This was the third and last day of the Doha World Judo Masters. An appointment with the heavy categories, tonnes of talent, strength in its most natural essence, the characteristic noise, like an explosion, of bodies of one hundred kilos and more falling on the tatami and the expected return of the greatest, Teddy Riner, with two defeats in the backpack last year, twenty kilos less and the desire to be the undisputed number one again.

However, it is not possible to sum up such a day of competition with only the appearance of the double Olympic champion and ten-time world champion, as anticipated as his participation is, because in all there were five categories in action on Wednesday 13th January: women at -78kg and +78kg and men at -90kg, -100kg and +100kg. The least we can say is that the show was there, with preliminary rounds that were completed in record time, synonymous with ippon in spades and a reduced number of golden scores. Here is the judo that we love, which makes you forget all the difficulties of the moment. Thank you to the athletes of all countries for putting balm on our wounds.

If this last day of competition was the Apotheosis of the heavy weights, we must not forget the beautiful judo that was on display from the beginning of the event. We must not forget either that everyone gave their best, the athletes and their coaches of course, but also the local and international organisers. Without the full involvement of everyone and the true support of the authorities of Qatar, of the National Olympic Committee, of the federation and all the volunteers, the Doha World Judo Masters would have been an event just like any other. But it was a great success, a safe success, that will for sure leave an everlasting memory.

As 2021 is now in full swing, we are looking forward to the next events that will bring more excitement and passion and that will make this season an unforgettable judo year.

At the end of the third day of competition, the best male and female athletes were recognised based on the number of ippon scores and the total time spent on the tatami, based on the fact that a hansoku-make doesn't count as ippon in this context. The results are:

Best female athlete: Romane DICKO (FRA) - 4 ippon - 9 minutes and 3 seconds.

Best male athlete: Tato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) - 4 ippon - 16 minutes and 33 seconds.

Each winner will be awarded by the IJF with a special prize.

After three days of competition, France finishes on top of the medal ranking with five gold, in front of South Korea with three gold medals and Japan with two gold. 19 countries won a medal.

IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer declared: "The Doha World Judo Masters concludes today as a great success! We have had great champions giving their all and fantastic organisation, overcoming the global health situation. The organising committee did everything possible to make the event a success. Doha offers some of the best sport event organisers in the world, with the best sports facilities. I want to thank His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and the authorities of Qatar.

Mr. Marius Vizer, IJF President welcomes Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee

We appreciate and recognise the efforts of Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and the Qatar Olympic Committee, who did an amazing job and at the same time the national federation of judo, their President Mr. Khalid Hamad Al Attiyah and his team for their efforts. Everyone can be really proud of what was delivered in Doha, demonstrating teamwork and the remarkable abilities of the Qatari event organisers. We had the best of the best athletes in the world present. All of them put on a fantastic show and we congratulate all the winners of the World Judo Masters. In 2023 we'll be back in Doha for the World Championships, our flagship event. The judo family is looking forward to reuniting in Qatar."

On the occasion of this third day of competition we also had the great honour to welcome Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, President of Olympic Council of Asia.

-78 kg: Big Smile for MALONGA Without any doubt, Madeleine MALONGA of France will be one of the great favourites of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. She is the current world champion and she once again entered the final of a major international event, after climbing through the first rounds without shaking, winning all her three matches by ippon. It's quite impressive, especially when you see that France can align two more top level athletes in the same category, even if Malonga's teammates, Audrey TCHEUMEO (FRA) and Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA) were not at their best level today.

In the final, the French fighter was up against HAMADA Shori (JPN), who also had a perfect start to the day, with three victories by ippon. An interesting final as it was the remake of the 2019 World Championships final, won by MALONGA; not easy when we realise that HAMADA was the 2018 world champion. For sure, those two athletes are the best of the moment.

