Can Bilodid make her mark at -57kg?
If Russia were competing at the Tashkent World Championships, it was almost certain that Ukraine would not have sent a team. The IJF has announced that the Russian team won’t be competing, which paved the way for Ukraine to compete in Tashkent.
Ukraine will be sending a full men’s team of nine players and four women. Among the those four is Daria Bilodid, a double World Champion at -48kg who is now competing at -57kg.
Since moving up two weight classes, after the Tokyo Olympics, Bilodid has competed in two tournaments, where she failed to get past her second matches.
At the Europeans in Sofia, she lost to Priscilla Gneto (FRA) and in the Tbilisi Grand Slam, she lost to home favorite, Eteri Liparteliani (GEO).
Will she do better at the World’s? Her main challenges will be Jessica Klimkait from Canada, Haruka Funakubo from Japan, and Liparteliani from Georgia.
Klimkait is a drop specialist and this type of player is especially dangerous for tall players as they can easily drop in between that tall person’s legs and roll them over.
Funakubo is a newaza specialist. Bilodid is good at newaza too, especially sankaku hold-down but she might find the Japanese to be quite a handful on the ground. There are not many players who can beat Funakubo in newaza.
Liparteliani is a tall, lanky player, capable of typical Georgian pick-ups, which makes her quite unique among female players. Bilodid is tall and lanky too so it would make for a very interesting match up. As mentioned earlier, the last time they fought, in Tbilisi, it was Liparteliani who triumphed. She wasn’t able to throw Bilodid but she won in Golden Score after Bilodid got her third shido.