The greatest exponents of a sport called up in Doha with a world championship as an excuse. Just as in 2022 the reason was football, in 2025 it will be table tennis or in 2027 basketball, the last week was the turn of the judo party in the Qatari capital, where the 41st edition of the most important competition in the discipline was held.
In a competition that included the seven women’s Olympic categories (-48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, -78kg, +78kg), the seven men’s categories (-60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg, +100kg) and the team tournament, the loudest applause fell on the Frenchwoman Clarisse Agbegnenou, whose sixth world title in the -63kg enjoyed an emotional and inspirational tinge as it was the first one for her as a mother, just 11 months after giving birth to Athena, who witnessed her victory by Ippon in the final against Slovenian Andreja Leški.
After the coronation, the two-time Olympic champion and five-time European champion described the world title as a “boost” for Paris 2024, Games in which she will try to capitalize on the venue. In addition, she took the opportunity to transmit a motivational message: “I want to tell all the fathers and mothers who look at me that ‘you can do it’,” she said.
Agbegnenou did not stand out as the only historic performance of a French judoka in Qatar. On his return to the world championships, Teddy Riner (+100 kg) provided the second gold medal for the delegation and achieved his eleventh conquest, which allowed him to end a drought that had been going on since 2017, largely caused by his serious ankle injury. The Guadeloupean man warned that his hierarchy remained intact in the semifinals, getting rid of Tajik Temur Rakhimov, number 1 in the category, in less than 30 seconds. Then, in the final, he beat Russia’s Inal Tasoev (he competed as neutral) for waza-ari.
In accordance with the historical table, the first place in the medal table belonged to Japan (the mother nation of the sport, which also dominates the Olympic record) with six gold, two silver and four bronze medals, a record that belongs largely to the Abe siblings, who in Tokyo 2020 had become the first siblings to win the gold medal an individual sport on the same day and who repeated the feat in Doha on Monday, May 8, Hifumi won the -66 kg test by defeating his compatriot Joshiro Maruro Yama while Uta, his younger sister, won against Asian champion Diyora Keldiyorova and took over the -52kg.
Japanese satisfaction with the tatamis was not full since Naohisa Takato, Olympic champion in Tokyo 2020 and four-time world champion, was defeated in the semifinals of -60 kg by Francisco Garrigós, who ended up becoming the fourth Spanish world champion. Nils Stump, signed an indelible feat for his country by beating the Italian Manuel Lombardo for ippon and winning the highest prize in the 73 kg and signed the first coronation in Swiss history.
The world championship did not distribute places towards Paris 2024, but the ranking will be determined by the World Ranking. In the Parisian capital, judo will be held at the Champ de Mars Arena between July 27 and August 3.