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Douillet Favored In Heavyweight Class

July 19, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ With two world championships, France’s David Douillet is one of the solid favorites for a gold medal in the Olympic judo competition that begins Saturday.

Douillet not only won the heavyweight title for the second time in 1995, he became the first non-Japanese to take the open category.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Douillet is one of the more popular champions in France, based on his personality and accessibility in a country where other champions are often aloof and distant.

But there are certain disadvantages in starting in the first event on the schedule.

``I would like to win, but I will have to miss the opening ceremonies,″ Douillet said. The ceremony was scheduled to last until nearly midnight Friday and the judo competition starts early Saturday night.

Douillet is expected to receive competition from David Khakhaleishvili, the 1992 gold medalist. Three former world champions also are entered _ Rafael Kubacki of Poland (1993), Sergei Kosorotov of Russia (1991) and Naoya Ogawa of Japan (1989).

Damon Keeve of San Francisco has a tough draw against Rouslam Charapov of Belarus. The former Soviet Union has eight competitors in the 34-man draw.

In the women’s heavyweight, an early highlight is a first-round match between world champion Angelique Seriese of the Netherlands and 1993 world champion Johanna Hagn of Germany. They faced each other in the final of the European championships, which Seriese won.

The loser of the opening-round match will not be out of contention for a medal. Losers get to battle their weight for a chance at a bronze medal.

Colleen Rosenteel of Colorado Springs, Colo., faces Australian Heidi Burnett in the only first-round match in pool B. The other seven competitors get byes.

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