World Judo Championships 2018 Baku

The second day of the event will showcase the -52kg and -66kg categories with Europe hoping to top some of the spots on the podium. 

  • In white, triple World medallist, Andreea CHITU (ROU) has had a few resent set backs and will seek to bounce back onto the podium in Baku.
  • Olympic and World bronze medallist, Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS) aims for one thing and nothing else, the gold.
  • In white, Amandine BUCHARD is currently WRL#1. Since opting up for the -52s, BUCHARD excelled at several IJF World Tour events proving to be a real medal hopeful this week.
  • Olympic bronze medallist, Charline VAN SNICK (BEL) has also quickly adjusted to the upper weight class and now a regular hunter of the podium spots.

Continental race to the top

With the absence of Olympic and World Champion, Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS), the athletes can take a shot at the -52kg gold. European athletes are regular on the podium in this particular weight division and as of this week, perhaps four of the following athletes can grab the crown: Amandine BUCHARD (FRA), Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS) and Charline VAN SNICK (BEL), Andreea CHITU (ROU). 

BUCHARD is currently WRL#1 and so, top seed of the -52kg category in Baku. The French judoka won bronze at the 2014 World Championships, however, it was a weigh division below. Since opting up for the -52kg category, BUCHARD excelled at several IJF World Tour events, hence climbing up to lead the World Ranking. Directly below in the seeding is Olympic bronze medallist, KUZIUTINA. The Russian judoka claimed bronze last year in Budapest, being the only European athlete on the podium. Current World Champion, SHISHIME Ai (JPN) is top 7 seed which can lead to a later KUZIUTINA vs SHISHIME quarter final. Despite SHISHIME holding onto the current World title, all eyes will be on her team mate, 2018 Paris Grand Slam winner, ABE Uta (JPN). ABE is undefeated for almost two years and already won against SHISHIME last December during the Tokyo Grand Slam. In 2017, we witnessed an all Japanese final at the World Judo Championships, which our quartet, including Olympic bronze medallist, VAN SNICK and triple World medallist, CHITU, will be aiming to rearrange this week. To have their mission accomplished, there will be one more challenge to take into consideration and that will be four times World medallist, Erika MIRANDA (BRA). 

With top contenders flying in from around the world there is no telling which continent will be taking home the gold.

  • Triple World Silver medallist Mikhail PULIAEV (RUS) will be seeking to lift away the barrier and finally take World glory.
  • In blue, Adrian GOMBOC stunned all by his winning performance at the European Championships earlier this year. The Slovenian judoka will now have to rise up to the World stage.
  • In blue, European and World medallist, Nijat SHIKHALIZADA (AZE) will have the luxury of competing on his doorstep with the encouragement of the audience.
  • The acrobatic athlete, Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) will also show his skills on the tatami and be looking for an improvement on his fifth place last year.
  • In white, WRL#1 and top seed, Tal FLICKER (ISR).
  • Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) was a bronze medallist last year, lets see if he can turn that in to a different colour

Fourth times a charm

Mikhail PULIAEV (RUS) a known regular on the senior world circuit, will be keen to break his silver streak, settling for the runner up position on three occasions at the World Championship event. Although this achievement is sought after by athletes the world over, PULIAEV knows he has what it takes to grasp that glory.

Day two of the event will be the moment when the ABE family will seek for double glory by both, Uta and Hifumi. We have already introduced Uta and now it is time to look into Hifumi’s record as current World Champion of the -66kg category. He is number two seed right behind Tal FLICKER (ISR), who is no stranger to a gold medal, picking them up in grand prix and grand slam events over the past 18 months. Making his way on to both the European and World Championship podium to claim bronze will make him all the more determined to better himself in Baku. This year his goal will be to get in to that final contest of the -66kg category. As he continues final preparations in Israel after a camp in Japan, the athlete explained his feelings leading up to the World Championship: “The mental preparation is just as important as the physical, you can’t have one without the other to succeed.” 

Picking up the other bronze medal at the World Championships in Hungary last year was Georgian, Vazha MARGVELASHVILI, who lost in the semi-final to ABE Hifumi (JPN) but conquering KIM Limhwan (KOR) to step on to the podium. The dynamic athlete took gold earlier this year at home at the Tbilisi Grand Prix, showing his endless talents and plethora of techniques in his arsenal. The unpredictable athlete will surely add to the excitement of this year’s World Championship. The acrobatic athlete, Georgii ZANTARAIA (UKR) will also show his skills on the tatami and be looking for an improvement on his 2017 World Championship fifth place. With a grand slam and grand prix silver this year, he stands in good stead. Adrian GOMBOC (SLO) already struck gold in the -66kg category this year when winning the European Championships. Now, it will be time for him to shine on the World stage. Despite all records, only Nijat SHIKHALIZADA (AZE) will have the luxury of competing on his doorstep with the encouragement of the audience.

