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Judo World Cup, "dress rehearsal" for the Olympic Games

Judo - sport

From May 19 to 24, the World Judo Championship will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. For the second time, the Judo World Cup is held a few weeks before the Olympic Games. This happened in 2021, while earlier in the Olympic years there was no world championship.

More than 680 judokas are expected at the World Cup, some of them from Kosovo. It is the last race to test the form before the Paris Olympics and also the last race to secure points valid for the Olympic standard.

Although not at the most suitable moment, the World Cup is expected to be strong and very interesting. On Sunday, competitions will be held in the categories of 48 and 52 kilograms for judokas and 60 kilograms for judokas. Kosovo does not have a representative on the first day.

“The last global event in the qualifying period for Paris 2024 has been entrusted to the United Arab Emirates as we know we are in safe hands. We will enjoy the perfect mix of spectacle, excellence and hospitality with athletes from all over the world who will be welcomed here once again", said the president of the IJF, Marius Vizer.

Akil Gjakova will represent Kosovo in the category up to 73 kilograms, Loriana Kuka in the category up to 78 kilograms, while Laura Fazliu is also expected to be in the category up to 63 kilograms. Laura has been absent for a period due to injury. But he is expected to appear in the World Cup.

Kosovo judokas will compete next week. Kosovo will be without the two best, Olympic champions Distria Krasniqi and Nora Gjakova.

But Laura, Akili and Loriana are rated with potential for world medals. Loriana has a world bronze medal, while Laura and Akili are looking for their first medals.

"Laura Fazliu is continuing the tradition of the strength of judokas from Kosovo, the country that will have qualified competitors in four categories for the Paris Games. This is not easy for small countries. Two of them are current champions", wrote the European Judo Union regarding Laura Fazli's appearance at the World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

Although the World Cup is a top sporting event, the focus of Kosovo's judo coach, Driton Kuka, and his entire team, is on the "Paris 2024" Olympic Games. The judo competition in Paris will be held from July 27 to August 2.

For Kosovo, the World Cup is only an important stop on the way to the final goal - the Olympic Games.