The fourth day of the Abu Dhabi World Championships 2024 saw a further 137 athletes across the -70 kg, -78 kg and -90 kg categories take to the tatami in the Emirati capital, in search of a world title. The fighters produced another day of open and exciting judo to entertain the crowd at the Mubadala Arena.
Jean-Luc Rougé and Marius Vizer

The day 4 final block was preceded by a very special ceremony. In December 2023, the promotion of Mr Jean-Luc Rougé to 10th dan, the highest rank of any judoka today, was voted for unanimously by the IJF Executive Committee. Before the start of the day’s medal contests, Mr Rougé was officially presented with his 10th dan by the IJF president, Mr Marius Vizer.

Marius Vizer: This 10th Dan is something prestigious for Jean-Luc, but this is also an important moment for the whole judo family. Thank you very much.

Upon presenting the 10th dan certificate, Mr Vizer announced, “Dear Jean-Luc, thank you for dedicating your life to judo. You have inspired so many leaders, coaches and athletes over the years. Thank you for all your dedication and hard work in all your roles.

This 10th dan is something prestigious for Jean-Luc but it is also an important moment for the whole judo family. Thank you very much.”

Jean-Luc Rougé is one of judo’s living legends. He was the first ever French judo world champion and has served the sport for his entire life. After his incredibly successful sporting career, he occupied all positions possible within the judo family, from national coach, to technical director and later president of the French Judo Federation.

From 2011 to 2023, he was the Secretary General of the International Judo Federation. His leadership has helped to transform judo and make it a modern sport while always embodying its values. Today, Mr Rougé remains a prominent member of the IJF Executive Committee and is still very much involved in the development of judo on all five continents.

Jean-Luc Rougé

He has been a role model for many generations of judoka, not only in France but worldwide and his expertise and knowledge of judo has provided so many valuable contributions to our sport.

Following the presentation, the day’s medal contests took place, and three new world champions were crowned. In the -70 kg category, Margaux Pinot was victorious over Marie Eve Gahié in an all-French final. The 30-year-old became world champion after missing out on selection for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to Gahié. The bronze medals went to Shiho Tanaka (JPN) and Madina Taimazova (AIN), their first medals at a world championships.

The three new world champions

At -90 kg Japan claimed the world title for the first time since 2005, as the unseeded Goki Tajima stormed to victory, defeating 2017 world champion Nemanja Majdov (SRB). There was also a first ever world championship medal for Kyrgyzstan thanks to Erlan Sherov, who overcame former world silver medallist Christian Parlati to take bronze.

There was a returning champion at -78kg; Anna Maria Wagner (GER) secured her selection for Paris 2024 and a second world title to add to her victory in Budapest in 2021, defeating Alice Bellandi (ITA) in the final.

Great Britain’s Emma Reid secured a remarkable bronze medal in a contest that evoked memories of Sally Conway’s famous victory over Gevrise Emane at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Reid reversed a hold down from Audrey Tcheumeo when she was one second away from defeat, before holding the Frenchwoman for 20 seconds to score ippon and snatch the victory.

Tajima’s gold medal means Japan moves back to the top of the medal table, pushing Georgia into second place, while Italy holds on to third thanks to Bellandi’s silver medal. With three weight categories still to be played out, Japan’s position is far from safe.

Join us for the fifth and final day of the individual competition at the Abu Dhabi World Championships 2024, as the athletes in the -100 kg, +78 kg and +100 kg categories mount their own challenges for a world title. Watch all the action live at or on the new JudoTV app from 12:00 local time.

10th dan photos © IJF Media - Vianney Thibaut

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