at her first World Championships.

Instagram: @cc_atomic

Joana DIOGO -48kg

Current u23 European Championships bronze medallist DIOGO, 22, has been included in Portugal’s sizable World Championships delegation for a second time. The world number 31 recorded a contest win at Budapest 2017 over Philomene BATA (CMR) who was held down with a yoko-shiho-gatame hold but fell in the following round to Noa MINSKER (ISR) from a koshi-guruma.

Instagram: @joanadiogoo

Joana RAMOS -52kg

Two-time Olympian RAMOS, 36, has placed at a World Championships on two occasions but will be determined to go for broke in 2018 as it’s unclear how many more times the Portuguese stalwart will compete at the IJF’s marquee event. The world number 26 has won Grand Prix and Grand Slam gold but in 2018 has gone 1:1 at both the European Championships and the Hohhot Grand Prix.

Instagram: @jisaramos

Mariana ESTEVES -52kg

Former Junior World Championships bronze medallist ESTEVES, 22, finished seventh at the Paris Grand Slam in February. The world number 74 went 2:2 in the French capital to record her best finish on the IJF World Judo Tour. A noted ouchi-gari specialist, ESTEVES has lost her opening contest at her last five events.

Instagram: @mesteves46

Telma MONTEIRO -57kg

Olympic bronze medallist MONTEIRO, 32, is the most renowned member of the Portugal team. The world number 16 is a four-time world silver medallist and will have a major role to play in the fate of the -57kg title in Baku. MONTEIRO, who won the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in March, intends to fight on until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and could strengthen that ambition with a medal-winning display in Azerbaijan.

Instagram: @telmamonteiro57

MONTEIRO presented compatriot Cristiano RONALDO with a judogi for his son

Yahima RAMIREZ -78kg

London 2012 Olympian RAMIREZ, who turns 39 in October, finished fifth at the World Championships in 2014. The 2017 Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist, who is ranked number 23 in the world, will favour her familiar uchi-mata in her latest Worlds bid which will arguably be the toughest assignment of her entire career. Cuba-born RAMIREZ won bronze at the 2009 Moscow Grand Slam which remains the finest moment of her 20 years on the international stage.

Instagram: @ramirezyahima

Patricia SAMPAIO -78kg

Junior World Championships bronze medallist SAMPAIO, 19, the long-term heir to teammate RAMIREZ, steps up to the senior showpiece in Baku. The world number 46 has won two Junior European Cup gold medals this year and will need to hit the ground running in Azerbaijan to record a contest win and cause a stir on day six.

Instagram: @sampaiolovesjudo

Goncalo MANSINHO -60kg

Agadir Grand Prix bronze medallist MANSINHO, 25, left his first World Championships with a winning record a year ago. The world number 49 finished 2:1 in Budapest with wins over Isaac CROES (ARU) from a sode-tsurikomi-goshi and David PULKRABEK (CZE) with a uchi-mata-makikomi. MANSINHO lost out to Orkhan SAFAROV (AZE) by ippon from a sode-tsurikomi-goshi as the Azeri went on to take silver.

Instagram: @goncalomansinho

Joao CRISOSTOMO -66kg

Former London European Cup bronze medallist CRISOSTOMO, 24, is set to get to grips with the challenge of the World Championships for a second time. The world number 31 had a fine day in Budapest as he recorded a 2:1 record with wins over Kestutis VITKAUSKAS (LTU) from an o-goshi and Nabor CASTILLO (MEX) with an ippon-seoi-nage. The Portuguese judoka was humbled in round four by ABE Hifumi (JPN) from a ko-uchi-gari as the Japanese prodigy went on to win gold.

Instagram: @jcrisostomo23

Jorge FERNANDES -73kg

Former Madrid European Open bronze medallist FERNANDES, 28, features for Portugal at the World Championships for the fourth time. The world number 52 has not asserted himself on the IJF World Judo Tour stage but has recorded some useful wins on the international stage including triumphs over Magdiel ESTRADA (CUB), Georgios AZOIDIS (GRE) and Mohammad MOHAMMADI (IRI).

Instagram: @jmoffernandes

Nuno SARAIVA -73kg

Former Junior World Championships bronze medallist SARAIVA, 24, has graced an IJF World Judo Tour medal podium on two occasions. The world number 75 took silver at the 2015 Tashkent Grand Prix and bronze at the 2016 Samsun Grand Prix. SARAIVA left Budapest 2017 with a positive 2:1 record and will be looking for more wins at Baku 2018.

Anri EGUTIDZE -81kg

Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist EGUTIDZE, 22, is a young judoka with a world of potential in the sport. The world number 10 has been ever-present on the IJF World Judo Tour this year with worthwhile trips to the Agadir Grand Prix (bronze), Zagreb Grand Prix (bronze) as well as his appearance in the final in Georgia. EGUTIDZE finished fifth at the European Championships and Hohhot Grand Prix.

