The most important event of the year began and here we leave you a guide of the athletes that will compete for Panamerica in Baku 2018.
This is a great work of Mark Pickering and here we collect Panamerican athletes that are a total of 120 judokas
Paula PARETO -48kg
Olympic champion PARETO, 32, last won IJF gold at the 2015 World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Athlete Role Model, who was congratulated for her Olympic victory by Lionel MESSI on social media, remains an underdog due to her sporadic appearances on the IJF World Judo Tour while her closest rivals have been highly-active in 2018.
Keisy PERAFAN -48kg
Pan American Championships silver medallist PERAFAN, 22, trains with PARETO on a daily basis which has helped to accelerate her progression. The San Luis judoka lost out to her country’s most successful judoka of all time in the continental final this year by ippon. PERAFAN has trained at Teikyo University in Tokyo alongside PARETO in preparation for Baku 2018.
Emmanuel LUCENTI -81kg
Three-time Olympian LUCENTI, 33, struck IJF Grand Prix gold in his 16th attempt last year to become the first man from Argentina to win IJF World Judo Tour gold. LUCENTI finished seventh at London 2012 after losing to eventual champion KIM Jae-Bum (KOR) in the quarter-finals and subsequent bronze medallist Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER (CAN) in the repechage. The Argentine has fought at every World Championships since debuting in 2007.
Tomas MORALES -81kg
Córdoba judoka MORALES, 26, is the understudy to LUCENTI, and has earned his second call-up to an IJF World Championships. The Pan American Open silver medallist produced a credible showing at Budapest 2017 as he lost to Egypt’s Mohamed ABDELAAL in the third round. MORALES is yet to medal outside of the Americas at a ranking event.
Hector CAMPOS +100kg
Hailing from Viedma, Rio Negro and now residing in Buenos Aires, CAMPOS, 30, is best known for his silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam in 2012 a month before gracing the Olympics for the first time in London. The former -90kg and -100kg judoka joined the heavyweight ranks last year and will be looking for scalps in judo’s heaviest weight category having once upset London 2012 Olympic champion SONG Dae-Nam (KOR) and World Judo Masters bronze medallist CIRJENICS Miklos (HUN) in the aforementioned divisions.
Isaac CROES -60kg
CROES, 22, is based out of the USA as he is studying in Orlando and trains out of Sasaki Judo Club in central Florida. Isaac has tasted Grand Prix, Grand Slam and World Championships action on the IJF World Judo Tour and recorded his first contest win on the elite stage when he beat Al Rolan LLAMAS (PHI) at the Tokyo Grand Slam last year.
Breanna MAJOR -70kg
MAJOR, 18, who comes from Nassau City, New Providence, Bahamas, will travel abroad for a judo competition for the first time. The koshi-guruma technician will be introduced to international competition at the global spectacle that is the World Championships to accelerate her development and with one eye on the Junior World Championships in Nassau, Bahamas in October. MAJOR has been performing well on the national stage and is a long-term hope for the nation that hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games last year.
Gabriela CHIBANA -48kg
Two-time Grand Prix winner CHIBANA, 25, teams up with her cousin Charles Chibana for World Championships duty for the first time in her career. Cancun Grand Prix winner CHIBANA, who comes from one of the most famous and biggest judo families in Brazil, started her Tokyo 2020 qualification campaign with a fifth-place finish at the Hohhot Grand Prix in May after losing out to former world champion MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) for bronze.
Erika MIRANDA -52kg
Judo Sogipa ace MIRANDA, 31, has been prolific at the World Championships with medal-winning performances in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. The four-time Grand Slam winner has won one silver and three bronze at the Worlds but never gold. The Brazilian veteran, who will be seeded for Baku, has been fine tuning her skills in Celje, Slovenia with her own teammate PORTELA and members of the Slovenian national team including Olympic -57kg champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO).
Jessica PEREIRA -52kg
Tunis Grand Prix winner PEREIRA, 23, has come to the fore post-Rio 2016 and has started to put her teammate MIRANDA under pressure. Only one of them can compete at an Olympics but both can be called upon for a World Championships and PEREIRA has received the nod to make her first appearance at the annual supershow. The young Brazilian won bronze at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in March before winning the Pan American Championships and is one of the form judoka in the category.
Rafaela SILVA -57kg
Olympic champion and 2013 world champion Rafaela SILVA, 26, produced one of the most famous victories at the Rio 2016 Games. A product of Instituto Reação, a social project headed by Brazilian legend Flavio CANTO, SILVA became the first Brazilian women to win the Worlds in 2013 and again won in her home city of Rio de Janeiro at her country’s first Olympics. SILVA won the Budapest Grand Prix in August after winning all five of her contests in the Hungarian capital.
Ketleyn QUADROS -63kg
Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist QUADROS, 30, won the Cancun Grand Prix last year to prolong her top-flight career. The veteran judoka is now in her fourth Olympic cycle and will be confident of matching or improving on her seventh-place finish from a year ago. QUADROS has produced fifth-place finishes this year at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam and Hohhot Grand Prix.
