13 May 2024


World Championships Seniors (Individual+Teams)


Following an action packed three weeks of continental championships and Grand Slam events which have seen athletes spring in to qualification for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, we have one more stop of the IJF World Judo Tour. Abu Dhabi. Those who become World Champion in the United Arab Emirates over the next week will add an incredible 2000 points to their respective pots.

On day one we will see the -48kg, -60kg and -52kg categories take to the tatami, battling it out for the esteemed title.

Assunta SCUTTO (ITA) is leading the lightest of the women’s weights, and will be hoping that her success in Abu Dhabi in previous years will spill over this week. In fact, her last gold medal was taken here in the 2023 Grand Slam, with the only medal since being a bronze medal in Paris. Slightly off her game, she has taken a little time to get back on track and will bring her ‘A’ game. Europe can boast half of the top eight positions, with Milica NIKOLIC (SRB), Laura MARTINEZ ABELENDA (ESP) and Catarina COSTA (POR) racking up the important places. All have had great performances this year.

Tugce BEDER (TUR) © Emanuele Di Feliciantonio

Outside of the seeded spots is a highlight athlete from the past few weeks, Tugce BEDER (TUR). A fifth place in the European Championships turned in to a silver medal in Dushanbe, and then bronze in Astana, an incredible standard to keep up in consecutive weeks, and now is the final hurdle, even a bronze medal win could potentially put her in a seeded position.

As for the -60kg men, the top four in the world ranking list are putting themselves out there for world glory, including the #2 seed, current World Champion, Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP). Most recently taking back the European title in Zagreb, Garrigos is looking in good form and will be challenging the top men in his weight category including YANG Yung Wei (TPE), NAGAYAMA Ryuju (JPN) and Luka MKHEIDZE (FRA). This is of course important preparation for Mkheidze, after winning Olympic bronze in Tokyo, he is hoping for a place on the podium at home in Paris this year. For those on the cusp of qualification, including Israel’s youngster Yam WOLCZAK, this week will require a good performance to avoid being overtaken and slipping out of the ‘green zone’.

Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP) © Gabi Juan

In the -52kg category, there is a star-studded line up, missing only the two current Olympic Champions; Distria KRASNIQI (KOS) and ABE Uta (JPN).

Nevertheless, we will see Olympic medallists; Amandine BUCHARD (FRA), Chelsie GILES (GBR) and Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA) battle it out for the world title. For Buchard, a solid performance would be a huge confidence boost ahead of Paris, and with four senior bronze medals to her name – her first taken in 2014 -, she will be vying for a place in the final, predominantly the top place on the podium. Alongside these leading ladies, there is still plenty of threatening talent within the top eight, Gefen PRIMO (ISR), PUPP Reka (HUN) and Mascha BALLHAUS (GER) are the remaining Europeans, looking closely at Larissa PIMENTA (BRA) and top seed, last years silver medallist; Diyora KELDIYOROVA (UZB).

Ariane TORO SOLER (ESP) © Gabi Juan

There will also be focus pulled by the Swiss duo, Fabienne KOCHER and Binta NDIAYE who became finalists in Dushanbe, making the Olympic spot even more difficult to predict, and then of course on the breakthrough talents; WRL #12, Ariane TORO SOLER (ESP) and WRL #22, Ana Viktorija PULJIZ (CRO).


Author: Thea Cowen