Daria Bilodid to compete at European judo championships in new weight class

The 21-year-old Ukrainian will be in action on the IJF World Tour for the first time since winning bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021, as she decided to bypass the -52kg weight class.

By Alessandro Poggi

Olympic judo medallist Daria Bilodid will make her return to competition at the 2022 European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, which start on Friday (29 April).

The Ukrainian judoka, who hasn't been in action since winning bronze last year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the -48kg class, is also making her debut in the -57kg category as she decided to bypass the -52kg.

Given the tragic circumstances in her home country, in March Bilodid opted to flee Ukraine to Valencia, Spain, where she resumed training at the facility run by former judokas Sugoi Uriarte and Laura Gómez.

The two-time world champion will be unseeded in Bulgaria, with the highest-ranked athletes being Olympic silver medallist Sarah Leonie Cysique of France and six-time champion Telma Monteiro of Portugal.

Standing at 1.72m, Bilodid used to tower her opponents in her previous weight class and has competed only once oustide of the -48kg as she finished third in the -52kg at the Grand Slam Hungary in October 2020.

At Tokyo 2020 in 2021, Bilodid won Ukraine's first-ever medal in women's judo after defeating Shira Rishony of Israel in the bronze final.

She made history in 2018 by becoming the youngest world champion ever in the sport.

The 21-year-old dominated her previous weight category as she also claimed two European senior titles and four Grand Slam crowns.

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