Each day had its share of surprises and confirmations. Each day new stories were inscribed in the marble of world judo. The last day ended with the coronations of Akira Sone (JPN) who regained the first step of the podium, and of Teddy Riner (FRA). The latter no longer needs an introduction. Now 11 times world champion, soon his judogi will no longer be big enough to accommodate all the stars, the symbols of his extraordinary career.
It was enough to see the media interest that his victory caused at the end of his competition, to understand that the Frenchman is a real phenomenon. Although exhausted, he answered all the requests, with a smile and with the good humour that characterises champions and great champions, in all the meaning of the term.
With 5 titles and 11 medals in all, Japan took the lion's share, which is no surprise. Given Japan's past results, no doubt we could have expected even more medals, but the competition is fierce and it proves that all the other countries are keen to show that they exist.
France arrived in 2nd position with 7 medals (2 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) and can therefore leave Doha with a lighter heart and above all with the feeling that their Olympic campaign is shaping up under the best auspices. In just over a year, the French athletes, who will undoubtedly have the full support of the public, will be hard to beat at the Paris 2024 Games.
With 4 medals, Georgia is in 3rd position among nations. Their Challenge 2020 programme is producing its results in the most beautiful way. Certain categories such as -90kg or -81kg seem reserved for them, although the opposition is strong. A little extra emphasis on the women and Georgia may be difficult to beat in mixed teams. If this is perhaps not yet the case for Paris next year, for the Los Angeles 2028 Games, we will have to count on the men and women of Lasha Gujejiani, the coach of the Georgian national team.
Behind this leading trio, Israel managed a very fine championship with a title and two bronze medals, just like Canada, a title and a bronze medal. Finally, among the gold medallists, let's not forget Spain and Switzerland, which, respectively with Francisco Garrigos and Nils Stump, succeeded in thwarting all the forecasts at -60kg and -73kg.
Uzbekistan, organisers of the last worlds, did not stray far from repeating their performance of two gold medals in 2022. Unfortunately the two Uzbek athletes lost their finals. Note however that on of these two silver medallists is Diyora Keldiyorova, who proves that women's judo is booming in the country.
We will remember the excellent organisation of this championships. Well sheltered from the crushing outside heat for anyone not used to it, the athletes found themselves in the best conditions to perform.
A world championship remains something special, with a particular flavour. Getting on the world podium is and will always remain one of the most important moments of a high-level athlete's career. 56 could do so in Doha. Congratulations to all the medallists and to all those who made the 2023 edition of the world championships a local, regional and planetary success. Qatar was a fantastic host. The promise was made to all delegations to have a great time in Doha. They did!