This weekend sees the International Judo Federation World Judo Tour head to Canada for the inaugural Montreal Grand Prix.
This is the first time the IJF Grand Prix has been staged in Montreal and the event will run from 5th to 7th July.
With less than one year to go in the Olympic qualification process, and points from competitions now counting 100% towards qualification, competition at the Montreal Grand Prix will intensify as it offers players the opportunity to gain valuable world ranking points to secure selection to Tokyo 2020.
Day 1: Friday 5th
Ashley McKenzie (-60kg) will be keen to put the disappointment of the European Games behind him and get back to his early season form which saw him win bronze at the Antalya Grand Prix. The two time Olympian and double European bronze medallist is drawn in Pool B, has an opening round bye and will face the victor of Carlos Atieno (KEN) and Joshua Katz (AUS) in the second round.
Kimberley Renicks (-48kg) will be hoping to build upon her 7th place finish at the Cluj-Napoca European Open last month as she is drawn against Gulkader Senturk (TUR), in the opening round of the -48kg category. Senturk is currently ranked 34th in the world rankings, 27 places ahead of Renicks.
Day 2: Saturday 6th
Amy Livesey (-63kg) will be hoping a strong performance in Montreal will help with selection to the Tokyo World Championships later this year. Currently ranked 23rd in the world (3rd in GBR) and with only two athletes eligible for selection, a strong performance can elevate her up the world rankings. Livesey has a bye in the opening round and will face the victor of Alisha Galles (USA) and Emilia Kanerva (FIN) in the second round.
2018 European U23 Champion Lubjana Piovesana (-63kg) is also pushing for that second spot in the British Judo team for the Tokyo World Championships. Currently ranked 30th in the world, British Judo has great strength and depth in the women’s -63kg category. ‘Lulu’ has a bye in the opening round and will face Mokhee Cho (KOR) in the second round.
Eric Ham (-73kg) will be looking to replicate the kind of form that saw him win gold at the Celje-Podcetrtek European Cup in May. Ham, ranked 88th in the world, has a bye in the opening round and will face Igor Wandtke (GER) in the second round. Wandtke is ranked 22nd in the world, so it will be a great experience for Ham to face a world class fighter.
2012 Olympian, Daniel Williams (-73kg) also has a bye in the opening round and will face hometown favourite, world number 23, Antoine Bouchard (CAN) in the second round. With 85 world ranking places between the two, it will prove to be a tough opening match for Williams.
Day 3: Sunday 7th
2018 World Junior Championship bronze medallist Shelley Ludford (-78kg), has a bye in the opening round and will face world number 32 Nefeli Papadakis (USA) in the second round. Ludford too will have hopes of claiming the second spot at the Tokyo World Championships later this year, and a good performance in Montreal will see her close the gap on the top two ranked British Judo athletes – Natalie Powell and Jemima Yeats-Brown.
Frazer Chamberlain (-90kg) will be hoping to continue his great form that saw him finish 5th at the recent European Games. Chamberlain has a bye in the opening round and will face hometown athlete Mohab Elnahas (CAN) in the second round.
The +100kg category sees the long-anticipated return of judo legend Teddy Riner (FRA). Another athlete making his return is British Judo’s Christopher Sherrington (+100kg). After almost three years away from competition, Sherrington, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, is entering Montreal without a world ranking and will have a tough draw. His first round opponent is Johannes Frey (GER), an athlete ranked 42nd in the world.
Preliminary rounds start at 3:00pm GMT with Final Block due to start at 10:00pm GMT. Please note times may be due to change based upon numbers. The full draw can be viewed at Ippon.org and a full round up will be on the British Judo website on Monday.