Tashkent 2022: Will Hamada be upstaged by a dark horse again?

The No. 1 ranked player in this category is reigning World Champion Anna-Maria Wagner (GER). Since losing in the semifinal of the Tokyo Olympics to Shori Hamada (JPN), she has taken part in two Grand Slams and won both of them. So, she is on a roll and will be hard to beat.

Madeleine Malonga (FRA) is a former World Champion and a top prospect as well but she has not done so well recently. Since the Tokyo Olympics where she lost to Hamada in the final, Malonga has taken part in three Grand Slams has not made the finals in any of them. In the European Championships she lost to Alice Bellandi (ITA), who is new to this category.

Newaza specialist, Shori Hamada, a former World Champion and the reigning Olympic Champion, is probably the favorite. As mentioned earlier, she had beaten both Malonga and Wagner in the Tokyo Olympics. However, she has not fought much since the Olympics and has taken part in only one IJF event: The Hungary Grand Slam. There she experienced a big upset losing to Bellandi of Italy, who had recently moved up from -70kg to-78kg. Bellandi, who seems to be growing from strength to strength, could be the dark horse that surprises everybody.