Now usually we would never refer to an athlete as ‘old’, but in this case we can certainly make an exception!
In an iconic battle, some of the best athletes in the world mixed with children to create the ‘Heroes’ and ‘Legends’ teams on day three of the Paris Grand Slam 2024.
Team Heroes included the likes of Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO), Cyrille MARET (FRA) and Mascot Kodomo, with the iconic INOUE Kosei (JPN) in the coaching chair alongside Emma LAPIERRE, Kael BOUSSUGE and Marie COULIBALY. Opposite stood Team Legends with Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS), Lucie DECOSSE (FRA) and Ilias ILIADIS (GRE), supported by Larbi BENBOUDAOUD (FRA) as coach with Mohamed-Rida MOUSSAFI, Louise GIRARDEY and Elijah RUIMY.
In an incredible turn of events, Kodomo simply couldn’t bring himself to compete and was replaced by yesterdays superstar, Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA)! In the end, it was a draw for the teams but most importantly, an unforgettable experience for these young people.
Refereeing the almighty Mixed Team event was the French crowd’s favourite, Matthieu BATAILLE and Ioana BABIUC, even infiltrating the refereeing commission alongside Head Referee Director, Daniel LASCAU was Vitaly LUCANEAU.
Judo for Children has been a strong project conducted by the International Judo Federation and aside from their wonderfully entertaining events, including a showdown between ONO Shohei and local child in the Tokyo Grand Slam, the real work is changing the lives of many.
Author: Thea Cowen