The Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam 2023 came to an end tonight with the final five categories in smooth running. A few weeks of well-deserved rest and recuperation are now opening up for both the delegations and all the staff who have been involved in the World Judo Tour since the beginning of the year.

Saying that this first half of the year was intense is an understatement as the energy deployed at all levels was great. It all started in January in Portugal, with the first grand prix of the year. Then there was the legendary Paris Grand Slam and the spectacular Tel Aviv Grand Slam; two events that made fans happy in February.

March was the month of Tashkent and Tbilisi, closely followed by Antalya, which, with more than 600 participants, gave an idea of the increasing participation as Paris 2024 approaches.

In May, all eyes were on the capital of Qatar, Doha, which organised the world championships for the first time in history. We weren't disappointed by the level of competition which crowned 14 new world champions and it was not over, since we also had the mixed team competition.

May and June saw the addition to the calendar of two new events, the Upper Austria and Dushanbe Grand Prix. It felt good to discover new destinations where judo is so popular.

Finally, a week ago, we were in Kazakhstan and this weekend are in Mongolia, from which the points now count for 100%. This last event of this first half of the season has kept all its promises. We saw judoka in almost Olympic form. It is certain that many of the medallists of all these competitions will not be far from the podium in Paris. In which order? Nobody knows yet. All are on the springboard, ready to jump ever faster, higher, stronger.

The next stop on the World Judo Tour will be in Budapest this summer, with the World Judo Masters taking place from 4th to 6th August in the Hungarian capital. We can't wait to meet again the best judoka on the planet in a competition that promises to be extraordinary.

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