More than 400 judokas from 61 countries are set to feature at the IJF Hungary Grand Slam in Budapest ©IJF

The first International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Slam event since the Olympic qualification period opened at the end of June has attracted 406 judoka from 61 countries to Budapest and includes some of the sport’s biggest names.

"Budapest is a traditional and successful event on the World Judo Tour," IJF President Marius Vizer said.

"This promises to be not just a spectacular display of the finest judo, but it will also be a showcase for the will and determination of our athletes and coaches as they get into the core period of the shortest ever Olympic cycle." 

For some it means a return to the world stage for the first time since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including women’s lightweight (57 kilograms) world champion Jessica Klimkait of Canada.

She will no doubt have happy memories of Budapest because her World Championship gold in the city last year sealed qualification for the Olympics before she went on to bronze at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

Canada's Jessica Klimkait will have fond memories of Budapest after her world title last year ©Getty Images
Canada's Jessica Klimkait will have fond memories of Budapest after her world title last year ©Getty Images

2021 world champion Barbara Matic from Croatia also has a victory in Budapest to her credit at the 2020 Grand Slam.

Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar, a half heavyweight bronze medallist at three successive Olympics, is also expected to compete.

A large French contingent includes Sarah Leonie Cysique, lightweight silver medallist and mixed team gold medallist in Tokyo.

In the men’s competition, the French team includes the larger than life Teddy Riner, a ten-time world champion and Olympic heavyweight (+100kg) gold medallist in both 2012 and 2016.

He was also the driving force behind their mixed team gold at Tokyo 2020.

Elsewhere Japan’s half lightweight (-66kg) Olympic champion Hifumi Abe is also set to return.

He has nine Grand Slam titles to his credit but has not yet recorded a victory in Hungary.

Georgia's London 2012 Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili is also set to compete.

He also won -73kg gold at the Tblisi Grand Slam last month.

Competition at the Papp László Arena is due to begin tomorrow and conclude on Sunday (July 10).