Maria PORTELA -70kg
World Judo Masters winner PORTELA, 30, is in the prime of her career. The Porto Alegre judoka has now won Grand Prix gold, Grand Slam gold and World Judo Masters gold and will be tipped to open her World Championships medal account in Baku. PORTELA made her Worlds debut in 2009 and will be a key member for Brazil this year in both the individual and team competition.
Mayra AGUIAR -78kg
Two-time and reigning world champion AGUIAR, 27, has not won gold in her six events since regaining the world crown last year. However, Judo Sogipa fighter AGUIAR has placed in all six events including a silver medal at the Hohhot Grand Prix, the first Tokyo 2020 qualification event, and always raises her game on the biggest stage as her two Olympic bronze medals can attest to.
Maria Suelen ALTHEMAN +78kg
Four-time Grand Slam winner ALTHEMAN, 30, is a two-time World Championships finalist but came away with silver in 2013 and 2014. The vastly-experienced heavyweight exited the Worlds in the preliminaries in 2015 and 2017 but has been in around the medals since then including bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam, World Judo Masters and most recently the Hohhot Grand Prix.
Beatriz SOUZA +78kg
World Championships newcomer SOUZA, 20, is in her first full year on the IJF World Judo Tour but has already captured Grand Prix and Grand Slam honours. The two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist also took silver at the Tunis Grand Prix this year to break into the world’s top 10 on the IJF World Ranking List for the first time in her career.
Eric TAKABATAKE -60kg
Former Havana Grand Prix gold medallist TAKABATAKE, 27, makes his fourth appearance at a World Championships when he competes for Brazil in Baku. In 2014 and 2015, TAKABATAKE advanced to the third round while last year he fell in his opening contest to former world champion Yeldos SMETOV (KAZ). The -60kg judoka won bronze at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February.
Phelipe PELIM -60kg
Four-time Grand Prix medallist PELIM, 28, is Brazil’s number two at -60kg behind TAKABATAKE. São Paulo-based PELIM had a breakout year on the IJF World Judo Tour in 2017 as he won bronze in Düsseldorf and Tbilisi and silver at the Cancun Grand Prix. PELIM won a brace of contests on his first Worlds start a year ago before exiting the competition in round three against Mukhriddin TILOVOV (UZB).
Daniel CARGNIN -66kg
Junior world champion CARGNIN, 20, stepped onto a senior IJF medal podium for the first time in 2018 and will now take on the best judoka in the world at his first World Championships. Judo Sogipa starlet CARGNIN took silver at the Tbilisi Grand Prix as he has been gradually exposed to bigger events by the CBJ and will be a name to keep tabs on in this Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle and beyond.
Charles CHIBANA -66kg
Two-time Grand Slam winner CHIBANA, 28, will make his fifth start at a World Championships in Baku. Former world number one CHIBANA recorded his best result at home in Rio de Janeiro in 2013 when he finished fifth after losing out to FUKUOKA Masaaki (JPN). The Brazilian has not medalled since May 2017 but could string together a run of wins with a favourable draw.
Eduardo Yudy SANTOS -81kg
Japan-born SANTOS, 23, arrived on the IJF World Judo Tour in 2017 and made an immediate impression. The São Paulo judoka finished fifth when he debuted at the Paris Grand Slam, one of the sport’s flagship events. SANTOS placed seventh at the Tokyo Grand Slam and fifth at the invite-only World Judo Masters before earning his first IJF silverware in January when he won bronze at the Tunis Grand Prix.
Victor PENALBER -81kg
Former world bronze medallist PENALBER, 28, is one the most experienced and renowned judoka in Brazil’s team for Baku 2018. The former world number one won his first IJF gold medal back at the last edition of the Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam in 2012. PENALBER is under pressure to follow the exploits of previous incumbents Tiago CAMILO and Flavio CANTO who both won Olympic bronze at -81kg.
Rafael MACEDO -90kg
Former Junior World Championships winner MACEDO, 23, is at the forefront of a new generation, the Tokyo 2020 generation, that Brazil have turned to post-Rio 2016. MACEDO stamped his name on the IJF World Judo Tour last year when he captured a silver medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix. The osoto-gari expert won the Tbilisi Grand Prix in March as he won all four of his contests to strike gold and could spring a surprise or two in Baku on his first start at the World Championships.
David MOURA +100kg
World silver medallist MOURA, 31, was left out of the Rio 2016 team in favour of his teammate Rafael SILVA. MOURA, who is also fluent in English, reacted in the best possible way by taking his career to unchartered heights with his first Grand Prix win, his first Grand Slam win and a career-best World Championships final where he lost out to Teddy RINER (FRA). MOURA will be seeded and will have the belief that he can go all the way in Azerbaijan.
Rafael SILVA +100kg
Double Olympic bronze medallist SILVA, 31, has won medals on every stage in the sport and is well-placed to challenge in Azerbaijan. The former world number one has won three World Championships medals and has form in 2018 after picking up bronze medals at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam and Hohhot Grand Prix. SILVA will also be seeded as Brazil double up at +100kg and will have a major role in the deciding the destination of the world heavyweight title for 2018.
