The Cadet World Championships Zagreb 2023 are coming to an end, with the mixed team competition. This concludes two intense weeks of judo in the Croatian capital, which had, just last week, hosted the Zagreb Grand Prix and the elite of world judo in search of points for Olympic qualification.
Croatia's own heroes won at the Zagreb Grand Prix.

The last five days have therefore been dedicated to young people, those who still have a lot to discover and who do so in the best possible way by competing peacefully, respecting and learning the rules of world judo.

Cadets feeling the joy of judo.

If the athletes involved in the world championships are still young, they already have the makings of the greats. In the years to come, we will find many of them on the World Judo Tour. Before that, they will still go through the juniors and refine their skills.

We can already see some interesting trends. Azerbaijan tops the individual ranking. Their athletes, especially Nihad Mamishov and Khadizha Gadashova, respectively world champions at -50 kg and -52 kg, plus the six other medallists, at early maturity, are already performing and if all goes well, it is a good sign for the future. Japan, found in second place, a bit unusual for them, presented a very young team. The objective is the senior world championships and the Olympic Games though, so there is still time. It is likely that Riko Honda, Yuri Shimizu or Tomoka Inoue will be talked about again.

Gadashova (AZE), cadet world champion.

Serbia, with two gold medals, managed a very good performance, especially since behind their two leaders, Boris Rutovic and Aleksandra Andric, there were four fifth places and one seventh place.

Boris Rutovic (SRB)

In the wake of the leading trio of nations, we find great nations of the sport. For them too, if these world championships were important, we already know that it is the next generation that is preparing. The lessons of the competition will determine the national strategies for the years to come: objective - Los Angeles 2028.

Throughout the week, we had great pleasure following the cadets. Their freshness, their total commitment, sometimes without tactical calculation, is good. This lack of calculation is however not total, it is just the reflection of a generation of competitors who still have to perfect their tactical and technical system. In the months and years to come, there will be many weight class changes, the musculature will develop, the details will become finer. This is the work of the coaches who will leave Zagreb with their notebooks filled with useful and necessary information. This is also what a cadet world championship is made for.

The curtain will fall on the event, but not on judo. In a few days, the scent of the Olympic Games will float over the French capital, which is preparing to host the Paris 2024 test event. We will still find young people on the tatami. They will be able to smell the perfume of the Games, which is so particular. If it's not yet the final push before the Games, it's starting to look very much like it. In the meantime, we had a lot of fun following the championships in Zagreb. Thank you all, congratulations and good luck for the years to come. From Zagreb with Love!

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