Tato Grigalashvili has pulled out of the IJF Tbilisi Grand Slam ©IJF

Georgia will have to look elsewhere for its medal hopes as world and European champion Tato Grigalashvili will not take part in the International Judo Federation (IJF) Tbilisi Grand Slam, which runs from tomorrow to March 26 in the country's capital.

A total of 419 competitors from 61 nations are set to compete across 14 weight categories but last year's runner-up in the men's under-81-kilograms class Grigalashvili is not one of them.

"Thank you very much for this opportunity," said the male judoka of the year nominee at the draw.

"I would like to greet all of you, especially our special guests from the IJF.

"Thank you for allowing me to participate but this time only at the draw.

"I wish all my teammates the best competition and although I'm not competing this time, I promise all judo fans I will be back next year to win big medals and results for Georgia."

Home hopes in the men's under-81kg rest on the shoulders of 21-year-old Zaur Dvalashvili, who is looking to beat his IJF event best of seventh place, and the trio of Giorgi Jabniashvili, Dimitri Gochilaidze, and Levan Gugava.

The strongest Georgian representation comes in the men's under-90kg division.

Bronze medallists from the Tashkent 2022 World Championships Lasha Bekauri and Luka Maisuradze are favourites to finish on the podium at the Olympic Sports Palace.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medallist Distria Krasniqi is one of the best competitors in the women's events.

She has already taken one Grand Slam title this year after triumphing in Paris last month.

The 27-year-old has been awarded a bye into the second round where she will face either Charne Griesel of South Africa or Kazakhstan's Gaukhar Irmagambetova.

Double world champion and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic gold medallist Rafaela Silva will have the crowd against her in the women's under-57ks tournament as she faces Georgia's Gvantsa Mtchedlishvili in their first bout.