5 things to know: Preview of the Dusseldorf Grand Prix 2016

The Dusseldorf Grand Prix is the third competition on the International Judo Federation (IJF) tour this year and falls just two weeks after the prestigious Paris Grand Slam. The IJF are billing this event as the strongest Grand Prix since the London 2012 Olympics, but there are medal and Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification points on offer for the team of 16 British judoka.

Here’s our run down of the top five things to know ahead of this weekend’s event…

1. Schlesinger returns to defend title

Last year Alice Schlesinger marked her comeback to competitive judo after a nationality to switch to Great Britain in December 2014. Schlesinger’s first gold of her comeback was at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix which sparked a run of good form, medalling at a further five events in the following four months. To date, the Dusseldorf gold was Schlesinger’s last Grand Prix gold, she will be returning to Germany in search of her next. Alice Schlesinger fights on Saturday 20th.


2. -70kg category opening with world number one absent

The -70kg category remains a tough one but with world number one, Kim Polling, out of this weekend’s competition through injury, Sally Conway and Megan Fletcher could take advantage. Conway was set to fight Polling at the Paris Grand Slam two weeks ago, but instead was required to present to an empty mat when Polling dropped out of the competition through injury. Conway went on to take the bronze medal in the -70kg category. 


3. Ilias Iliadis first competition of 2016

The two time Olympic medallist returns to the competitive judo scene in 2016 at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix. Fighting at -90kg he could pose competition for Gary Hall should they meet in the semi-finals. Fellow Brit, Frazer Chamberlain will also be in action in the -90kg category. Iliadis has previously taken gold at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in the same year he claimed his third World title. For British interest or to observe the judo of Iliadis, the -90kg category will be one to watch on Sunday.


4. Strong home team

A 51-strong German team will be looking to dominate the competition on home soil. There will be tough contests against the German judoka in front of their home fans across all weight categories and there will no doubt be some interesting contests amongst the home fighters too. With 300 world ranking points on offer for a gold medal, a good result this weekend could make a big difference to some judoka’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification efforts.


5. Action over three days

The Dusseldorf Grand Prix spans three days, starting tomorrow and finishing on Sunday, which means avid judo fans will be need to sneaking a look at ippon.org at work on Friday to keep up to date. Of course, you can check back on britishjudo.org.uk where we will be reviewing the action each day or follow the action live on twitter – @BritishJudo #JudoDusseldorf2016 

The draw is now out and available to view here. Tomorrow will see Ashley Mckenzie face Arif Bagirov (BLR) in his first contest in the -60kg category, while Colin Oates will await the outcome of Mohamed Abdelmawgoud (EGY) vs Adrian Gomboc (SLO) in the -66kg category. Nathon Burns (-66kg) will face Ferdinand Karapetian (ARM) in his first contest.

Two British female judoka will be in action on the first day of the competition, with Kimberley Renicks facing Taciana Lima (GBS) in her first contest in the -48kg category. Nekoda Davis (-57kg) will be up against Canadian Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard in her first contest. 


Watch the action live and free on ippon.tv and follow the action live with @BritishJudo on twitter – tweet your support to the team with #WeAreGBJudo