Abu Dhabi is getting ready to host its first International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam event this week after successfully staging Grand Prix tournaments for the past five years.
The Emirate is the fourth of five stops on the Grand Slam tour and will welcome 322 athletes to the newly-built FGB Arena.
The 6,000 capacity arena opened its doors to the public in February this year and is located in the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
General manager of the facility, Rainer Schueler, said: "We are thrilled to be hosting the Judo Grand Slam in our Arena.
"Such an event enhances the commitment to the development of martial arts and overall sports in Abu Dhabi."
IJF general treasurer Nasser Al Tamimi welcomed athletes and officials to Abu Dhabi prior to today's official draw for the tournament.
"Our Grand Prix became a Grand Slam," said Al Tamimi.
"It gives more credit to the development of judo in this country.
"Judo already had a very good image in the United Arab Emirates and this positive image will be even stronger now.
"It will bring more people to our dojos.
"Of course, it puts also more responsibilities on our shoulders, but we are ready for that.
"We want to offer a real Grand Slam standard.
"It is a challenge, since we are now organising an event, which has the same scale as the Paris or the Tokyo tournaments.
"It will help us to become better and better."
In terms of leading medal contenders from the host nation, two names standout in the form on Moldovan natives Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenco.
Both men switched allegiance to the UAE in recent years and world number one Scvortov is the top seed in the under 73 kilogram category.
He claimed bronze at the World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, earlier this year to add to his win at the Grand Prix in Budapest while he also Grand Prix gold in Abu Dhabi last year.
Scvortov biggest challenges are likely to come from World Championship silver medallist Hong Kuk Hyon and European champion Dex Elmont of The Netherlands.
Remarenco is not among the seeds in the under 100kg but will be a dangerous opponent for the likes of world number two Cyrille Maret of France and Germany's World Championship bronze medallist Karl-Richard Frey.
Russian judoka Mikhail Pulyaev and Renat Saidov are top seeds in the under 66kg and over 100kg categories while their compatriot and World Championship silver medal winner Kirill Voprosov will be looking to challenge Hungarian top seed Krisztian Toth who claimed top spot at last month's Grand Prix in Zagreb.
The under 60kg division looks like a shoot-out between Mongolia's Amartuvshin Dashdavaa and Kherlen Ganbold, and Azerbaijani duo Orkhan Safarov and Ilgar Mushkiyev, who occupy the top four seed positions.
Mongolia leads the way in the women's under 48kg class in the form of top seed and world number one Urantsetseg Munkhbat.
In the under 52kg division double world champion Majlinda Kelmendi will take to the tatami in Abu Dhabi buoyed by the news that she will at last be able to represent her native Kosovo at Rio 2016 after the country was officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee.
A strong German contingent will be led by Laura Koch Vargas and Franziska Konitz, both rated as top seeds in the under 70kg and over 78kg categories respectively.
Olympic bronze medal winner Marti Malloy of the United States will be looking to upset Austrian top seed Sabrina Filzmoser in the under 57kg division as she looks for a second Grand Slam title of the year after winning in Baku.
Filzmoser's compatriot Kathrin Unterwurzacher took silver in Baku and will be looking to go one better in the under 63kg class.
She will face tough competition from Dutchwoman Anicka Van Emden and Slovenia's Tina Trstenjak who are seeded one and two respectively.
Another Slovenian, Anamari Velensek is the top ranked athlete in the under 78kg category and she will be out to continue a fine year which has seen her claim gold at the Paris Grand Slam and Grand Prix in Zagreb.
The action at the FGB Arena in Abu Dhabi is due to underway tomorrow and runs through until Sunday (November 2).
Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.
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