Matthias Casse, the world’s number 1 in the class up to 81 kilograms, saw his biggest competitors disappear in the other half of the table. Both the Israeli Sagi Muki (IJF 2, world champion 2019, European champion 2018) and the Georgian Tato Grigalashvili (IJF 3, vice world champion) can only meet Casse in the final.
The world champion will start his hunt for an Olympic medal against Puerto Rican Adrian Gandia (IJF 33) on Tuesday. Then the Swede Robin Pacek (IJF 28) and the Russian Alan Khoebetsov (IJF 8) are the most likely opponents. If all goes well, Casse can face the Turk Vedat Albayrak (IJF 4) in the semifinals.
Jorre Verstraeten (IJF 15) is the first Belgian judoka to take action in the class up to 60 kilograms on Saturday. His first fight against the German Moritz Plafky (IJF 29) is feasible on paper. But if there is a win, there will be a fight with the Japanese Naohisa Takato (IJF 4), three-time world champion (2013, 2017 and 2018) and bronze medalist at the previous Games.
Toma Nikiforov (-100 kg, IJF 16)) also had a tough draw. He will take on the Brazilian Rafael Buzacarini (IJF-17) in his first match on Thursday. If he takes that hurdle, the Portuguese world champion Jorge Fonseca (IJF 2) will be the next opponent.
Charline Van Snick (IJF 7), still good for bronze in London in 2012, will face the Canadian Ecaterina Guica (IJF 28) in the class up to 52 kg on Sunday. This may be followed by Israel’s Gili Cohen (IJF 13) and if she reaches the quarterfinals, the Italian Odette Giuffrida (IJF 4) will be the most likely opponent.