Five-time world medallist and 2005 world champion Dennis Van Der Geest (NED) can now often be found commentating on the IJF livestream, JudoTV. On this fifth and final day of individual competition, the technical analysis is his.

“Today the -100 kg category was truly amazing. This was a triumph of judo, with everyone looking for big throws, bringing together power and technique and the will to win; really enjoyable to watch.

What I will say is that some competitors need to think more carefully about the rules. Some dominant fighters were picking up two penalties so easily and once that happens, they have to change their game and avoid getting the third. Usually these penalties come from silly mistakes, avoidable actions. At two shido down, accidents can happen like touching below the belt unintentionally or stepping out, which can decide the fight. Here the argument is not about the third penalty, it’s about not breaking the little rules in the first place to warrant the first penalties. In today’s climate, my game plan would be to get my opponent a penalty as soon as possible because then I can have a tactical game. Every penalty can be decisive.

Today I saw a few contests where it was really important to distinguish between false and failed attacks. We know the difference, we can feel the difference and we must think about these moments. The athletes must be more intelligent about this and also about ensuring they grip fast enough. Penalties for these infringements should no longer be a surprise to anyone, so it is time to apply the knowledge and stop allowing these things to decide their futures. These first penalties really do matter.

Elnahas and Kotsoiev gripped fast and aimed to throw.

I can highlight one athlete in particular from the heavyweight men’s category: Tushishvili (GEO). I saw a different fighter from the one we have seen over the last few years. He was motivated, fire in his eyes, cheering when he won. I also enjoyed Kim at +100 kg, known for having good tactics and showing throws that are usually reserved for the -60 kg category. He fights with a lot of movement and he has added something new here in Abu Dhabi, some great ashi-waza coming into his game. It is good to see athletes at the highest level developing new techniques. He can now score from even more positions and angles. Tushishvili and Kim were in the final because they were in great form.

Tushishvili (GEO) vs Kim (KOR).

Ozdemir (TUR) wasn’t among my predictions in the morning but we need to give props to those heavyweights who really position themselves to throw. She is moving and looking for kuzushi all the time. She’s older than most competing here at 36 but that brings experience and seeing her enjoy a first entry into a world final was great to see, she earned it.

Kayra Ozdemir (TUR).

In the morning I couldn’t believe the two Canadians would get to the -100 kg semi-final, so now I apologise! Sorry to all Canadians because these two were on absolutely top form. We all knew what Reyes had to do to get past Elnahas to the Games and so when we see all that sportsmanship between them, we have to respect it.

An all-Canadian semi-final.

Elnahas and Arai (JPN) was one of the best fights I have seen in a long time and with no penalties at all. They just tried to throw! Judo should also be entertaining and that was! Everyone works with their weapon of choice but the fun part of judo is throwing someone for ippon. Some athletes are so busy not losing that it’s not the same, it’s not what we want. These two wanted to win and it was great for all of us to see.”

Dota Arai (JPN), what a prospect for the future.
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