How long does it take to build a respectable Olympic ranking? A couple of good years, a whole Olympic cycle or is the answer really that it takes a lifetime? With just 100 days to go until the Paris Olympic Games 2024, the seeding is becoming clearer and the names we have learned to expect aligned with podium finishes are making their final adjustments to finalise seeding at the most eagerly awaiting meet of the current Olympiad. The Olympic Ranking List (ORL) number ones may not yet be confirmed for the big days ahead but the list is still fascinating. How much might it change by the end of qualification in June?

-48 kg: Assunta Scutto (ITA)

The 22 year old Italian doesn’t yet have a senior world or continental title, hasn’t won the Masters but a junior world title and two senior world bronzes aren’t a bad indictment of a career that is being formed into something very special indeed.

Abu Dhabi 2023.

Assunta Scutto can throw, she can play on the ground and she can strategise. She’s fast enough that no matter how well prepared an opponent might be, she could still catch them and that makes her incredibly dangerous.

Despite still missing the biggest senior titles, she’s a force to be reckoned with and in the French capital, in exactly 100 days time, she will be one of the names to watch. Her ranking isn’t an accident and it is likely that the medal tally will expand rapidly from this point. With Tsunoda (JPN) and Boukli (FRA) chasing her on the ranking list though, the Olympic Games may or may not be her day.

-52 kg: Distria Krasniqi (KOS)

Kosovo's -48 kg Olympic champion Krasniqi with coach Kelmendi, -52 kg Olympic champion.

One of the trio of Kosovan Olympic champions confirmed over the last two cycles, Krasniqi took the title in Rio at -48 kg before moving up to -52’s. It didn’t take long for her to land that jump securely, planting herself on countless rostra since making that change. Kelmendi, her predecessor in the category, now coaching for Kosovo, left her an incredible legacy on which to build and should she win in Paris, Krasniqi would not only join the current list of only 15 humans ever to win more than one Olympic gold medal in judo but with the added difficulty rating applied when doing it in two weights, just as Krpalek did. She will have her work cut out for her though as Abe (JPN) is after the same second gold, while Buchard is working to improve on her Tokyo medal. Keldiyorova has also shown that Krasniqi doesn’t scare her. This category is not fought by the faint hearted!

-57 kg: Christa Deguchi (CAN)

The anomaly of all anomalies lies here, at -57 kg. The clear leader in the group is Christa but no-one knows if she will even compete in Paris. Until she is 2000 points clear of Klimkait, second on the ORL, the Abu Dhabi World Championships clouds her skies, making any selection changeable. Gold at the worlds offers 2000 points in a 6th result slot and if Klimkait were the victor in UAE, she could steal what otherwise looks like a safe seat. Klimkait took the Tokyo ticket and won’t give up on her goal of doing it again for Paris.

Baku 2024.

This rivalry has been brutal for two whole cycles and despite Deguchi being world champion in each of them, her nomination remains unclear. What happens once one of them arrives in Paris is another story altogether, one which is likely to feature a number of challengers, from Monteiro competing in her 6th Olympic Games, Gjakova looking for her second Olympic gold, Cysique training to upgrade her Tokyo silver in front a home crowd or event Silva, also looking for. A second gold. The category is stacked and not a single prediction is safe, not even which Canadian will make it to France in July.

-63 kg: Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN)

Here there is a Canadian whom is certain to receive her ticket to the party. Beauchemin-Pinard is one of the most consistent medal-winners on the circuit, highly regarded as a humble workhorse who never slips off her schedule. She’s the number one in the world, catchable but in a great position knowing that she can still improve upon her points total in the weeks ahead.

Tel Aviv 2023.

The number two in the category has a lot to prove and won't give the Canadian much slack. Takaichi has not yet medalled at the Games, despite this being her third shot. This is an anomaly for Japanese judoka as most medal on the back of an Olympic selection and not to do so twice will weigh heavily on her mind. It will also be her driver and a place in the final will be the only thing she sees ahead of her.

Oh and by the way, there’s a massive name missing here, the most massive of them all: Clarisse Agbegnenou. She has a gold and a silver as well as a team gold. Another individual title to pin up next to her 6 world titles might just make her the undisputed queen of women’s judo, the greatest of all time! The Canadian will have to be on her A-game to take the Olympic win that aligns with her current ranking.

-70 kg: Barbara Matic (CRO)

Paris Grand Slam 2024

Croatia’s most successful judoka of all time is in the perfect place to earn herself an easy draw at the Games. Well, of course, easy isn’t really easy at the Olympics is it? However, pole position can provide a little light relief in the early rounds. This will be Matic’s third time of trying for the elusive medal. She was unplaced in Rio and has a fifth place from Tokyo. If the trend continues, her upswing could see her on the podium in Paris. She knows she can beat everyone; two world titles prove it. But the big question is, can she beat herself on the big day? The Games is different no matter who you are, what you’ve won or how hard you’ve worked; a little magic is also required.

-78 kg: Inbar Lanir (ISR)

Lanir is only 200 points clear of the pack in the ORL, a determined Bellandi (ITA) in second place. The Israeli shocked herself with world gold in Doha but she has barely looked over her shoulder since. Even though she is already the number one on the list, she also has space to improve, more points to be earned and giving herself a buffer is undoubtedly her target in the coming weeks. She is planning to compete at both the continental and world championships ahead and results at either would certainly be pleasing.

Winning the 2023 World Judo Masters.

In Paris it won’t only be the Italian hunting the crown. Germany, France, China, Japan and Ukraine all have excellent prospects and the gold is likely to remain unassigned until the last possible moment, such is the unpredictability of the category.

+78 kg: Romane Dicko (FRA)

Dicko is the only member of the home team at the top of their respective Olympic Ranking List. She is pushing herself to achieve more, endure more and learn more at every turn, determined to fly the French flag on day 7 of the Olympic Games. She is likely to feel the pressure of Teddy’s much-awaited victory and want to match it, giving France a double celebration on the last day of the individual event, a truly historic achievement for France Judo.

She's practised celebrating this feeling in Paris already this year and she wants to do it again.

Dicko has won her last 4 tournaments including taking her third Masters title in Hungary last year. She won’t make it easy for anyone to take away her dream. Hershko, Kim and Sone are the chasers rather than the hunters because Romane Dicko will never ever see herself as prey!

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