Ecaterina GUICA -52kg
Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist GUICA, 24, has been a regular on the IJF World Judo Tour since 2014. The Rio 2016 Olympian has won two Grand Prix medals and managed a fifth-place at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam last year. Montreal-based GUICA donned her judogi for Canada at the World Championships in 2015 and 2017 and will be confident of winning a contest at the IJF’s blue ribbon event at her third attempt.
Christa DEGUCHI -57kg
Paris Grand Slam winner DEGUCHI, 22, has been a revelation in 2018. The former Japan international, who still resides in the host country of next Olympiad, has already won five gold medals this year including at the Pan American Championships, Hohhot Grand Prix and Zagreb Grand Prix. DEGUCHI had pitched a 26-0 record this year, with all her victories coming by way of ippon, until the Budapest Grand Prix in August when was submitted by Olympic champion Rafaela SILVA (BRA). Self-described animal fact expert DEGUCHI, who started judo when she was three, makes her World Championships debut in Azerbaijan.
Jessica KLIMKAIT -57kg
Three-time Grand Prix medallist KLIMKAIT, 21, won back-to-back silver medals at the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification phase. KLIMKAIT finished second in Hohhot and Croatia behind teammate DEGUCHI who holds a 3:0 record over the former this year. Canada are blessed with two world-class judoka at -57kg and KLIMKAIT graced the stage last year as she reached round three and was also part of the team event as Canada finished fifth.
Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD -63kg
Five-time Grand Prix medallist BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD, 24, moved up from -57kg to -63kg in 2017 and has quickly made her presence felt at the heavier weight. BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD, who started judo at the age of nine, won bronze in Zagreb and Hohhot this year to kickstart her qualification bid for Tokyo 2020 which would be her second Olympic Games following Rio 2016. The former Junior World Championships bronze medallist fights at -63kg at the senior Worlds for the first time in her career.
Stefanie TREMBLAY -63kg
Canada also call on TREMBLAY, 28, at -63kg. The Hague Grand Prix bronze medallist will be competing at her fifth World Championships and will be hoping to achieve her first contest win on the biggest annual stage in the sport since 2013 when she humbled Jaione EQUISOAIN (ESP) by ippon. TREMBLAY has recorded two fifth-place finishes this year at the Pan American Championships and at the Budapest Grand Prix in August.
Kelita ZUPANCIC -70kg
Former world number one ZUPANCIC, 28, has long been a prolific medallist for her country on the IJF World Judo Tour. The nine-time Grand Prix medallist and 10-time Grand Slam medallist will be making her seventh appearance at the crown jewel of the IJF circuit. The Ontario judoka, whose a two-time Olympian, has already enjoyed one of her best years after winning a trio of silver medals at Grand Prix in Tbilisi, Agadir and Hohhot as well as bronze in Budapest.
Emily BURT -70kg
Montreal-based BURT, 20, is in her first full year on the IJF World Judo Tour and will be competing at the World Championships for the first time. BURT, who has a thunderous harai-goshi, earned a bronze medal at the Odivelas European Open in February and then quickly gained top-level experience with outings at the Paris Grand Slam and Grand Prix in Zagreb and Budapest.
Arthur MARGELIDON -73kg
Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist MARGELIDON, 24, has become a household name in the -73kg category after using his Rio 2016 nightmare as fuel for a new Olympic bid. The Quebec judoka broke his arm one month before the Olympics and agonisingly had to watch from home. MARGELIDON made a name for himself at the Tokyo Grand Slam last year when he was a shock finalist as home judoka TATSUKAWA Arata (JPN) prevailed on shidos in a scoreless contest. The Canadian won bronze at the Budapest Grand Prix in August with his only defeat coming in the semi-final against eventual gold medallist UNGVARI Miklos (HUN).
Antoine BOUCHARD -73kg
Pan American Championships winner BOUCHARD, 24, will contest his fourth World Championships as part of a 13-strong Canadian team. The Montreal judoka had the competition of his life at the Rio 2016 Olympics as he defeated standouts including World Championships silver medallist Mikhail PULIAEV (RUS) and former world number one DAVAADORJ Tumurkhuleg (MGL) to finish with a 4:2 record. BOUCHARD lost his bronze medal contest against three-time world champion EBINUMA Masashi (JPN).
Etienne BRIAND -81kg
Two-time Grand Prix medallist BRIAND, 25, has seen World Championships action in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. BRIAND has not won a contest at that level yet but has made a mark elsewhere on the IJF World Judo Tour after taking a silver medal at the Cancun Grand Prix last year and bronze at the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam. Quebec fighter BRIAND will be unseeded at his first competition in Azerbaijan.