By Thea Cowen




10/01/2018 | 09:22 pm | in
WORLD JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018: TOP TEN FACTS After an incredible World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, here are our top ten facts! The Youngest One Daria BILODID (UKR) got the ball rolling on the first day of the tournament and not only did she take the World Champion title but she... Read more


09/27/2018 | 03:59 pm | in
FRENCH AND RUSSIAN GLORY FOR EUROPE IN TEAM EVENT Tournament favourites, Japan and France put on a very convincing performance and fulfilled the prophecy by meeting each other in the final day of the World Judo Championships 2018. Each team for the final contained World medallists from this... Read more


09/27/2018 | 09:58 am | in
OPEN SILVER NOT ENOUGH FOR CERIC In the +78kg category, Europe took two bronze medals, the first Larisa CERIC (BIH) and the second, Kayra SAYIT (TUR). Both competitors proved they were worthy of place on the podium. Larisa CERIC (BIH) was particularly pleased with her World... Read more


09/26/2018 | 05:51 pm | in
TUSHISHVILI TAKES TEDDY'S TITLE With Teddy RINER (FRA) out of the picture, the opportunity to take the World title in the +100kg category was open to all of the athletes. There were, however, some big names from Europe that were favourites to win. Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) and... Read more


09/26/2018 | 09:54 am | in
FINAL CLAIMS FOR RUSSIA With only one medal in the tournament so far and no entries for the final day of individual competition, this was Russia’s last chance to bring home another medal in the -78kg and -100kg categories. They struck bronze in each weight... Read more


09/25/2018 | 09:03 pm | in
GEORGIA'S CAPTAIN SECURES SILVER The World Championships always has devastating surprise exits, the standard is so high that we see top seeds or previous champions go out in the second or third round. The sixth day has been no different. The French team had a particularly... Read more


09/24/2018 | 07:55 pm | in
SPAINS SHERAZADISHVILI GOES IN THE HISTORY BOOKS NIKOLOZ SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) -90KG GOLD  Since 1951, there has never been a Spanish World Champion in any of the men’s categories, until today. SHERAZADISHVILI wrote history in Baku, Azerbaijan by storming through the -90kg... Read more


09/22/2018 | 06:58 pm | in
HEYDAROV ENDS ON A HIGH The Azeri crowd came out in droves, in support of their athletes today. Representing Azerbaijan were Olympic and World silver medallist, Rustam ORUJOV and junior World Champion Hidayat HEYDAROV in the -73kg category as well as MUNKHTSEDEV... Read more


09/21/2018 | 06:01 pm | in
NEVER ENOUGH: 6 WORLD MEDALS FOR ZANTARAIA The second day of the World Judo Championships carried on the theme of making history, witnessing siblings ABE Hifumi and ABE Uta of Japan both becoming World Champions. However, Europe did not go away empty handed after a gruelling tournament... Read more


09/20/2018 | 07:16 pm | in
UKRAINIAN STARLET MAKES HISTORY It is the golden age of the Ukranian superstar. Daria BILODID has made history today as the youngest World Champion at just 17 years old. Not only that but she has broken the 27 year curse on this category, finally taking a gold medal for Europe... Read more


09/19/2018 | 01:55 am | in
#JUDOWORLDS2018 PREVIEW DAY 7 With only a few hours to go until the official draw of the 2018 World Judo Championships, we are ready to introduce the remaining two weight divisions, Women +78kg and Men +100kg category. __gallery_1,2,3__ Host nation to close on European... Read more


09/19/2018 | 12:27 am | in
BAKU: A CITY OF CHAMPIONS On the eve of the 2018 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, the International Judo Federation hosted the Hall of Fame Gala on the 18th of September. __img1full__ On this occasion, the IJF inducted renowned and experienced individuals in... Read more


09/17/2018 | 12:22 am | in
#JUDOWORLDS2018 PREVIEW DAY 6 The sixth day will stage another set of weight divisions, -78kg and -100kg category. Europe once again will be able to set their sights on glory. __gallery_1,2,3,4__ Tcheumeo with a point to prove  In 2017, Natalie POWELL (GRB) was... Read more


09/16/2018 | 11:01 pm | in
#JUDOWORLDS2018 PREVIEW DAY 5 On day five, current World Champions will return to the scene in both the -70kg and -90kg categories. As per the ladies, Europe will find many challenges to claim medals, however the men appear to be in a stronger position for a shot at the... Read more