Instagram: @egutidze_judo

Joao MARTINHO -90kg

Current u23 European Championships bronze medallist MARTINHO, 22, is prepared for his second instalment of the World Championships. The former -81kg judoka moved up to -90kg this year which meant that his World Ranking List points tally was reset to zero and he had to start over. MARTINHO, who is now ranked number 114 in the world at -90kg, saw action for his country at the European Mixed Team Championships this summer in Russia.

Instagram: @jmartinho81

Tiago RODRIGUES -90kg

Lima Pan American Open bronze medallist RODRIGUES, 27, last fought at the World Championships in 2013. RODRIGUES was well beaten in Rio de Janeiro by Karolis BAUZA (LTU) by ippon and will hope for a far different outcome in Baku. The world number 159, who finished seventh at the Croatian Grand Prix in 2013, will look to strike with his uchi-mata.

Jorge FONSECA -100kg

Portuguese powerhouse FONSECA, 25, is one of the most explosive judoka in the sport. The three-time Grand Slam bronze medallist has won his share of medals on the IJF World Judo Tour but is missing an elusive gold medal. Rio 2016 Olympian FONSECA, who is an osoto-gari specialist, has all the attributes to have a lengthy competition day in Baku and will start from a seeded position.

Instagram: @jorgefonsca

Puerto Rico (PUR)

Maria PEREZ -70kg

World silver medallist PEREZ, 29, shocked the world a year ago as she produced Puerto Rico’s best ever result at the World Championships. The world number 13 derailed the world title intentions of judoka such as Olympic bronze medallist Sally CONWAY (GBR) and former world number one Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) as a lifetime’s work came together on the most dramatic day of her life. Rio 2016 Olympian PEREZ submitted to ARAI Chizuru (JPN) in the final from a okuri-eri-jime strangle.

Instagram: @maria1perez

Melissa MOJICA +78kg

Former Moscow Grand Slam silver medallist MOJICA, 34, returns to the World Championships stage for the first time in almost a decade. The two-time Olympian lost her first encounter in Rotterdam in 2009 and has not returned to the Worlds stage until now. MOJICA made a successful return to action earlier this month for the first time since Rio 2016 by winning the Santo Domingo Pan American Open.

Jeffrey RUIZ -73kg

Santo Domingo Pan American Open gold medallist RUIZ, 22, made his Worlds debut at Budapest 2017. The world number 87 fell to Hungarian class act UNGVARI Miklos on penalties as both judoka failed to trouble the scoreboard. RUIZ will take heart from that sterling effort and won his gold medal in the Dominican Republic just a fortnight ago.

Instagram: @jeyaruiz

Adrian GANDIA -81kg

Pan American Championships bronze medallist GANDIA, 20, made his World Championships debut in 2015. World number 53 GANDIA was edged out by at Astana 2015 by Tohar BUTBUL (ISR) by a yuko score. The Puerto Rican went 2:1 at the Budapest Grand Prix in August as he went down fighting in round three against Frank DE WIT (NED) by ippon from a tsurikomi-goshi.

Instagram: @adriangandia

Qatar (QAT)

Ayoub ELIDRISSI -66kg

Former African Championships silver medallist ELIDRISSI, 23, is new to the IJF World Judo Tour’s premier competition. The world number 54 finished seventh at The Hague Grand Prix last year and fifth at the Asian Games in August. ELIDRISSI went 2:2 in Jakarta and will again be trying to employ his effective koshi-waza.

Khalil REBAHI -73kg

One-time World Championships competitor REBAHI, 21, is included for Qatar for Baku 2018 as part of a three-man team. REBAHI took the lead against Nikola GARDASEVIC (MNE) by a waza-ari score from a o-goshi before being thrown with a tani-otoshi and a ko-soto-gake. The world number 135 will be aiming for success with his trademark tai-otoshi.

Oussama HADJAM -81kg

Former Algerian international HADJAM, 28, made his World Championships debut for Qatar in 2017. The world number 127 made a bright start as he emphatically defeated Kell BERLINER (USA). HADJAM scored a waza-ari from a sumi-gaeshi and added a second from a ko-soto-gake before wrapping up a comprehensive win by ippon with a tani-otoshi. The Qatar fighter lost out in round two to Nicon ZABOROSCIUC (MDA).

Romania (ROU)

Monica UNGUREANU -48kg

Former Baku Grand Slam gold medallist UNGUREANU, 30, finished seventh at the 2015 World Championships. The three-time Grand Prix gold medallist, who is ranked number 33 in the world, has been below-par on the circuit this year with only a fifth-place from the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam to show from six events.

