JudoInside – News – Who are the Mediterranean Games Judo favourites for gold

This week the Mediterranean Games are held in Oran in Algeria. These games have a long tradition since the seventies. In 1975 the Mediterranean Games were held in Algeria as well in Algiers. The previous edition in 2018 was held in Tarragona in Spain. While currently there is the annual Training Camp held in Alicante, some of the Mediterranean athletes will be fighting for the medals in Algeria.

There are strong teams from the likes of Spain, Turkey, Kosovo, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia with a string of world and olympic medallists competing.

Francisco Garrigos will be the favourite for men U60kg, the Spaniard is reigning and double European Champion. His compatriot Alberto Gaitero developed well last years and is the number one seed U66kg where we foresee Egyptian Mohamed Abdelmawgoud as an outsider. Manuel Lombardo and Akil Gjakovsa will be the favourites U73kg for the title, but this is an interesting class with some outsiders.

Without a doubt, Vedat Albayrak of Turkey is the man to look out for U81kg. he may meet with Alfonso Urquiza on the other side of the pool. The Turkish have a strong delegation with former world medallist and European Champion Mihael Zgank in the team as number one seed U90kg. 36-year old veteran Benamadi Abderrahmane is an outsider for a medal for the host country.

Serbia brings Aleksandr Kukolj, the former world number one is fighting U100kg and seems the favourite together with Nikoloz Sherazadishvili who might give Spain the lead in the medal table for men. The plus category is very open, with number one seed Mohamed Belrekaa (ALG) and Lorenzo Agro Sylvain and Vito Dragic as outsiders.

Serbia have another medal contender in lightweight Milica Nikolic in this strong class U48kg with lots of strong women, in fact they could all win a medal, watch this class with interest. All eyes will be on the U48kg Olympic champion, Distria Krasniqi (KOS) but with Ana Perez Box and Ana Viktorija Puljiz there are some contenders for likely the other colours of medals.

Serbia will attempt to win the women’s medal table with Marica Perisic who is definitely a favourite U57kg. Flaka Loxha (KOS) is an interesting challenger if she can win her first battle against Giulia Caggiano (ITA). Kosovo have a strong team anyway with Laura Fazliu U63kg as medal contender, but the Spanish have the experienced Cristina Cabana in this competitive category with a first contest between Fazliu and Iva Oberan (CRO) worth-while watching.

Croatia also have Lara Cvjetko who is poised to win the U70kg class, but we count on Ai Tsunoda who is in shape to help Spain win the medal table.

It’s good to see Loriana Kuka back in competition in her second event since the Olympic Games, previously she won the European Open in Sarajevo. In her class U78kg homeplayer Kaouthar Ouallal is the number one seed.

In the plus class it’s a big question if Nihel Cheikh Rouhou this time can win the Mediterranean Games. It looks like she’s been there since 1971 with so many competitions in her career, so many victories, but she never won the Mediterranean Games and took two silver medals and a bronze. This 2022 edition is the undisputed favourite watching the seeding but she will face some good competition from Hayme, Ceric, Sayit, Asselah, all women who can win this plus category.

In total 3390 athletes will compete at this multisports event from 26 countries, 18 from Europe, but also athletes from Africa and Asia.