World Judo Championships Baku 2018

On Saturday, the 22nd of September, the National Gymnastics Arena will entertain the -57kg and -73kg category. Two of the most exciting weight divisions with plenty of exhilarating contests will launch day three.

  • In blue, 2018 European Champion, Nora GJAKOVA (KOS). Her recent success boosted the judoka to reach for a medal at the World stage.
  • In white, Theresa STOLL (GER) who fast became WRL#4 after regular success at the IJF World Tour recent years which was topped with a silver at the 2018 Europeans in April. Stoll collected a few scalps previously, making her medal potential in Baku.
  • Portugal's only Olympic medallist in Rio, Telma MONTEIRO, has had her fair share of World medals, yet, none of them were gold. Last year, she narrowly missed out on the podium and with this in mind she is aspiring to finally become World Champion.
  • Helene RECEVEAUX (FRA) celebrating her bronze winning perfomance in Budapest last year. The French judoka will seek to repeat all actions in Baku.
  • In white, WRL#5, Nekoda SMYTHE-DAVIS (GBR) who was one of the two European judoka to win a medal at the -57kg category last year in Budapest. Since, she secured bronze at the Paris Grand Slam and victory at the Dusseldorf Grand Slam.

Tough route to victory 

Despite the extreme quality of this weight class, Europe proved their worth, securing two bronze medals last year, athletes Nekoda SMYTHE-DAVIS (GBR) and Helene RECEVEAUX (FRA) perfomed extraordinarily. Both will seek to transfer their success and hard work from Budapest to Baku. It will certainly be tough amongst the Europeans alone as there is a lot of talent generating in the younger athletes and of course, our more experienced remain in the running.

Olympic bronze medallist, Telma MONTEIRO (POR) will undoubtedly bring her tenacity to the table, having taken three World silver medals already. Following a disappointing World Championships in Budapest, Nora GJAKOVA proved she would no longer be settling. The competitor from Kosovo not only conquered the 2018 European Championships but claimed gold at the Hague, Tunis and Antalya Grand Prix tournaments.

In a rare occurence, we will see twin athletes, Amelie and Theresa STOLL (GER) compete in the same weight category. Both German women have had their fair share of glory, but neither on the World podium, looking at recent results, this could be the year. The sisters have achieved European status at the u23 level, winning in consecutive years and Theresa taking the silver in the Tel Aviv senior European Championships. It can be said that Theresa has truly come in to her own this year, not only causing quite the stir in the European Mixed Teams event in Ekaterinburg, lifting the German team to victory but taking home indiviudal gold medals in the Dusseldorf and Tbilisi Grand Prix tournaments, beating World bronze medallist, RECEVEAUX in the final. 

The old new superstar of the -57kg category, Christa DEGUCHI (CAN) is certainly one of the biggest potential to be seen in the final of the World Championships. Since switching to Canada, DEGUCHI defeated 2017 World silver medallist, YOSHIDA Tsukasa (JPN), who is part of the Japanese team settling in Baku, ready for action. The only two people that have managed to overthrow the now Canadian athlete are current World Champion, Sumiya DORJSUREN (MGL) and Olympic Champion, Rafaela SILVA (BRA). DEGUCHI will arrive with strong competition in the form of team-mate, Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN), who in fact already defeated SILVA on two occasions.

All of this talent will be in Baku with only four spots available on the podium.   

  • 2018 Paris Grand Slam winner, Akil GJAKOVA (KOS) has previously defeated some of the strong opponents already, but with the seeding system and his WRL#8 position he will be the one to face current World Champion, Hashimoto, if both proceed the quarter-finals.
  • Miracle Man, Fabio BASILE (ITA) set himself one goal after winning gold in Rio, and that is to become World Champion. Follow his progress on day 3 of the 2018 World Judo Championships.
  • Olympic silver medallist, UNGVARI Miklos still manages to strike for glory. Regardless of his age, don't underestimate his determination and ability to succeed.
  • Olympic bronze medallist, Dirk VAN TICHELT (BEL) won his last World medal back in 2013. Although, Rio de Janeiro seems to be his lucky city, Baku will provide equal chances to win his third world medal
  • Home favourite, Olympic and World silver medallist, Rustam ORUJOV (AZE) is going to set the National Gymnastics Arena on fire with his team-mate Hidayat HEYDAROV. Orujov lost in the final against Hashimoto last year. To take revenge on his doorstep will be more than just a simple World victory.
  • Double Olympic medallist and Olympic Champion, Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) yet to claim his first World Championships medal. Can Baku provide him with just that?
  • In blue, Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE) was devastated last year when narrowly missing out on the podium. Feeding off the past and having to compete in his homeland, will fuel his desire for a World medal.

Orujov's revenge on home turf

The crowd will erupt on day three of the tournament as two incredible home athletes will battle towards that gold medal. Olympic and World silver medallist Rustam ORUJOV is a calm and collected athlete, with dynamic and timely technique, always keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats. Losing out to Japan’s HASHIMOTO Soichi by a single waza ari last year, will definitely be motivation enough to fight his way back in to the final. A personal challenge he must face is much closer to home, the younger -73kg athlete stood in the way of a bronze in the Paris Grand Slam as well as the gold in the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017.

This problematic home nation counterpart, Hidayat HEYDAROV, however, has a much more animated fighting style. The athlete hones his emotion to constantly pressure his opponent and notably never lets an opportunity in ne waza go to waste. The younger competitor placed fifth at the World Championships last year but effortlessly took the gold in both the Junior World and European Championships. HEYDAROV has definitely made a successful transition on to the senior circuit, he may be unrecognisable to the crowd as he has taken away his lions mane, very appropriate for his character, but his judo will be unavoidable. 

Since his -66kg Olympic gold in 2012, Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) has successfully made his mark in this heavier weight category, taking a gold this year in the Tbilisi Grand Prix and a silver after a close final against Akil GJAKOVA (KOS) in the Paris Grand Slam. The Georgian took a bronze in the Rio Olympics but has yet to take first place in a World Championship. With strong results this year, the experienced athlete could very well reach the gold. GJAKOVA has been on high note this year which includes defeating home favourite, ORUJOV. Both Olympic silver medallist, UNGVARI Miklos (HUN) and Dirk VAN TICHELT (BEL) have the consistency and the experience to excel on such a stage. However, if miracle man, Fabio BASILE (ITA) wants to repeat his Olympic success but in this new, heavier weight category and make his World title mission a reality, he couldn't have picked a more exciting time. 

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