Andreea CHITU -52kg

Thee-time world medallist CHITU, 30, is only missing the golden variety from her medal collection. World number 46 lost a final two years in a row (2014 and 2015) and won bronze in 2011. CHITU, who finished seventh at Rio 2016, won the Madrid European Open in June and finished fifth at the Budapest Grand Prix in August.

Instagram: @chituandreea2106

Corina STEFAN -57kg

London 2012 Olympic silver medallist STEFAN, 32, has clinched silver and bronze at the World Championships but never gold. There was talk of retirement post-Rio but that proved premature as the three-time Grand Slam gold medallist STEFAN (née CAPRIORIU) returned in 2018 after a two-year break. The world number 208 took bronze on her comeback at the Belgrade European Cup in June.

Instagram: @corinacaprioriustefan

Stefania Adelina DOBRE -63kg

Former Junior European Championships gold medallist DOBRE, 22, is one of Romania’s hottest prospects. The world number 41, who took silver at the 2015 Junior World Championships, has finished seventh on the Grand Prix and Grand Slam stage and is still working towards a big breakthrough on the IJF World Judo Tour.

Instagram: @stefanyaadelina

Alexandru RAICU -73kg

Former Junior European Championships bronze medallist RAICU, 21, has finished seventh at Grand Prix and Grand Slam events. RAICU made his World Championships debut last year where he went on a darting run through the competition. The world number 48 defeated Bektur RYSMAMBETOV (KGZ) by a waza-ari from a yoko-otoshi and thwarted Thato LEBANG (BOT) by ippon from a yoko-shiho-gatame hold.

Instagram: @alex.raicu.b

Daniel NATEA +100kg

Former World Judo Masters gold medallist NATEA, 26, has also won Grand Slam and Grand Prix gold but has never contested a World Championships medal contest. Rio 2016 Olympian NATEA won gold at the Madrid European Open in June and took Belgrade European Cup silver a week later. The world number 49 can threaten almost any heavyweight on the planet if he let’s his hands and feet go and shows his best judo.

Instagram: @daniel.natea

Russia (RUS)

Irina DOLGOVA -48kg

World Judo Masters silver medallist DOLGOVA, 22, finished fifth at the World Championships last year and will be a major contender on day one for Russia. European champion DOLGOVA has outstanding ne-waza and will look to engineer openings with every movement as she plots a route to the podium and top spot on the World Ranking List.

Instagram: @irinka1995judo

Sabina GILIAZOVA -48kg

World number 24 GILIAZOVA, 23, placed twice on the IJF World Judo Tour in early 2018 to throw her hand up for selection for Baku. The former Ekaterinburg Grand Slam silver medallist finished fifth at the Hohhot Grand Prix and seventh at the Budapest Grand Prix which was deemed enough to receive the nod by the Russian Judo Federation for the World Championships.

Instagram: @sabinasabina

Natalia KUZIUTINA -52kg

Olympic bronze medallist KUZIUTINA, 27, is the face of women’s judo in Russia. The three-time World Championships bronze medallist has the led the way for her team and country for over a decade on the international stage. World number three KUZIUTINA has medalled at every level and has been in imperious form of late with gold medals at the World Judo Masters, Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and European Championships in consecutive events.

Instagram: @kuzyutina89

Yulia KAZARINA -52kg

Two-time Grand Slam silver medallist KAZARINA, 28, makes her fifth appearance at a World Championships for Russia. The world number 69 has registered once in each Grand Prix medal column and has proved to be more than a back-up to the renowned KUZIUTINA. KAZARINA finished seventh at the Hohhot Grand Prix in May and won gold at the Saarbrucken European Cup in July.

Instagram: @ryzhik52

Anastasiia KONKINA -57kg

European Championships bronze medallist KONKINA, 24, will be one of the most highly-touted World Championships debutants in Baku. The world number 18 has won two Grand Prix events and earned bronze at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam last year. KONKINA will not be seeded but will be tipped to go on a run through the -57kg preliminaries.

Instagram: @a.a.konkina

Daria DAVYDOVA -63kg

Former Tashkent Grand Prix gold medallist DAVYDOVA, 27, is best-known for a silver medal at her home Grand Slam in 2016. World number 19 DAVYDOVA will compete at her third World Championships after previous forays in 2011 and 2017. Budapest 2017 saw the Russian defeat Hannah MARTIN (USA) with waza-ari scores from a ko-uchi-gari and osoto-makikomi before defeat to Martyna TRAJDOS (GER) from an ouchi-gari.

Instagram: @davydova063

Ekaterina VALKOVA -63kg

Four-time Grand Slam medallist VALKOVA, 27, was surprisingly defeated one contest into her World Championships debut a year ago. The Rio 2016 Olympian was forced to submit to a hadaka-jime strangle from Inbal SHEMESH (ISR) and will aim to atone for that defeat by fighting into the latter stages of the tournament in Baku.

