The last day of the Junior World Championships, devoted to mixed teams, began with a beautiful symbol: the match between Ecuador and Japan. Let’s say right away that there was not much suspense about the final result of this preliminary round and it is not offending the host country of the competition to say so. However, there was a lot of emotion in this match because, for the Ecuadorian judoka, rubbing shoulders with what is currently the best on the planet judo was above all an honor but also a responsibility in front of an enthusiastic public. It is therefore with bravery that the national athletes presented themselves on the tatami. This is also called team spirit. The stage was set.
In the next round, Japan met Germany and won to find in the semi-finals a country well known to Japanese competitors: France. It could have been the poster for the final. France had done the job as they say, during the first round, eliminating a valiant Cuba. In the second half of the draw, it was Turkey and Brazil who withdrew from the game and advanced to the semi-finals.
The four teams, France-Japan and Brazil-Turkey, therefore arrived together in the arena under a fiery atmosphere. It was the Türkiye team that qualified first for the world final, while on the other side France and Japan were still fighting. It must be said that things were tight between the two nations which have dominated world team competitions in recent years, with France winning the first Olympic title in mixed teams last year in Tokyo on Japanese soil, making history.
Things remained undecided for a long time, with France close to killing the game after a brilliantly won first contest. Although the next two were led by the tricolor judoka for a long time, the Japanese reversed each situation in extremis, a few seconds from the gong or thanks to shots on goal. In judo, it’s never over until the referee says “mate, soremade” and the Japanese applied that idea perfectly today. More than any other event, team competitions always have these dramatic changes and that’s what makes them special events, so in line with the spirit and philosophy of our sport.
Japan – Turkey
At -73 kg, Ryuga Tanaka was the first to take action. In 16 seconds, he scored a first waza-ari and attacked with at least four different techniques, covering all directions. It didn’t take long for Tanaka to perform another acrobatic move and score the second waza-ari, this time with a standing seoi-nage. 1 for Japan. 14 seconds later, Moka Kuwagawa made the perfect ippon against Fidan Ogel with a brilliant koshi-waza. 2 for Japan.
It took a little longer for Kaito Amano to add one more point after some good groundwork and an unstoppable turnover that ended in an immobilization for ippon. 3 for Japan. Things got complicated or Türkiye. The final point was brought by Mao Arai who faced Hilal Ozturk in a replay of the +78kg individual final, for the same result, even though Ozturk, totally exhausted, gave it his all. His efforts weren’t enough, however, and Japan took home the trophy. It was a great performance from the Japanese team of course, but hats off to Turkey too.
M-73kg: Ryuga Tanaka (JPN) – Muhammed Demirel (TUR) F-70kg: Moka Kuwagawa (JPN) – Fidan Ogel (TUR) M-90kg: Kaito Amano (JPN) – Cem Demirtas (TUR) F+70kg: Mao Arai (JPN) – Hilal Ozturk (TUR) M+90kg: Tomohiro Nakano (JPN) – Munir Ertug F-57kg: Akari Omori (JPN) – Ozlem Yildiz (TUR)
Bronze Medal Competition
Germany – Brazil
After three fights, Germany had already taken a solid lead with three wins. Brazil had no choice but to win the next three if they still wanted to be on the podium. The winning point was awarded to Anna Monta Olek who scored Ippon to make it 4-0; bronze for Germany.
M-73kg: Jano Ruebo (GER) – Gabriel Falcao (BRA) F-70kg: Samira Bock (GER) – Luana Caarvalho (BRA) M-90kg: Tom Droste (GER) – Guilherme Morais (BRA) F+70kg: Anna Monta Olek (GER) – Beatriz Freitas (BRA) M+90kg: George Udsilauri (GER) – Kayo Santos (BRA) F-57kg: Bettina Bauer (GER) – Bianca Reis (BRA)
Georgia – France
The game was close and tight. Georgia started one point behind, due to the absence of a competitor in the +70 kg category. Despite this, the first matches quickly turned to the advantage of the Georgians who found themselves in the lead 3 wins to 2. Everything was going to be decided on the match between Nino Loladze (GEO) and Martha Fawaz (FRA). Either France equalized to have a chance to come back in the race, or Georgia won and became bronze medalists.
Fawaz’s ippon tied the two teams. In the process, the two teams met on the tatami for the draw for the golden score category and unfortunately for the Georgians it was the +70kg competition that was drawn, giving victory to the French team. , Georgia not having been able to present an athlete. It was bronze for France.
M-73kg: Giorgi Terashvili (GEO) – Daniyl Zoubko (FRA) F-70kg: Nino Gulbani (GEO) – Melkia Auchecorne (FRA) M-90kg: Tornike Poladshvili (GEO) – Aleksa Mitrovic (FRA) F+70kg: – – – Dounia Nacer (FRA) M+90kg: Irakli Demetrashvili (GEO) – Kenny Liveze (FRA) F-57kg: Nino Loladze (GEO) – Martha Fawaz (FRA)