Kosovo's Olympic and World Champion Majlinda Kelmendi

The International Judo Federation has been vigilant in trying to protect the rights of all countries affiliated with it to compete in its World Tour competitions, everywhere. This has been a special challenge with Israel and Kosovo, two countries which have been turned away repeatedly, or asked to dispense with their national uniforms and ability to see their flags raised and anthems played at awards ceremonies.

For Israel, now the situation has turned and it is hosting an IJF World Tour Grand Prix for the first time, in Tel Aviv, with a big field of 407 judoka from 54 countries registered to compete. The top seeds (with their current IJF world rankings):

Men:

-60 kg:
1. Albert Oguzov (RUS: 12)
2. Ashley McKenzie (GBR: 15)
3. Adonis Diaz (USA: 18)

-66 kg:
1. Baruch Shmailov (ISR: 4)
2. Tal Flicker (ISR: 5)
3. Shakram Akhadov (UZB: 22)

-73 kg:
1. Rustam Orujov (AZE: 4)
2. Tommy Macias (SWE: 5)
3. Hidayat Heydarov (AZE: 9)

-81 kg:
1. Sagi Muki (ISR: 11)
2. Anri Egutidze (POR: 12)
3. Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL: 15)

-90 kg:
1. Mammadali Mehdiyev (AZE: 6)
2. Axel Clerget (FRA: 17)
3. Yahor Varapayeu (BLR: 22)

-100 kg:
1. Peter Paltchik (ISR: 3)
2. Elmar Gasimov (AZE: 10)
3. Benjamin Fletcher (IRL: 14)

+100 kg:
1. Bekmurod Oltiboev (UZB: 9)
2. Ushangi Kokauri (AZE: 15)
3. Or Sasson (ISR: 23)

Women:

-48 kg:
1. Distria Krasniqi (KOS: 8)
2. Eva Csernoviczki (HUN: 10)
3. Marusa Stangar (SLO: 11)

-52 kg:
1. Gili Cohen (ISR: 11)
2. Angelica Delgado (USA: 12)
3. Mejlinda Kelemendi (KOS: 15)

-57 kg:
1. Nekoda Smythe-Davis (GBR: 4)
2. Timma Nelson Levy (ISR: 10)
3. Helene Receveaux (FRA: 14)

-63 kg:
1. Alice Schlesinger (GBR: 12)
2. Sanne Vermeer (NED: 17)
3. Lucy Renshall (GBR: 18)

-70 kg:
1. Sanne van Dijke (NED: 3)
2. Anna Bernholm (SWE: 10)
3. Kelita Zupancic (CAN: 13)

-78 kg:
1. Natalie Powell (GBR: 3)
2. Karen Stevenson (NED: 11)
3. Klara Apotekar (SLO: 12)

+78 kg:
1. Iryna Kindzerska (AZE: 7)
2. Maryna Slutskaya (BLR: 8)
3. Yelyzaveta Kalanina (UKR: 10)

With Israel and Kosovo having been on the bad end of discrimination efforts in past events, it’s little wonder that the Kosovo delegation includes top stars including Rio 2016 Olympic champion and former world champion Majlinda Kelemendi at 52 kg.

Look for results here.