Alena PROKOPENKO -70kg

Former Ekaterinburg Grand Slam silver medallist PROKOPENKO, 25, was introduced to the World Championships at Budapest 2017. The world number 30 made a winning start as Winnie GOFIT (NGR) was dispatched by ippon from a sumi-otoshi before Maria BERNABEU (ESP) pinned down the Russian with a kuzure-kesa-gatame for the maximum score.

Aleksandra BABINTSEVA -78kg

Former Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist BABINTSEVA, 25, makes her Worlds debut in Baku as Russia have opted not to send a female heavyweight. The world number 40 finished fifth at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February with a 3:2 record with all three victories coming by way of ippon.

Instagram: @babintsevaaleksandra

Robert MSHVIDOBADZE -60kg

Düsseldorf Grand Slam silver medallist MSHVIDOBADZE, 29, sits second in the world and is more prepared than he was 12 months ago to make a medal push at the World Championships. MSHVIDOBADZE won the European title and Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in 2017 but lost his opening Worlds contest against Phelipe PELIM (BRA) by ippon from a tate-shiho-gatame hold. The -60kg star won bronze at the Budapest Grand Prix in August.

Beslan MUDRANOV -60kg

Olympic champion MUDRANOV, 32, took silver at the World Championships in 2014. The world number 39 took over a year off before returning to competition at the end of 2017 and has been back amongst the medals this year. MUDRANOV won bronze at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and the European Championships and is well-placed to challenge for honours at Baku 2018.

Instagram: @beslan_mudranov_official

Mikhail PULIAEV -66kg

Three-time world silver medallist PULIAEV, 31, took silver at the Hohhot Grand Prix last time out. World number 17 PULIAEV has lost three finals in a row (2014, 2015 and 2017) and could again be on a collision course with defending champion ABE Hifumi (JPN). The Russian veteran went 4:1 in Inner Mongolia as he lost to MARUYAMA Joshiro (JPN) in the final on penalties.

Khasan KHALMURZAEV -81kg

Olympic champion KHALMURZAEV, 24, won bronze at the World Championships last year and will start as one of the favourites at Baku 2018. KHALMURZAEV won the World Judo Masters in December, bronze at the Agadir Grand Prix in March and silver at the Hohhot Grand Prix in May. Worlds gold is the only title missing from the honours list of the world number four.

Instagram: @khasan_khalmurzaev

KHALMURZAEV was crowned Olympic champion at Rio 2016

Aslan LAPPINAGOV -81kg

European Championships bronze medallist LAPPINAGOV, 25, is one of the most anticipated World Championships debutants at Baku 2018. The world number six took silver at the World Judo Masters at the end of 2017 as he fell to teammate KHALMURZAEV by a waza-ari score from a ko-uchi-gari. LAPPINAGOV has won bronze medals at the European Championships and the Düsseldorf Grand Slam this year.

Instagram: @aslan_lappinagov81

Khusen KHALMURZAEV -90kg

World Judo Masters silver medallist KHALMURZAEZ, 24, is the twin brother of Khasan KHALMURZAEV. Three-time Grand Prix gold medallist Khusen, who is ranked number 13 in the world, won the Agadir Grand Prix in March and is aiming to win his first Worlds medal at Baku 2018 a day after his brothers competes in the land of fire.

Mikhail IGOLNIKOV -90kg

European champion IGOLNIKOV, 21, could go all the way for Russia on his Worlds debut. The world number 17 is undefeated this year with gold medals from the Düsseldorf Grand Slam and the continental championships. IGOLNIKOV has built up a 20-fight winning-streak and is a fighter every judoka will be looking to avoid in the -90kg category.

Instagram: @igolnikov_m

Kirill DENISOV -100kg

Five-time world medallist DENISOV, 30, will be fighting with the incentive of finally wining gold at the sport’s annual extravaganza. Former -90kg judoka DENISOV has picked up two silver medals and won three bronze medals at the World Championships. The gritty Russian, who can be identified by the masses of white tape he uses on his battered fingers, won the Agadir Grand Prix in March.

Instagram: @denisov.kirill.judo

Niyaz ILYASOV -100kg

Ekaterinburg Grand Slam gold medallist ILYASOV, 23, makes his Worlds debut in Baku. The world number nine won the Zagreb Grand Prix in July to break into the world’s top 10 and his inclusion means that Russia will not field a heavyweight on day seven as they have a full complement of 18 judoka (nine men, nine women).

Instagram: @ilyasov_n_a

*Entry is subject to change. Teams are as of 30 August. This preview should not be reprinted or amended in any way without permission from the IJF.

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