Japanese Juniors claim the World team title in Guayaquil
The Junior team of Japan have won the world mixed team title against a Turkish team which became a strong nation in world judo especially in the youth and it has been gaining momentum for years. Japan, which won six individual gold medals, nevertheless remains the reference nation and despite some fears in the semi-finals against France, which was very close to creating the feat, the Japanese athletes won.
The four teams, France-Japan and Brazil-Türkiye, thus arrived together in the arena under an atmosphere of fire. It was team Türkiye who qualified first for the world final, while on the other side France and Japan were still battling. It must be said that things were tight between the two nations which have dominated the world team competitions in recent years, France winning the first mixed team Olympic title last year in Tokyo on Japanese soil, making history.
Things remained undecided for a long time, France being close to killing the match after a first contest won brilliantly. Although the next two were for a long time led by the tricolour judoka, the Japanese turned each situation around in extremis, a few seconds from the gong or thanks to penalties. In judo it's never finished until the referee announces 'mate, soremade’ and the Japanese applied that idea perfectly today. More than any other event, team competitions always have those dramatic changes and that is what makes them special events, so in tune with the spirit and philosophy of our sport.
At -73kg, Ryuga Tanaka was the first to action. Within 16 seconds he scored a first waza-ari and attacked with at least four different techniques, covering all directions. It did not take long for Tanaka to execute another acrobatic movement and score the second waza-ari, this time with a standing seoi-nage. 1 for Japan. 14 seconds later, Moka Kuwagawa produced the perfect ippon against Fidan Ogel with a brilliant koshi-waza. 2 for Japan.
It took a little more time for Kaito Amano to add one more point after some good groundwork and an unstoppable turnover which concluded with an immobilisation for ippon. 3 for Japan. Things became complicated or Türkiye. The last point was brought by Mao Arai who faced Hilal Ozturk in a remake of the individual +78kg final, for the same results, even if Ozturk, totally exhausted, gave it all. Her effort was not enough though and Japan took the trophy back home. It was a great performance from team Japan of course, but hats off to Türkiye as well.
M-73kg: Ryuga Tanaka (JPN) - Muhammed Demirel (TUR)
W-70kg: Moka Kuwagawa (JPN) - Fidan Ogel (TUR)
M-90kg: Kaito Amano (JPN) - Cem Demirtas (TUR)
W+70kg: Mao Arai (JPN) - Hilal Ozturk (TUR)
M+90kg: Tomohiro Nakano (JPN) - Munir Ertug
W-57kg: Akari Omori (JPN) - Ozlem Yildiz (TUR)
Germany - Brazil
After three contests Germany had already taken a strong lead with three victories. Brazil had no other choice than to win the next three if they still wanted to climb on to the podium. The winning point was given to Anna Monta Olek who scored Ippon to make the scoreline 4-0; bronze for Germany.
M-73kg: Jano Ruebo (GER) - Gabriel Falcao (BRA)
W-70kg: Samira Bock (GER) - Luana Caarvalho (BRA)
M-90kg: Tom Droste (GER) - Guilherme Morais (BRA)
W+70kg: Anna Monta Olek (GER) - Beatriz Freitas (BRA)
M+90kg: George Udsilauri (GER) - Kayo Santos (BRA)
W-57kg: Bettina Bauer (GER) - Bianca Reis (BRA)
Georgia - France
The match was tense and close. Georgia started a point down, due to the absence of a competitor in the +70kg category. Despite this, the first matches quickly turned to the advantage of the Georgians who found themselves leading 3 wins to 2. Everything was going to be decided on the match between Nino Loladze (GEO) and Martha Fawaz (FRA). Either France would equalise for a chance to come back into the race or Georgia would win and became bronze medallists.
Fawaz's ippon tied the two teams. In the process the two teams met on the tatami for the draw of the golden score category and unfortunately for the Georgians it was the +70kg contest that was drawn, offering the victory to the French squad, since Georgia could not present an athlete. It was bronze for France.
M-73kg: Giorgi Terashvili (GEO) - Daniyl Zoubko (FRA)
W-70kg: Nino Gulbani (GEO) - Melkia Auchecorne (FRA)
M-90kg: Tornike Poladshvili (GEO) - Aleksa Mitrovic (FRA)
W+70kg: -- - Dounia Nacer (FRA)
M+90kg: Irakli Demetrashvili (GEO) - Kenny Liveze (FRA)
W-57kg: Nino Loladze (GEO) - Martha Fawaz (FRA)
In less than two weeks, it will be the cadets' turn to meet, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the World Championships Cadets. The competition format will be the same as for the juniors and fierce matches can be expected from those who are already eyeing the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028.