Abe siblings on course to win the Worlds together in Baku
Junior world champion Abe Uta (JPN) eased to victory in the -52kg category in the first Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification event in China on Friday.
The 17-year-old wonderkid followed up on her superb Paris Grand Slam triumph with another festival of ippons to win her second Grand Prix title.
World number eight Abe was recently included in her country’s World Championships team for the first time and will fight on the same day as her brother and reigning -66kg world champion Abe Hifumi.
Abe Uta has now won four IJF World Judo Tour events in a row and incredibly has never lost to a foreign judoka.
“The Worlds will be my first big tournament and I feel some nerves,” said the Japanese ace.
“But my brother will be there and with that moral support I hope that both of us can win the World Championships together.”
Olympic silver medallist Smetov proves he’s still Kazakhstan’s number one
Kazakhstan fan favourite Yeldos Smetov, the 2015 world champion, has now won back-to-back IJF events for the first time since 2015 and is back to his best in 2018.
Smetov, who became a national treasure when he won the IJF World Judo Tour’s crown jewel at home in Astana, beat Kazakh opposition to win -60kg gold in Hohhot.
Agadir Grand Prix winner Gusman Kyrgyzbayev (KAZ) has took some of the limelight away from his more accomplished teammate this year but Smetov showed who rules the men’s lightest category in Kazakhstan with a ruthless outing in the final.
Smetov also beat a teammate in 2015 World Championships final as Rustam Ibrayev took silver and has shown that his country can always depend him.
“The -60kg category among Kazakh judoka is considered as one of the most popular weights.”
Smetov downplayed his own success and suggested that there is a long of talented youngsters ready to burst onto the scene from Kazakhstan.
“We have a lot of young Kazakh judoka that I am sure will conquer the whole world.”