14 May 2024


World Championships Seniors (Individual+Teams)


Day two of the World Judo Championships 2024 in Abu Dhabi will see many Olympic deciders, it will see heartbreak and elation, it will be a day of celebration and commiseration, but most of all, exciting judo.

In the -66kg category, the world ranked #1, Denis VIERU (MDA) is back in action, and in his own category! After missing the Paris Grand Slam, and a brief spell in the -73kg category in Tbilisi, Vieru is back in his mental space and prepared to take on the world title, to add to his 2023 European Championship win. Bronze medals in 2019 and 2022 will be spurring him on to be the final challenger in this weight. Only current European Champion and Olympic silver medallist, Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) and Spain’s Alberto GAITERO MARTIN will join Vieru in the top eight from Europe. Alongside them, Willian LIMA (BRA) will take on an Asian onslaught of BATTOGTOKH Erkhembayar (MGL), YONDONPERENLEI Baskhuu (MGL), Nurali EMOMALI (TJK) and Mukhriddin TILOVOV (UZB).

Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) defeated Muhammed DEMIREL (TUR) for the 2024 European title. © Carlos Ferreira

Matteo PIRAS (ITA) separated himself from team mate Elios MANZI following the last Grand Slam in Astana, but the result of the World Championships could once again change the Olympic front runner, and could also propel the likes of European Championships silver medallist, Muhammed DEMIREL (TUR) in to qualification.

Again, it will be a World Championship decider for Team Canada in the -57kg category. World ranked #1 and #2, Christa DEGUCHI and Jessica KLIMKAIT have been locked in battle for the past two cycles, with Klimkait taking the edge on the last occasion, and it all comes down to the result during this week. For Europe, there are still potential battles between Germany and Great Britain; with Pauline STARKE (GER) and Nekoda SMYTHE-DAVIS (GBR) currently leading, they are being chased down by Seija BALLHAUS and Lele NAIRNE respectively. It will also be a big final push by Telma MONTEIRO (POR) who is looking to qualify for her record-setting, sixth Olympic Games. Though she suffered a major set back earlier in the year which took her out of competition, she has been making a steady comeback and is narrowly outside of the ‘green zone’.

Daria BILODID (UKR) © Gabi Juan

There will be big expectations from the likes of reigning Olympic Champion Nora GJAKOVA (KOS) and Daria BILODID (UKR) who finally found herself in her new category, becoming the European Champion in Zagreb and fuelling herself with the confidence required before the Olympic Games.

Behind the -73kg WRL #1 and record-breaking Hidayat HEYDAROV (AZE), Uzbekistan’s WRL #4 and #6, Shakhram AKHADOV and Murodjon YULDOSHEV are deciding Olympic fate, as are Petru PELIVAN and Adil OSMANOV of Moldova, the latter has been soaring up the ranking as of recent. Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) is hoping to send himself to the #2 position in the world ranking list should he win yet another World title. The defending, and history-making World Champion, Nils STUMP (SUI) landed back in the tatami’s good graces, succeeding in the Dushanbe Grand Slam, also landing himself a seeded position in Abu Dhabi.

Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) took the World title before the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. © Gabi Juan


Author: Thea Cowen