24 May 2024


World Championships Seniors (Individual+Teams)


France are always a leading nation in judo, and on the last of the World Judo Championships 2024 in Abu Dhabi, their Mixed Team continued to prove just that. It was a great road to the final with big wins for the team against Germany and Uzbekistan, that was sporting some younger members this year, but of course the focus was on getting to the final against powerhouse, Japan.

NAKANO Kanta (JPN) had some making up to do, following the semi final loss in the +90kg category and he managed it against Matheo AKIANA MONGO, the Cadet World silver and European bronze medallist. A huge ura nage gave him the first waza ari score, and an o uchi gari sealed the deal for Japan’s first win.

NAKANO Kanta (JPN) © Gabi Juan

A second came in the -57kg category from TAMAOKI Momo who had a tough job against Faiza MOKDAR (FRA). The French athlete took Paris by storm in February, claiming the Grand Slam gold and putting herself on the map. In the final she showed her class against the 2021 World silver and 2024 World bronze medallist, but perhaps lacked the experience of her opponent. Picking up two shidos, Faiza took Tamaoki in to golden score, but a change in direction caught her off guard, turning in for uchi mata, the Japanese athlete switched to an o uchi gari for the win.

Joan-Benjamin GABA in the -73kg category wasn’t given so much time against his opponent, TANAKA Ryuga (JPN) who managed to make the score 3:0 with a hopping and driving o uchi gari in 32 seconds. Current World Champion, Margaux PINOT (FRA) was the one who could prevent the 4:0 winning sweep of Japan. TANAKA Shiho (JPN) was under a tremendous amount of pressure to secure the win for her team, but after six minutes of contest time, she picked up a third shido for a false attack, keeping France in the game.

In his last ever outing, Team France veteran and Olympic Mixed Team gold medallist, Axel CLERGET was dealt Japan’s rising star in the -90kg category, KAWABATA Komei. The 18 year-old took the Junior World title in 2023 and stunned Clerget in the first 14 seconds with his favourite technique, drop morote seoi nage, however it only earned him a waza ari, meaning the French judoka now had an uphill battle on his hands. Clerget’s experience and intelligence on the tatami allowed him to work tactically, and Kawabata started collecting shidos, but with less than 20 seconds left on the clock, Clerget was desperate and he was caught with another morote seoi nage.

Team Japan © Gabi Juan


Author: Thea Cowen