Fury and Usyk fuel tensions ahead of ‘Ring Of Fire’ showdown in Riyadh

Fury and Usyk fuel tensions ahead of ‘Ring Of Fire’ showdown in Riyadh
Fury and Usyk fuel tensions ahead of ‘Ring Of Fire’ showdown in Riyadh

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - ABU DHABI: A record number of judokas will be seen in action at the Abu Dhabi World Championships Seniors 2024 Individuals and Mixed Teams to be held at Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Arena from May 19-24.

Organized by the International Judo Federation in coordination with the UAE Judo Federation, the week-long competition witnessed last-minute registrations from all parts of the world, with the number of athletes standing at 682 from 110 countries.

A total of 362 men and 320 women will compete in seven weight categories each, all vying for a share of the €1 million ($1.09 million) prize money.

The last World Championships, which were held in Doha, attracted a field of 657 judokas from 99 countries.

In Abu Dhabi, the women will compete in the -48 kg, -52 kg, -57 kg, -63 kg, -70 kg, -78 kg and +78 kg weight categories, while the men will be in action in the -60 kg, -66 kg, -73 kg, -81 kg, -90 kg, -100 kg and +100 kg weight categories.

The UAE national team will be among the leading favorites along with strong contenders from France, Japan, Brazil, Canada along with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Bahrain, Algeria and Tunisia.

The World Championships in Abu Dhabi will also feature one of the legends of the sport, Frenchman Teddy Riner, who holds the distinction of having been both the youngest and oldest world champion.

Riner became the youngest world champion when he won at the 2007 edition as an 18-year-old, and he also clinched gold at the 2023 championships in Doha last year to become the oldest champion at 34 years and 36 days.

Other world champions who will be seen in action include Yang Yung-wei of Taiwan (-60kg), Matthias Casse of Belgium (-81kg), Tajikistan’s Temur Rakhimov (+100 kg), all in the men’s competition.

Confirmed so far in the women’s categories are Italy’s Assunta Scutto (-48kg), the Canadian duo of Christa Deguchi (-57kg) and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (-48kg) and Croatia’s Barbara Matic (-70kg).

Each gold medal winner will get almost $28,300, while the silver medal winner will get $16,000 and the bronze almost $8,700.

In the teams competition, the gold medal will fetch $98,000, the silver almost $52,200, and the bronze almost $27,200.

Mohammed Bin Tha’aloob Saleem Al-Darie, president of the UAE Judo Federation and chairman of the Supreme Organizing Committee, said he is thrilled with the overwhelming response to the competition, which has given the UAE a new certificate of excellence in hosting international sporting events.

“The overwhelming response to the registration till the final hours of deadline reflects the keenness of all countries and players to participate in the competition. Not only have we been able to attract a record 110 countries, we have also managed to have most of the former and current world champions lining up for a slice of the action in Abu Dhabi,” he said.

Teams from across the world have been landing in Abu Dhabi, and various national cadres have been working round the clock to ensure that everything works to precision during the build-up to the main competition on Sunday.

The draw of lots will take place on Saturday, May 18, while individual competitions will get under way from Sunday and go on till May 23. The final day of the championships, May 24, will be dedicated to the mixed teams competitions.

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