With just a few events to go in the IJF Tour, the international elite athletes visiting Mexico this weekend for the Grand Prix in Cancun. The second edition of this tournament attracted a few Rio 2016 Olympic champions such as Paula Pareto (ARG), Rafaela Silva (BRA) and Lukas Krpalek (CZE).
Pareto flew in from Buenos Aires where the former world champion was an Athlete Role Model at the Youth Olympic Games.
In her category we see the return of London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah Menezes (BRA) who has won as many Grand Prix titles as she has won Olympic gold medals. The three-time Grand Slam winner topped the Grand Prix medal podium in Havana, Cuba, in 2016 but could be in line for glory in Cancun. Menezes, who was not selected for her country for September’s World Championships, will be aiming to make a point in Mexico and could star on day one.
Antalya Grand Prix gold medallist Catarina Costa (POR) finished fifth on her World Championships debut in September as she lost out to Olympic champion Paula Pareto (ARG). The world number 17 has caught the eye this year and will expect to medal to win her third Grand Prix medal of the year.
Junior World Championships gold medallist Amber Gersjes (NED) is a wise selection by the Netherlands and will offer her strongest performance since moving up to the senior level last year. Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Edna Carrillo (MEX) will be under pressure to perform for the hosts on day one.
Olympic champion Rafaela Silva (BRA) lost her opening contest at the World Championships and will be keen to put on a show in Cancun. Former world champion SILVA won the Budapest Grand Prix in August and will be one of the favourites in the -57kg category with a potential fifth Grand Prix title on the line. World silver medallist Nekoda Smythe-Davis (GBR) is now up to third place on the World Ranking List which is a new personal best for the Londoner. Smythe-davis has won back-to-back World Championships medals and is one of the most consistent performers in a deep division.
World number 10 Jessica Klimkait (CAN) and Agadir Grand Prix bronze medallist Miryam Roper (PAN) will also be in action and both are capable of putting together a run and going all the way in Mexico.