Zachary BURT -90kg
Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist BURT, 25, was a last-minute addition to the Canada team for Baku 2018. BURT will compete at this second World Championships following his introduction last year in Budapest where he went 1:1 in the individual event. The Tokyo 2020 hopeful was also part of the Canadian group who finished fifth in the team event and with his colleagues will present an even stronger bid for honours on the last day of the competition this year.
Louis KRIEBER GAGNON -90kg
Former Cadet World Championships winner KRIEBER GAGNON, 22, is still early in his transition to the senior level but has shown glimpses of his enormous potential. KRIEBER GAGNON put together back-to-back wins at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December before finishing in seventh-place. In July he again recorded a brace of wins, this time at the Zagreb Grand Prix, before falling in the third round to Max STEWART (GBR).
Kyle REYES -100kg
Rio 2016 Olympian REYES, 24, is a highly-exciting -100kg protagonist who won the Junior World Championships in 2013. Toronto native REYES now resides in Setagaya, Japan, and speaks fluent Japanese. The three-time Grand Slam silver medallist has become a firm fan favourite for his gallant style which saw him step up a category to take on standout heavyweights Daniel NATEA (ROU), Rafael SILVA (BRA), Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO) and KIM Sungmin (KOR) in back-to-back contests in the Worlds team competition last year.
Mary Dee VARGAS LEY -48kg
Former Junior Pan American Championships bronze medallist VARGAS LEY, 21, campaigned at the World Championships for the first time last year. The Santiago-based prospect lost her first contest against Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) who went on to finish fifth in Budapest. VARGAS LEY has been highly-active with six competitions already under her belt this year and walked away from the Santiago Open with silver and took bronze at the Buenos Aires Open.
Thomas BRICENO -100kg
Former Rio de Janeiro Grand Slam bronze medallist BRICENO, 24, will make his third World Championships appearance in Baku. BRICENO, who finished seventh at the Cancun Grand Prix last year, graced the Worlds stage in 2015 and 2017 and will be hoping to achieve his first contest win at his third attempt. Rio 2016 Olympian BRICENO defeated Ibrahim KHALAF (JOR) at the Games before losing out to former world champion GWAK Donghan (KOR) who eventually won bronze in Brazil.
Francisco SOLIS +100kg
Junior Pan American Championships winner SOLIS, 19, makes his World Championships debut in Azerbaijan. The Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist, who lives in Osorno, Chile, saw Grand Prix action in July and August in Europe. SOLIS lost to world number one Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) in Zagreb and to former Junior World Championships bronze medallist Ruslan SHAKHBAZOV (RUS) in Budapest.
Yuri ALVEAR -70kg
Three-time world champion ALVEAR, 32, is a sporting idol in Colombia and beyond. The Jamundí, Valle del Cauca, native won her first World Championships title in 2009 and nearly a decade later is still at the peak of her powers. ALVEAR won her second world crown in 2013 and a third in 2014. The Colombian legend, who trains extensively in Japan under the tutelage of her coach HAYAKAWA Noriyuki, finished seventh at the Beijing Olympics, won bronze in London, silver in Rio and is now in line to reach her fourth Olympic Games.
Leider NAVARRO -73kg
Junior Pan American Championships winner NAVARRO, 20, is one of the most exciting young judoka from South America. NAVARRO has been handed his first start on the IJF World Judo Tour by the Colombian management after impressing on the junior stage and will be one to look out for in Baku and throughout this Olympic cycle.
Francisco BALANTA -90kg
Junior Pan American Championships gold medallist BALANTA, 20, was born in Jamundi and currently resides in Cali, Colombia. BALANTA won all of his contests at the u20 continental championships by ippon including against Brazilian, America and Argentine opposition. The former -81kg competitor finished fifth at the senior Pan American Championships this year and should not be overlooked on his introduction to the World Championships.
Costa Rica (CRC)
Diana BRENES -78kg
Pan American Championships bronze medallist BRENES, 21, made her World Championships debut last year with a losing effort against the hugely experienced Bernadette GRAF (AUT). The San Jose judoka has never fought at a Grand Prix or a Grand Slam but has regularly seen action in her own continent and has a growing reputation in Pan America.
Ian SANCHO CHINCHILA -66kg
El Salvador Open bronze medallist SANCHO CHINCHILA, 25, is a three-time World Championships participant. The Costa Rican grabbed his first contest win at the IJF’s premier event in 2017 when he defeated Artur CARLOS JUNIOR (MOZ) with his seoi-nage. Former world champion Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) was waiting in round three and beat SANCHO CHINCHILA with his uchi-mata. The -66kg talent lives in Hadano, Kanagawa, Japan where he studies at the world famous Tokai University which is one of the world’s most sought after training locations for an elite judoka.
David GUILLEN VARGAS -81kg
Former Junior Pan American Championships silver medallist GUILLEN VARGAS, 22, made his World Championships bow in 2017. The youngster started with a win as he beat Alfred LINGUNI (MAW) with an ippon-seoi-nage after just 10 seconds before suffering a defeat against CSOKNYAI Laszlo (HUN). GUILLEN VARGAS won two contests at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam including the dismissal of Achraf MOUTII (MAR) with a ura-nage.
