The end of day 7 of the World Judo Championships – Doha 2023 marks the end of the individual competition and the +78kg and +100kg categories closed out this phase of the tournament in style, producing another dramatic day of judo. There was also yet more history-making from a certain French icon.

The +78kg title was won by Akira Sone of Japan, the current Olympic champion. She defeated France’s Julia Tolofua in the final. For Sone, this is her 2nd world title, at the age of just 22. Tolofua went one better than last year, when she took a bronze medal in Tashkent and she staked her claim for the French Olympic place in this category, with teammate Dicko exiting in the early rounds. The bronze medals were won by Raz Hershko and Beatriz Souza, their first and third world medals, respectively.

The +100kg category saw the rapturous return of France’s 10-time world champion Teddy Riner to the world championships after a 6-year absence. The 34-year-old Frenchman proved he is still the best in the business as he claimed an extraordinary 11th title. He beat Inal Tasoev (AIN) in a dramatic final and Tasoev’s silver is his first world medal at senior level. The bronze medals were won by 36-year-old Rafael Silva, his 4th world medal, and Alisher Yusupov (UZB), a first world medal for him.

Between the awarding of the medals, there was also a special presentation from the president of the IJF, Mr Marius Vizer, to Mr Khalid bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the president of the Qatar Taekwondo, Judo and Karate Federation. For his contribution to the development of judo and the promotion of judo values in Qatar and the wider region, Mr Al Attiyah was awarded the IJF Honorary Black Belt, which signifies recognition from the judo family.

With the close of the individual competition, the final medal standings are in. As ever, Japan leads the way with their 5 golds, 2 silvers and 4 bronzes and their tally is virtually identical to that of Tashkent last year. Riner’s gold medal is France’s 2nd at these championships and this along with Tolofua’s silver medal means they finish in 2nd place ahead of Georgia, who have two fewer silver medals and one fewer bronze. Raz Hershko’s bronze medal means that Israel finishes in 4th place ahead of Canada in 5th, while Spain and Switzerland are unchanged in 6th place. A total of 32 countries achieved at least one top 8 finish at these championships, coming from 4 of the world’s 5 continents, illustrating the worldwide appeal, and indeed the worldwide level, of our great sport.  

Day 8 will close out the World Judo Championships – Doha 2023 with the jewel in its crown, the mixed team event, where the judoka will represent their country once more, in teams made up of 3 women and 3 men. With a record 18 teams entered, the ABHA Arena promises to be set alight with a buzzing atmosphere, big upsets and more incredible performances. Don’t miss a throw; watch all the matches as they happen on  

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