Today there were all the ingredients for a successful event with the mixed team tournament concluding an already great Junior World Championships Odivelas 2023, Portugal. We could feel it from the morning, when the competition was just beginning, the noise level was going to be high, as were the stakes of this tournament, the format of which now concludes all world championships as well as the Olympic Games.

In judo, this individual sport in essence, all the values are illustrated during the team competitions and this aspect was magnificent throughout the day. There were these athletes, perhaps a little disappointed with their individual result, who wanted to leave Portugal with the feeling of a job well done. There were others, medallists on the previous days, who had to re-motivate themselves and put their talent at the service of the collective. There was a Portuguese national team which wanted to please its audience, a crowd who came in large numbers, their voices heated, ready to bring that little extra which makes all the difference. And it worked wonderfully for Portugal, present in the final block.

There were also teams, like France and Japan, present in the final, whose ability to transcend themselves when it comes to working not for an individual purpose but for others. The mixed team competition brings all this, a permanent drama which vibrates within the crowd; a permanent uncertainty which means that from morning to evening we remain glued, our eyes focused on the tatami.

Mixed team events are not trivial. It is during such a tournament that friendships are forged within the team; it is here that group cohesion works wonders. And then, winning a world title or medal with your teammates is something special. Ask anyone who once competed with a team, they will unanimously say, “It was one of the best moments of my career!”

There were many best moments today. The most beautiful perhaps and the loudest without a doubt was the extraordinary bronze medal won at the last minute by the host country, Portugal. There were smiles and joy in Odivelas on this Sunday, 8th October. What a pleasure to see.

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