Melissa HURTADO MUNOZ -48kg
Junior World Championships bronze medallist HURTADO MUNOZ, 19, steps up to the senior stage this year. The teenager finished fifth at the Havana Grand Prix in 2016 which stands as the best senior result in her young career which is expected to blossom on the road to Tokyo 2020. HURTADO MUNOZ finished fifth at the Pan American Championships in April and lost on penalties in her opening contest at August’s Budapest Grand Prix against Dilara LOKMANHEKIM (TUR).
Anailys DORVIGNY -57kg
Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist DORVIGNY, 26, made her World Championships debut in 2013. The Havana judoka defeated Tina ZELTNER (AUT) by a waza-ari score in Rio de Janeiro before being humbled by YAMAMOTO Anzu (JPN) by ippon. Last year DORVIGNY bested Amelie STOLL (GER) with an ouchi-gari before being held down by LIEN Chen-Ling (TPE) with a kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame hold.
Maylin DEL TORO CARVAJAL -63kg
Santiago de Cuba judoka DEL TORO CARVAJAL, 23, is a two-time and reigning Pan American Championships gold medallist. DEL TORO CARVAJAL shocked Olympic champion Tina TRSTENJAK (SLO) at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam in February by throwing the Slovenian star twice with uchi-mata. The Cuban prospect finished fifth in Germany with a 3:2 record. All three wins came by ippon while DEL TORO CARVAJAL went the distance in her two defeats which came by waza-ari scores.
Kaliema ANTOMARCHI -78kg
World bronze medallist ANTOMARCHI, 30, broke down in tears when she won her first major medal a year ago after a tumultuous day in Budapest. The Cuban veteran defeated Kaouthar OUALLAL (ALG) by a tate-shiho-gatame and then saw off ERDELYI-JOO Abigel (HUN) with an okuri-ashi-barai after five minutes of golden score in a titanic tussle. In the quarter-final the Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist was held down by UMEKI Mami (JPN) with a kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame for ippon. Perennial underdogs, Cuban judoka have a steely resolve and ANTOMARCHI returned to winning ways by throwing Assunta GALEONE (ITA) with a tani-otoshi before edging past SATO Ruika (JPN) with her same trusted technique for world bronze.
Idalys ORTIZ +78kg
Cuba’s all-time great ORTIZ, 28, has won all three colours of Olympic honours and won the World Championships in 2013 and 2014. Charismatic heavyweight ORTIZ starred in the Cuba #JudoForTheWorld Cuba film where she revealed that she would walk five kilometres to and from judo training as a child. ORTIZ won bronze in Beijing, gold in London and silver in Rio and this year’s World Championships is a key part of her build-up to her bid for a fourth Olympic medal.
Osniel SOLIS -66kg
Two-time and reigning Pan American Championships gold medallist SOLIS, 27, reached round two on his World Championships initiation last year. SOLIS defeated Sebastian SEIDL (GER) by a waza-ari with koshi-waza in the first round before being halted by Tal FLICKER (ISR) by ippon from a tani-otoshi. The talented Cuban is still looking to translate his Pan American success into international honours and Baku 2018 is the perfect time to make a run through the rounds towards the podium.
Magdiel ESTRADA -73kg
Former Havana Grand Prix silver medallist ESTRADA, 24, will be making his fifth trip to a World Championships for Cuba. The Rio 2016 Olympian won two contests at the Worlds in 2013 and matched that effort in 2017. ESTRADA has won bronze at the Lima Open and silver at the Pan American Championships this year while most recently falling at the first hurdle at the Budapest Grand Prix in August against Jorge FERNANDES (POR).
Ivan Felipe SILVA MORALES -90kg
Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist SILVA MORALES, 22, is in form ahead of his third tilt at World Championships glory. The former Astana Grand Prix winner has showed his quality on the IJF World Judo Tour over the last couple of years as he qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics but is yet to impose himself on proceedings at the Worlds. SILVA MORALES went 5:1 in Budapest last time out with his only defeating coming against world number one Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB).
Asley GONZALEZ -90kg
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist GONZALEZ, 28, is the most esteemed member of Cuba’s men’s team at Baku 2018. GONZALEZ followed up his Olympic medal by winning the World Championships a year later in Rio de Janeiro and has long been a standout performer on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Rio 2016 Olympian took a silver medal at the Zagreb Grand Prix in July as he finished with a 5:1 record including a commanding victory over world champion Nemanja MAJDOV (SRB).
Andy GRANDA +100kg
Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist GRANDA, 26, finished fifth at the Openweight World Championships last year as he registered three contest wins before losing to heavyweight kingpin Teddy RINER (FRA) and teammate Alex GARCIA MENDOZA (CUB) for bronze. GRANDA, who hails from Jovellanos but now resides in Matanzas, has made a permanent move from -100kg to the heavyweight category this year and beat Mongolian legend NAIDAN Tuvshinbayar (MGL) in April on his way to bronze at Turkey’s Grand Prix.
