Qualifying events for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are getting limited, and that is why judoka from 17 nations will take part in the International German Judo Championships on Saturday (6 February) in Heidelberg.
Ukraine’s Davyd Khorava (men’s up to 66 kg) is expected to have a strong competition to build upon last year’s success. Khorava finished in second during the European Championships in November in Odivelas, Portugal, and currently ranks third in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) world rankings.
Khorava’s strongest competition could come from Brazil’s Mayco Rodrigues. Rodriguez is looking to bounce back after a disappointing fifth place finish in the August’s Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and is currently ranked No. 20.
Top-ranked Dmytro Solovey (up to 73 kg) will also be competing. Solovey is coming off a second place finish at the European Championships. Algeria’s Mehdi Meskine should provide Solovey some strong competition. Meskine finished third in August’s World Games in Seoul, South Korea. He currently sits seventh in the IBSA rankings.
The men’s up to 81 kg have a strong competition ahead of them with three of the top 10 ranked IBSA competitors. Ukraine’s No. 1 Olexandr Kosinov, France’s No. 2 Cyril Jonard and Great Britain’s No. 7 Jonathan Drane are expected to battle for podium spots. Jonard will be looking for redemption after finishing fifth behind Kosinov’s third at the Seoul World Games.
The USA’s 2014 world champion Dartanyon Crockett and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Nazarenko lead the men’s up to 90 kg class. Crockett currently sits second in the IBSA rankings, ahead of Nazarenko at fourth.
Three of the top four ranked in the women’s up to 52 kg will compete. Top ranked Ukrainian Nataliya Nikolaychyk leads the field. Nikolaychyk finished second at the Seoul World Games. Canada’s No. 3 Priscilla Gagne looks to improve off her second place finish from the Toronto 2015 Parapans. France’s No. 4 Sandrine Martinet is hoping to build off her third spot from Seoul.
Ukraine’s Inna Cherniak and Brazil’s Lucia Araujo head the up to 57 kg. Cherniak sits atop the IBSA rankings, with Araujo in second. Araujo finished first at the Toronto Parapan Games, while Cherniak finished second at the Seoul World Games.
IBSA top ranked Iryna Husieva of Ukraine leads the women up to 63 kg and is coming off a third place finish from Seoul.
Belarusian Arina Kachan leads the women’s over 70 kg. Kachan is ranked second in the IBSA rankings and last finished second at Seoul.
Countries expected to participate in the Championships include: Great Britain, Ukraine, USA, Spain, Brazil, Lithuania, Sweden, Algeria, Portugal, Romania, Puerto Rico, Latvia, Belarus and France.