Sergiu Toma is due to return to competition in Abu Dhabi ©Getty Images

Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Sergiu Toma will mark his return to competition by competing in front of a home crowd when the fourth International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam of the season begin in the United Arab Emirates.

The Moldovan born judoka became only the second athlete in United Arab Emirates’ history to secure an Olympic medal, with Athens 2004 shooting champion Ahmed Al Maktoum the only other Emeriti to achieve the feat.

Toma will therefore expect a rapturous welcome when he begins the men’s under 81 kilogram competition, but his pursuit of home gold could rest on him seeing off the challenge of Victor Penalber from Brazil and rising Dutch star Frank De Wit.

“I welcome you all here to Abu Dhabi and trust that you will have a pleasant stay,” said Mohamed Meridja, IJF education and coaching director.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our judoka at Rio 2016 and to win our first Olympic judo medal.

“I congratulate Sergiu Toma and all of judo’s great champions for the results at the Games.

“This bronze medal will hope to develop the youth level of judo in the United Arab Emirates and we look forward to more success.”

Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov will be another of the Rio 2016 stars on show, with the Olympic silver medallist heading up the men’s 73kg competition.

The IJF have stated that 157 judoka will compete at the Grand Slam event ©IJF
The IJF have stated that 157 judoka will compete at the Grand Slam event ©IJF

He will expect to come under pressure from Russia’s Musa Mogushkov, but the Azeri is considered the hot favourite in Abu Dhabi.

One athlete to miss out on Rio 2016 will be determined to put on a show, with France’s World Masters silver medallist Helene Receveaux set to compete in the women’s under 57kg event.

She missed out on a place at the Games after being overlooked in favour of her compatriot Automne Pavia, which could give Receveaux a point to prove this weekend.

The opening day of competition will coincide with World Judo Day, which celebrates the birth date of judo’s founder Jigoro Kano.

This year’s theme for the day is “Judo For The World”.

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