Dominican Republic (DOM)
Diana DE JESUS -52kg
Former Pan American Open silver medallist DE JESUS, 26, joins the World Championships stage for the second year in a row. DE JESUS was overpowered by BISHRELT Khorloodoi (MGL) with a kami-shiho-gatame hold on her Worlds debut last year but has clearly made improvements in 2018. The Dominican Republic judoka finished fifth at the Pan American Championships in April and won bronze at the Central American and Caribbean Games in July.
Ana ROSA -57kg
Pan American Open gold medallist ROSA, 20, made her first start at a World Championships in 2017. Santo Domingo judoka ROSA was pinned down by KWON Youjeong (KOR) for ippon with a kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame. The IJF World Judo Tour beginner added two contest wins to her record at the Madrid European Open in June before a third round loss to Johanna MUELLER (GER) by ippon.
Wander MATEO -66kg
Rio 2016 Olympian MATEO, 29, fought at the 2013 and 2017 World Championships but his best performance took place on the grandest stage of all. MATEO won back-to-back contests at South America’s first Olympics before falling to Japanese all-time great EBINUMA Masashi (JPN) and Rishod SOBIROV (UZB) who both went on to win bronze. MATEO, who had a short-lived spell in the -60kg category from 2010 to 2012, is a wily veteran who arrives in Azerbaijan on the back of winning bronze at the Central American and Caribbean Games.
Medickson DEL ORBE CORTORREAL -81kg
Pan American Championships silver medallist DEL ORBE CORTORREAL, 22, makes his World Championships debut on the back of a fine run of results in 2018. DEL ORBE CORTORREAL took silver at the continental championships in April after winning four contests in a row by ippon. Jorge MARTINEZ (CUB), Emmanuel LUCENTI (ARG), Noel PENA (VEN) and Juan Diego TURCIOS (ESA) were all thwarted by the Dominican Republic judoka who lost out to world-class operator Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER (CAN) in the final.
Robert FLORENTINO -90kg
Junior World Championships silver medallist FLORENTINO, 21, won bronze at the Pan American Championships in April and silver at the Madrid European Open two months later as he continues to grow in stature on the international stage. FLORENTINO fights out of Spanish outfit Valencia Judo Club which houses a host of highly-talented judoka from the Americas who are based in Europe to ease their access to major events and to accelerate their development.
Jose NOVA ALCANTARA -100kg
Pan American Open silver medallist NOVA ALCANTARA, 21, makes his second challenge at the World Championships this year. The two-time Junior Pan American Cup winner jumped up two weight categories in 2016 as he went from -81kg directly to -100kg and that immediately paid dividends on the u20 age group stage. NOVA ALCANTARA defeated Daniel DICHEV (BUL) in his Worlds bow last year before being caught by Portuguese powerhouse Jorge FONSECA in round two with a thunderous osoto-gari.
Lewis MEDINA -100kg
Pan American Championships silver medallist MEDINA, 22, produced his best judo at his continental championships in April. MEDINA conquered Isao CARDENAS (MEX), former world silver medallist Jose ARMENTEROS (CUB) and L.A. SMITH III (USA) all by ippon before running out of steam against former Junior World Championships runner-up Leonardo GONCALVES (BRA) in the final. MEDINA has a habit of accumulating unnecessary shido penalties and will have to eliminate that part of his game when he meets the best judoka in the world in Baku.
Estefania GARCIA -63kg
Former Pan American Championships gold medallist GARCIA, 30, has campaigned on the IJF World Judo Tour since 2012. The Rio 2016 Olympian has enjoyed much of her success in her home continent with four near misses on the international circuit having finished fifth at a Grand Prix on two occasions and in the same position at a Grand Slam two times. GARCIA recorded a win at the Olympics as she came out on top in an untidy shido battle against Mamadama BANGOURA (GUI) who was reprimanded for a final time for passivity. The South American Championships bronze medallist was humbled in the subsequent round by Kathrin UNTERWURZACHER (AUT) from a uchi-mata-gaeshi.
Vanessa CHALA -78kg
Pan American Championships bronze medallist CHALA, 28, will compete at her fifth World Championships in Azerbaijan. CHALA had her best day at the IJF’s blockbuster event in 2015 when she won back-to-back contests. The veteran vanquished Zhanar KASHKYN (KAZ) in round one and stunned Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER) by ippon from a ura-nage in round two. Lior WILDIKAN (ISR) tapped out CHALA in round three with a juji-gatame. The hane-goshi specialist moved up from -70kg to -78kg this year and has four medals from five competitions at her new weight.
Lenin PRECIADO -60kg
Pan American Championships gold medallist PRECIADO, 25, will make his fifth tilt at World Championships honours in the Azerbaijan capital. Rio 2016 Olympian PRECIADO has not medalled on the IJF stage but has conquered names such as former world silver medallist Rustam IBRAYEV (KAZ), current world silver medallist Orkhan SAFAROV (AZE), Olympic bronze medallist Felipe KITADAI (BRA) and double European bronze medallist Ashley MCKENZIE (GBR). PRECIADO scored twice in his first and only Olympic contest in Brazil with an ouchi-gari and uchi-mata but lost out to Ludovic CHAMMARTIN (SUI) from a yoko-guruma.
