20 May 2024


World Championships Seniors (Individual+Teams)


The second day of competition may not be over in the World Judo Championships 2024 here in Abu Dhabi, but celebrations are already beginning for Matteo PIRAS of Italy. Olympic selection is heavy on the minds of most, and after a European Championship medal win in Zagreb, Elios MANZI had put himself in a great position in the -66kg category, however a silver medal win in Kazakhstan for Piras send him 600 points ahead of his team mate.

Matteo PIRAS took silver in Kazakhstan. © Gabi Juan

This meant that Manzi would have to surpass his opponent with a strong result, but unfortunately found himself losing out to the #3 seed, YONDONPERENLEI Baskhuu (MGL) in his second round. It was immediately clear, the devastation that Manzi felt, and the outcome of this national head to head had finally been decided.

Piras however, came out strong, defeating the former -60kg World Champion, Iago ABULADZE (AIN), Mukhriddin TILOVOV (UZB) and then faced Obid DZHEBOV (TJK) After two minutes of gruelling golden score, secured the win with a swift o soto gari, placing himself in the quarter final against Lukas SAHA (FIN). Saha was also desperately looking for a good result, sitting just outside of the qualification zone. Ashi waza from the Finnish athlete was countered by Piras early on, and the Italian became victor following a head diving infringement by Saha.

Heading in to the semi final against TANAKA Roma (JPN) was another battle still to come, but at least, for Piras, his fray for the Olympic spot is officially over. Tanaka managed the win in golden score, sending Piras in to the bronze medal contest, though still in good spirits!

Matteo PIRAS and Elios MANZI © Emanuele Di Feliciantonio


Author: Thea Cowen