Judo’s mixed team event is a unique spectacle. Widely praised for its focus on gender equality, three men and three women compete side-by-side in a six-person team.
It’s a format that once again created drama and excitement in Budapest. The coveted World team championship was once again challenged.
Japan – Gold
Japan has won this event every time it has been contested and was out to win it a fourth time as they duly made it to the final where once again they would face France.
They got off to a great start, as Hashimoto Soichi faced Joan-Benjamin Gaba and emerged victorious thanks to penalty points.
Next Marie-Eve Gahié took on Niizoe Saki. It was the highlight of the match when a brilliant Uchi-mata saw Niizoe victorious and gave Japan a 2 nil lead.
Nagasawa Kenta then faced Francis Damier at under 90 kilograms and put Japan on the verge of victory when he countered his opponent for a waza-ari score. It meant that Akiba Maya was able to become the hero as she defeated Lea Fontaine at over 70 kilograms on penalty points.
The gold medals and the trophy were presented by the Honorary Vice president of the International Judo Federation, and Chairman & CEO of OTP Bank, Dr. Sandor Csanyi, and Mr. Marius Vizer the President of the International Judo Federation.
Nagasawa Kenta said “I was fighting for the four-times world champions for the teams and then I could contribute to the Japanese team so I’m so pleased with that.”
Niizoe Saki said, “This is my first-time world championships, and then I was the fourth fighter And the result of my fight determined the result of the game so there was much pressure on it, but I could fight through it and then I won so I was very happy.”
France – Silver
Once again there was a silver medal for France to celebrate. “I’m really happy,” said Marie-Eve Gahié. “I’m really proud of my team of course because they give everything. It’s a new team, it’s a young team, I’m really proud of them. I’m sure that one day, in the final we are gonna beat the Japanese. I don’t know where; I don’t know when but I’m sure! I am sure!”
Brazil – Bronze
Ketelyn Nascimento was the hero for Brazil as they took bronze after she defeated Anastasia Konkina of the Russian Judo Federation at under 57 kilograms to once again put the South American powerhouses onto the podium.
And there was fitting first bronze for Uzbekistan whose hard work to develop judo paid off when they were able to defeat South Korea.
A poignant moment as the IJF flag was passed by President Vizer to the President of the Judo Federation of Uzbekistan Mr. Azizjon Kamilov as they will host the next World Judo Championships in 2022.