Freddy FIGUEROA +100kg
Pan American Championships gold medallist FIGUEROA, 23, is a two-time World Championships entrant. FIGUEROA saw Worlds action in 2015 and 2017 and won his first round contests in both editions before bowing out in round two. The young heavyweight put together a seven-fight winning streak in continental competitions in the spring but that run was abruptly ended at the Budapest Grand Prix in August by Adam OKRUASHVILI (GEO).
El Salvador (ESA)
Juan Diego TURCIOS -81kg
Former Pan American Open silver medallist TURCIOS, 25, is best known for his shock win over Roman MOUSTOPOULOS (GRE) at the Rio 2016 Olympics. TURCIOS registered two scores without reply to stun the Greek as he used his uchi-mata and uki-waza for an Olympic moment that is undoubtedly the highlight of his career thus far. The four-time World Championships competitor showed that his win was more than merited by giving former world champion Avtandili TCHRIKISHVILI (GEO) a torrid time in the next round before narrowly losing out on penalties.
Jacqueline SOLIS -48kg
Former Pan American Open bronze medallist SOLIS, 29, returns to the World Championships for the first time since her introduction in 2013. SOLIS lost to three-time Grand Prix gold medallist Monica UNGUREANU (ROU) in her one and only previous contest at the crown jewel of the IJF World Judo Tour. The experienced lightweight won gold at the Central American Games in 2013 which stands out as the finest moment of her career and ensured more notoriety for judo in her country. SOLIS finished fifth at the 2018 Central American Games with defeats to Cuban and Puerto Rican opposition.
Julio MOLINA -60kg
Former Pan American Open bronze medallist MOLINA, 23, campaigns at his second World Championships in Baku. MOLINA won gold at the Central American Games in July as he dispatched Colombian, Cuban and Dominican Republic opposition for top spot. The tai-otoshi expert narrowly lost out to David PULKRABEK (CZE) at Budapest 2017 by a waza-ari score from an ippon-seoi-nage. MOLINA proved difficult to beat on that day and his strong defence could give him a base to trouble some unsuspecting opposition in Azerbaijan’s capital city.
Darren ELCOCK -66kg
Former Canada international ELCOCK, 22, is a multiple-time Canadian Championships winner at the cadet, junior and senior level. The osoto-gari technician only made his debut for Guyana earlier this month at the Pan American Open in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. ELCOCK was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and now trains out of Jason Morris' Judo Centre in New York, where he has diligently prepared for his first World Championships.
Gerard CADET -66kg
CADET, 37, will be one of the oldest World Championships debutants in the history of the competition. The former US National Championships silver medallist has represented Haiti since 2017 and has been highly-active for his new team. CADET saw action at the Pan American Championships and Cancun Grand Prix last year before travelling to Europe in 2018 for the Paris Grand Slam and Madrid European Open. In Cancun the former -60kg judoka submitted to Senne WYNS (BEL) from a ude-garami and in Paris this year was held down by Hevorh KHACHATRIAN (UKR) with a kata-gatame for ippon.
Philippe Abel METELLUS -73kg
Montreal Open bronze medallist METELLUS, 28, is set to make his World Championships debut. METELLUS, who finished seventh at the 2018 Central American Games, will test his resolve on the IJF World Judo Tour for the first time in Baku. The Montreal-based judoka defeated three-time Pan American Championships medallist Alejandro CLARA (ARG) by ippon in March and will be looking for more of the same in Baku.
Prisca AWITI ALCARAZ
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
United States of America (USA)
Anne SUZUKI -48kg
SUZUKI, 34, won bronze at the Pan American Open earlier this month and will feature on day one in Baku for the USA. The world number 56 won bronze at the Taipei Asian Open last year and will hope to exceed expectations in the stacked -48kg category.
Katelyn JARRELL -48kg
Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist JARRELL (née BOUYSSOU) first gained notoriety by winning the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The 24-year-old, who is ranked number 58 in the world, trains out of Mayo Quanchi in Coventry which is owned by her father Serge BOUYSSOU.
Angelica DELGADO -52kg
World number 11 DELGADO, 27, has matured into being a key performer for her country. The former Abu Dhabi Grand Slam runner-up won bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix in July and should not be underestimated on day two.
Amelia FULGENTES -57kg
Santiago Pan American Open gold medallist FULGENTES, 25, will supplement her country’s offering on day three. The world number 49 finished seventh at the Cancun Grand Prix which still stands as her best result on the IJF World Judo Tour.
Leilani AKIYAMA -57kg
Former Lima Pan American Open silver medallist AKIYAMA, 31, will be looking for a strong showing on day three. The world number 53 has Tokyo 2020 on her mind and needs to pick up points towards qualification by winning contests and will aim to go on a run in Baku towards the final block.
