755 athletes, 124 nations, 56 medals and 14 titles awarded... 16 medals and 7 titles for Japan ! The 36th World championships held in Baku were highly dominated by the Japanese team. But they were also marked by several individualities : Tushishvili, Bilodid, Zantaraia, Heydarov, An Changrim, Liparteliani, Agbegnenou, the Abe sibling… Highlights.
By Ludovic Mauchien in Baku
Guram Tushishvili, the new heavyweight king
He was the favorite but it’s often even harder to win with this tag. He did not shake and was even impressive. At 23, Georgia’s Guram Tushishvili (+100 kg) became the new World heavyweight champion by dominating Mongolia’s Ulziibayar in the semi-final and Azerbaijan’s Kokauri in the final (4 seconds from the end) by Ippon thanks to the same technique, Eri Seoi Nage. For the first time since 2008, a name other than that of Teddy Riner (not in Baku) appears in golden letters. We cannot wait for their match…
Liparteliani, the cursed gold
Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani (-100 kg) is a magnificent Judoka that we like to see fighting. He also has great records with 9 European medals in a row and 5 medals at the World championships, not to mention his Olympic silver in Rio. 3rd in the Worlds in 2014 and 2015, 2nd in 2013 and 2017, « Lipo » had to bow again in the final in Baku against Korea’s Cho Guham after… 5 minutes in the Golden score. At 29, the Georgian champion did not say his last word…
Marie-Eve Gahie in silver
For her 2nd World Championships at only 21 years old (5th in Budapest last year), France’s Marie-Eve Gahie did not miss the boat in Baku. After beating Briton Sally Conway, 3rd at the 2016 Olympics, in the quarter-finals, then Morocco’s Niang in ½ finals, she lost to reigning World champion Chizuru Arai of Japan in the final. But it’s a safe bet that this is only the beginning for the young French woman.
Bilodid in history
She is not yet 18 (she will on October 10) but she has already made history. Undefeated since the World championships in Budapest in 2017, Ukraine’s Daria Bilodid (-48 kg) has become the youngest ever World champion in history in Baku. She simply flew over the competition, turning her opponents into simple sparrings, Japan’s Tonaki included. And, in addition, she is graceful and intelligent !
Zantaria still on top
And six for Georgii Zantaraia ! World champion in 2009, the Ukrainian fighter has won 5 world medals in a row (2nd in 2010, 3rd in 2011, 2013, 2014) before winning his sixth one in Baku at 30 years old. Dominated by the untouchable Hifumi Abe in the ¼ finals, he did not tremble to get the bronze. Two times European champion (2011 in -60 kg, 2017), he is aiming for the only medal missing in his huge list of achievements : the Olympic one in Tokyo.
Hidayat Heydarov in bronze
He is only 21 years old and is promised to the most beautiful future. He has already begun to write the present by capturing the world bronze medal, his first in Senior, in front of his audience. Hidayat Heydarov (-73 kg), Junior World champion and European champion in 2017 (2nd in 2018), lost in the semi finals against Hashimoto in the Golden Score before beating Mongolia’s Tsend-Ochir for bronze.
Agbegnenou wins her 3rd title
France’s Clarisse Agbegnenou won her third world title in Baku (-63 kg) against Japan’s Tashiro in the final, not Slovenia’s Trstenjak as usual (beaten in the semi finals by Tashiro). In the history of France, Clarisse Agbegnenou joins her compatriots Lucie Decosse, Gevrise Emane and Brigitte Deydier. To win this 3rd gold medal, she has simply inflicted an Ippon to all her opponents ! This is undoubtedly the best in her category.
An Changrim did it !
Korea’s An Changrim (-73kg) beat the odds and created the sensation by dominating Hashimoto in the final. An Changrim, 24, was third at the 2015 and 2017 Worlds.
Abe’s siblings at the top
They are brother and sister. They became World champions the same day… Hifumi, 20, has retained his title in -66 kg and Uta, 18, won her first world title by beating her compatriot Shishime, the defending champion. The worst for their opponents ? They did not even have to force their talent. The beginning of a long reign for the Abe family ?
Sherazadishvili, a historical premiere
His family fled the war in Georgia when he was 5 years old. At 22, Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (-90 kg) gave Spain its first men’s world title (Isabel Fernandez was crowned in 1997). He notably dominated Russia’s Mikail Igolnikov, the 2018 European Champion, although he is recovering from his injury. In the final, he beat Cuba’s Silva Morales, two times Panamerican champion.
Japan is alone
18 Japanese fighters, 16 medals ! 2 Hara Kiri for Wolf (-100 kg) and Ogawa (+100 kg), the only non-medalists from the Japanese team ? This is the only humour that can be done on Japan, as it tends to exasperate Judokas around the world, but also to impress them because no medal is stolen. The country of the rising sun has certainly laid the foundations of Judo but it continues to keep it awake. Other countries should be careful not to fall asleep…
- Takato (Jap)
- Mshvidobadze (Rus)
- Papinashvili (Geo) and Nagayama (Jap)
- H. Abe (Jap)
- Serikzhanov (Kaz)
- Zantaraia (Ukr) and An Baul (Kor)
- An Changrim (Kor)
- Hashimoto (Jap)
- Heydarov (Aze) and Mohammadi (Iri)
- Mollaei (Iri)
- Fujiwara (Jap)
- Wieczerzak (Ger) and Albayrak (Tur)
- Sherazadishvili (Spa)
- Silva Morales (Cub)
- Nagasawa (Jap) and Clerget (Fra)
- Cho Guham (Kor)
- Liparteliani (Geo)
- Ilyasov (Rus) and Lkhagvasuren (Mgl)
- Tushishvili (Geo)
- Kokauri (Aze)
- Harasawa (Jap) and Ulziibayar (Mgl)
- Bilodid (Ukr)
- Tonaki (Jap)
- Pareto (Arg) and Galbadrakh (Kaz)
- U. Abe (Jap)
- Shishime (Jap)
- Buchard (Fra) and Miranda (Bra)
- Yoshida (Jap)
- Smythe-Davis (GB)
- Deguchi (Can) and Dorjsuren (Mgl)
- Agbegnenou (Fra)
- Tashiro (Jap)
- Trstenjak (Slv) and Franssen (Ned)
- Arai (Jap)
- Gahie (Fra)
- Alvear (Col) and Ono (Jap)
- Hamada (Jap)
- Steenhuis (Ned)
- Verkerk (Ned) and Babintseva (Rus)
- Asahina (Jap)
- Ortiz (Cub)
- Ceric (Bos) and Sayit (Tur)
- Japan (7 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze)
- Korea (2, 0, 1)
- France (1, 1, 2)
- Georgia (1, 1, 1)
- Iran (1, 0, 1)
- Ukraine (1, 0, 1)
- Spain (1, 0, 0)
- Cuba (0, 2, 0)
- Russia (0, 1, 2)
- Netherlands (0, 1, 2)