The Shlomo Arena in Tel Aviv is set to stage its second Grand Slam, following several seasons with Grand Prix status ©IJF

The International Judo Federation (IJF) World Judo Tour is set to continue with the Tel Aviv Grand Slam in Israel, due to run from tomorrow until Saturday (February 19).

This is the second Grand Slam of the season, following the two-day event in French capital Paris earlier this month, where Japan topped the medal standings with seven golds.

Competition is due to be held at the Shlomo Arena in Tel Aviv, with 298 athletes from 34 nations on the entry list - an increase of 13 in the number of participants from Paris, but a decrease of 18 in the countries represented.

Kazakhstan's Yeldos Smetov is one of a plethora of Olympic and World Championship medallists due to compete, although none of the individual champions at Tokyo 2020 have entered.

Smetov won silver and bronze at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, respectively, in the men's under-60 kilograms event, and became world champion at that weight in 2015.

However, he is unseeded for the Tel Aviv Grand Slam having moved into the under-66kg category.

He has been handed an opener against Dutchman Ivo Verhorstert, with the winner facing top seed Alberto Gaitero Martin.

The Spaniard triumphed in Tel Aviv last year as the city held a Grand Slam for the first time, following several seasons as a Grand Prix on the IJF's World Judo Tour.

France's Romane Dicko in the women's over-78kg division is the only world rankings leader who has entered in Tel Aviv.

Kazakhstan's Olympic bronze medallist Yeldos Smetov has been left unseeded for the Tel Aviv Grand Slam after moving up to the men's under-66kg division ©Getty Images
Kazakhstan's Olympic bronze medallist Yeldos Smetov has been left unseeded for the Tel Aviv Grand Slam after moving up to the men's under-66kg division ©Getty Images

After a bye in the first round, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist is set to face the winner of the tie between Georgia's Sophio Somkhishvili and Brazil's Camila Yamakawa.

Dicko's compatriot Madeleine Malonga, silver medallist at last year's Olympics in the women's under-78kg, has been drawn against Portugal's Patrícia Sampaio in her first match of the Grand Slam.

Fellow Tokyo 2020 runners-up Michaela Polleres of Austria and Guram Tushishvili of Georgia have entered the women's under-70kg and men's over-100kg events, respectively.

IJF President Marius Vizer is looking forward to the third stop on this year's World Judo Tour, after the Portugal Grand Prix and Paris Grand Slam.

"In Israel we find friendship, solidarity and excellence, always," he said.

"The world rankings are beginning to form, following spectacular judo in both Portugal and Paris and we congratulate our judoka for continuing to invest our values, our public image and our community as a whole.

"Their perseverance and passion never goes unnoticed."

The Grand Slam is set to begin tomorrow with the women's under-88kg, under-52kg and under-57kg divisions, as well as the men's under-60kg and under-66kg.

The women's under-63kg and under-70kg, and the men's under-73kg and under-81kg events are scheduled for Friday (February 18), followed by the women's under-78kg and over-78kg and the men's under-90kg, under-100kg and over-100kg categories on Saturday (February 19).