The heavyweights can make the difference on the medal table too. At the beginning of day 4 there were ten nations with gold medals and with consistently good performances from their teams on the last day of individual competition, any of them could have taken the lead.
Throughout the competition, Azerbaijan have impressed, delivering equally strong judo among the women and the men, gaining their first ever world champion from the women’s categories, Khadizha Gadashova. It’s a huge turning point in international judo to know that Azerbaijan’s traditionally explosive judo in the men’s divisions has been expanded and now shows itself with the women too. Mixed team events of the future are going to be more dangerous for everyone; Azerbaijan is coming!
However, the medal table, halfway through the last day, can only change in one direction. Azerbaijan have the most medals, that’s already certain, but without a finalist on the last day, their position is at risk. Japan have a finalist and if they win then Japan will jump ahead of Azerbaijan by way of their potential 3 gold medals against 2.
We will know soon which nation will top the table but we already know that diversity continues to be part of judo’s success. The medals show it, the countries present show it and it is fantastic!