“It was my first world final as a referee and I had a great feeling about it. I was happy because it’s such a good indicator of the refereeing level to be nominated for a world final. I was very proud to work at that level. I knew both athletes and that it would be an attacking contest. I enjoyed it so much, truly one of the best days in my career.
It was also Tina’s first gold medal at that level and she was young so it was special. Referees and athletes travel together on the World Judo Tour and so we really get to know each other. It’s always a fantastic pleasure to be working with such strong athletes who are also great role models for the children coming up in our sport. They give us great judo but also they exhibit the judo values.”
The Astana final was Clarisse’s 3rd world final in as many years but it was Tina Trstenjak’s first, the first of 2 fought against Clarisse, a record split evenly with a gold apiece, just as their Olympic final tally stands too; Tina winning against Clarisse in Rio De Janeiro in 2016 and Clarisse winning against Tina in Tokyo in 2021.
“I was so happy to stand with them today, as we have a long history together. Tina is now an IJF Referee Supervisor and IJF Academy Expert and I’m an EJU referee commissioner while Clarisse continues to compete at this incredible level but no matter our roles, we are still together. These connections can never be broken, it’s where our hearts are.”