Hannah MARTIN -63kg
Four-time Grand Prix medallist MARTIN, 30, is working towards a first medal of the season and will be dreaming of podium place in Baku. The world number 29 finished seventh at the Madrid European Open last time out and could leave her mark on the -63kg category on day four.
Alisha GALLES -63kg
Pan American Open gold medallist GALLES, 23, is tasked with trying to emulate her favourable Pan American results in Europe. World number 64 GALLES is a regular medallist on her home continent but has not travelled well on the IJF World Judo Tour to date but that could all change in a new-look USA team.
Chantal WRIGHT -70kg
Pan American Open silver medallist WRIGHT, 25, finished seventh at the Agadir Grand Prix in March on IJF duty. World number 50 WRIGHT, who has a thunderous osoto-gari, made the move from Switzerland to USA in 2014 and is steadily progressing on the international stage.
Nina CUTRO-KELLY +78kg
USA Championships gold medallist CUTRO-KELLY, 33, is a stalwart of her national team. The three-time Pan American Championships bronze medallist, who is ranked number 31 in the world, will aim to utilise her powerful harai-goshi on day seven.
Adonis DIAZ -60kg
World number 17 DIAZ, 22, is an exceptional young fighter making a name for himself on the IJF World Judo Tour. DIAZ has enjoyed a breakout year in 2018 with bronze medals at Grand Prix events in Antalya and Zagreb in addition to the Pan American Championships.
Ryan VARGAS -66kg
Pan American Championships bronze medallist VARGAS, 20, has caught the eye on the IJF World Judo Tour with his sublime ne-waza skills. The gap between VARGAS and the world’s elite is decreasing as he continues to ply his trade with a desire for honours and a willingness to learn and come back stronger after every event.
Alexander TURNER -73kg
Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist TURNER, 25, is a member of Jason Morris’ Judo Centre in New York. The world number 28, who has a polished ippon-seoi-nage, is coming through at the right time to make a major bid for Tokyo 2020 qualification.
Nicholas DELPOPOLO -73kg
Two-time Olympian DELPOPOLO, 29, is in the frame for a third consecutive Olympic Games. The three-time Grand Prix medallist, who is ranked number 38 in the world, earned his last IJF medal in 2016 when he took silver at the Qingdao Grand Prix.
Jack HATTON -81kg
Antalya Grand Prix silver medallist HATTON, 22, has picked up a brace of IJF World Judo Tour medals over the last year to skyrocket up the rankings. The USA Championships gold medallist won bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix last year and now finds himself ranked number 20 in the world.
Colton BROWN -90kg
Former Miami Grand Prix bronze medallist BROWN, 26, is regularly in contention for honours on the IJF World Judo Tour. The world number 26, who has a must-see sasae-tsurikomi-ashi, took silver at the Pan American Open earlier this month.
Matthew KOCH -90kg
Former Pan American Open gold medallist KOCH, 23, will campaign for USA at -90kg in Baku. The world number 87 has it all to do in a star-studded weight category but will savour every second on the tatami in Baku and use it to build towards what he hopes will be a prosperous run-up to Tokyo 2020.
L.A. SMITH III -100kg
Pan American Championships bronze medallist SMITH, 23, will be the penultimate male judoka from the USA to compete in Baku. The uchi-mata specialist, who is ranked number 46 in the world, is edging closer to a first IJF World Judo Tour medal and his performance in Azerbaijan will be a good barometer of where he sits at this key stage of the Olympic cycle.
Ajax TADEHARA +100kg
Taipei Asian Open silver medallist TADEHARA, 29, has won medals in Asia, Pan American and Oceania but never in Europe. The world number 70 may be the one man who believes that elusive medal can be attained in Baku but will surely give a good account of himself on day seven.
Alain APRAHAMIAN -81kg
APRAHAMIAN, 30, will make his fifth appearance at a World Championships in Baku. The world number 144 finished fifth at the South American Championships in June and will be going for broke in the -81kg category on day four.
Wisneybi MACHADO -57kg
Pan American Open gold medallist MACHADO, 24, will compete in her third World Championships and first since 2014. The world number 68 is not as well-known as her teammates but will aiming to catch up with them by starring in Baku.
Elvismar RODRIGUEZ -70kg
Former world number one RODRIGUEZ, 21, will compete at her third World Championships in Azerbaijan. The Tokai University student has won five Grand Prix medals and as many Grand Slam medals and is poised to put forward her strongest case yet for Worlds honours as she leads the way for Venezuela.
Karen LEON -78kg
World number 24 LEON, 20, won bronze at the Cancun Grand Prix last year to grace an IJF medal podium for the first time. The Venezuelan youngster took silver at the Pan American Championships in April and will be worth following on day six in Baku.
Pedro PINEDA +100kg
World number 68 PINEDA, 25, won gold at the Pan American Open at the beginning of the month and will be aiming to keep his momentum going in Baku. PINEDA will be making his third appearance at a World Championships and will be the final athlete to compete from Venezuela.