Yui Susaki will bid to retain her United World Wrestling (UWW) World Junior Wrestling Championship 50 kilograms crown when competition gets underway tomorrow in Tallinn
The Japanese defeated German Ellen Riesterer to claim the 2018 world title she won at Trnava in Slovakia and she will lead the Japanese team in Estonia as she targets a seventh overall world title.
Last year Susaki used the Junior Championships as a build up to the senior World Championships in Budapest and she claimed top honours in both in a fantastic season.
In 2019, Susaki has failed to make Japan's senior team but is hotly-tipped for success at The Tondiraba Ice Hall in Tallinn.
Her main rivals for glory come from 2018 World Cadet Wrestling Championships medallists Shahana Nazavarova from Azerbaijan and Natallia Varakina from Belarus.
Japan's Haruna Okuno has four world titles to her name and will target another gold medal in the women's 53kg.
Two-time defending junior world champion Khanum Velieva of Russia has not lost a match at this level since the 2016 European Championships and is favourite to claim the women's 68kg title.
Two years before winning 🥇 at the Rio Olympic Games, Hassan YAZDANI (IRI) was wrestling at the Junior World Championships. Can any wrestlers competing at this year’s Junior World Championships (August 12-18) make that leap to a Tokyo 2020 Olympic🥇?— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) August 8, 2019
👀 full match on our IGTV. pic.twitter.com/xvKyRk4RvI
Delgermaa Enkhsaikhan of Mongolia and 2018 junior bronze medallist Naruha Matsuyuki of Japan will offer strong competition, while Miwa Morikawa is expected to challenge for gold in the women's 65kg category.
Abbas Ali Foroutanrami of Iran is one of three returning world champions in the men's freestyle competition.
Having made the jump to under-23 and senior level after winning the 92kg title last year, he will wrestle in the 97kg contest.
Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev, won the 70kg title in 2018, will compete at 74kg in Tallinn and is also expected to represent Azerbaijan at the World Senior Championships in Kazakhstan in September.
Akhmed Idrisov is the third freestyle world champion competing in Tallinn, wrestling at 57kgg
The Russian will have to be at his best to claim victory with last year's cadet world bronze medallust Giorgi Gegelashvili of Georgia contesting the same weight category.
The first qualification rounds is due to begin tomorrow, with the Championships set to conclude on Sunday (August 18).