IJF Referee Supervisor Carlo Knoester and IJF Head Referee Director Florin Daniel Lascau have had to focus, as part of an expert team, from 8am until 8pm to ensure the refereeing on the first day of the 2023 Paris Grand Slam remained consistent, correct and fair.

Their perspectives are important and what is most telling is that they are consistent with one another. Their comments form our technical analysis off day 1.

Some of the spirit on display in Paris today

Carlo observed that, “First of all, we can see a great difference in fitness across the board, from a year ago. There is a sharpness which only arrives when physical condition allows and so that has been wonderful to see.

It’s great to be in front of this crowd. They support good judo and don’t let the referees step out of line at all, although the selection of referees has clearly been made well, with a minimal number of reviews required throughout the day."

The crowd at the Accor Arena make The Paris Grand Spam extra special

"It'a noticeable that the athletes are taking care of the updated judogi control rules very well, including the hair rule, which is now being adhered to more than in recent events.

There weren’t so many golden score contests early in the day with some fast results being logged at the beginning of each category. Even in those that did require extra time we could see that everyone was going for the win, no stalling, always delivering the right intentions.”

Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO) always looking for the throw

Florin Daniel Lascau agreed, “I’m happy to see that the athletes are really going for the grips and also breaking appropriately and keeping hold; this is working very well.

We still notice that there are too many techniques using the head. This is still a problem and happens even with top athletes. Coaches and judoka must work hard together to solve this for the benefit of themselves but also for the benefit of the younger generations watching and taking the lead from their heroes.

There is a real mix of young and experienced judoka and this is shown in the tactical styles. Even under the pressure of Paris though, regardless of age, the athletes are performing their techniques. They continue, determined to score and look for ippon, no matter what happened in the moments before. Both tachi-waza and ne-waza techniques in different situations are bringing success and the referees are giving the right amount of time for that to happen.”

Szymanska (POL) kept hunting tne ippon even when leading by waza-ari

At the end of day 1 we can count many different successful techniques, a diverse range of countries winning medals and thousands of happy spectators. Day Two is likely to bring more joy, more ippons and of course the excitement of a show from Teddy Riner.

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