21 May 2024


World Championships Seniors (Individual+Teams)


For most spectators and avid judo fans, day three of the World Judo Championships 2024 was set to see the almighty -81kg final rematch between defending champion, Tato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) and former champion Matthias CASSE (BEL), as well as Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) protecting her red back patch and reaching for yet another title, however we were shocked and stunned to see the predictions unravel.

Casse found himself at the mercy of the Tbilisi Grand Slam winner and Junior World bronze medallist, Timur ARBUZOV (AIN) in the round of 16, meaning an instant knock out and no chance of a repechage comeback. Taking out the top seed simply wasn’t enough for Arbuzov either, as the 20 year-old then defeated Sharofiddin BOLTABOEV (UZB) and the Georgian surprise Dimitri GOCHILAIDZE to take his place in the final.

Timur ARBUZOV (AIN) defeats Dimitri GOCHILAIDZE (GEO) in the -81kg semi final. © Gabi Juan

Though we won’t see the Belgian titan on this occasion fight for the title, Grigalashvili battled hard through his side of the draw, with the likes of Vedat ALBAYRAK (TUR) whom the Georgian lost to in the 2023 European Championship final, Timo CAVELIUS (GER), Simon MAKHMADBEKOV (TJK) and finally, LEE Joonhwan (KOR). The final will be the first time Grigalashvili and Arbuzov have fought one another in competition, the #2 world ranked against #26.

As for the -63kg women, it was looking good for Agbegnenou who saw out HORIKAWA Megumi (JPN), only to be defeated by top seed, Catherine BEAUCHEMIN-PINARD (CAN). This sent the Frenchwoman in to the repechage, defeating Iva OBERAN (CRO) to fight for bronze.

Clarisse AGBEGNENOU (FRA) © Gabi Juan

Meeting her there is the 2023 silver medallist, Andreja LESKI (SLO), so in fact we will have the World Championships rematch, just for a different coloured medal. Leski couldn’t manage against Angelika SZYMANSKA (POL), who in each of her contests demonstrated her unrivalled skills in ne waza, which eventually led her to the world final, a swift juji gatame was the key.

Beauchemin-Pinard did well in her quarter, only to meet the 2023 bronze medallist Joanne VAN LIESHOUT (NED), adding to the long list of ne waza specialists in this weight category. It was a long and hard slog for the pair, but with only 15 seconds left on the clock, Van Lieshout was able to turn her opponent and control the hold for 20 seconds, earning her the ippon win and of course, the world final. The Canadian top seed was then sent to the bronze medal contest with Laura FAZLIU (KOS).

Joanne VAN LIESHOUT (NED) © Gabi Juan


Author: Thea Cowen