In less than thirty seconds, MALONGA took a clear advantage by engaging an unstoppable right o-soto-gari, which was not lacking much to be counted as an ippon. In the following sequence, the Frenchwoman was surprised by an impeccable tactic from the Japanese judoka on the ground, but she came out almost miraculously to resume the thread of the final and finally control the bout until the end. MALONGA could eventually let out a big smile for this first Masters title of her career. It was a shame, even for MALONGA, to see that HAMADA finished her day with an injury to the knee, but as always MALONGA responded with kindness and professionalism, in the spirit of fair play.

The first bronze medal was contested by the two Dutch athletes, Marhinde VERKERK (NED) and Guusje STEENHUIS (NED). Knowing one another perfectly meant an almost inevitable liaison golden score. After almost five minutes of extra time, it was Guusje STEENHUIS who scored a liberating waza-ari to win bronze.

We found for the second fight-off for third place the young Kosovan Loriana KUKA against the experienced Natalie POWELL (GBR). For the second match in a row, the winner was decided in golden score as KUKA and POWELL did not find the solution during regular time, to score. Both left-handed, they tried to engage in a movement that was finally effective. It was KUKA who had the edge and eventually took the chance with a masterful koshi-guruma for ippon.

Final MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA) vs. HAMADA, Shori (JPN)

Bronze Medal Contests VERKERK, Marhinde (NED) vs. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED) KUKA, Loriana (KOS) vs. POWELL, Natalie (GBR)

Final Results 1. MALONGA, Madeleine (FRA) 2. HAMADA, Shori (JPN) 3. KUKA, Loriana (KOS) 3. STEENHUIS, Guusje (NED) 5. POWELL, Natalie (GBR) 5. VERKERK, Marhinde (NED) 7. ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB) 7. MALZAHN, Luise (GER)

+78 kg: DICKO Becomes a Favourite

The +78 kg category began with a performance by Romane DICKO (FRA), who eliminated the legend Idalys ORTIZ (CUB), Olympic and world champion, in the first round. With a win on her side the Frenchwoman pushed the momentum all the way to the final, where she faced Iryna KINDZERSKA (AZE), winner of all her matches by ippon.

Romane DICKO didn't need more than half of the regular time to score a waza-ari that she followed to the floor to hold KINDZERSKA for ippon, winning her first gold medal at the Masters. DICKO is definitely entering the group of athletes who have a good chance of a medal at the Olympic Games.

We found, for third place, a 100% African match between Nihel CHEIKH ROUHOU (TUN) and Hortence Vanessa MBALLA ATANGANA (CMR), winner of their recent continental championships. With only a few seconds left on the scoreboard, MBALLA ATANGANA tried to score but CHEIKH ROUHOU avoided the attack and immediately followed to the floor for ippon. This was a first bronze medal at the Masters for the Tunisian.

The second bronze medal was disputed between KIM Hayun (KOR) and Kayra SAYIT (TUR). After forty seconds of golden score and nothing other than penalties displayed on the scoreboard, Kayra SAYIT finally scored a waza-ari before she was congratulated by her coach.

Final DICKO, Romane (FRA) vs. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (AZE)

Bronze Medal Contests CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN) vs. MBALLA ATANGANA, Hortence Vanessa (CMR) KIM, Hayun (KOR) vs. SAYIT, Kayra (TUR)

Final Results 1. DICKO, Romane (FRA) 2. KINDZERSKA, Iryna (AZE) 3. CHEIKH ROUHOU, Nihel (TUN) 3. SAYIT, Kayra (TUR) 5. KIM, Hayun (KOR) 5. MBALLA ATANGANA, Hortence Vanessa (CMR) 7. SOUZA, Beatriz (BRA) 7. TOLOFUA, Julia (FRA)

-90 kg: World Champion VAN T END Confirms all in Doha Top seeded Ivan Felipe SILVA MORALES (CUB) being immediately defeated in his first round by Eduard TRIPPEL (GER), was not what the Cuban wanted. TRIPPEL was then defeated by Beka GVINIASHVILI (GEO), who went to the final against the current World Champion, Noel VAN T END (NED). He had difficult contests throughout the preliminary rounds but Noel always found the necessary energy to go through.

In the final, high pressure and counter attempts were on show from start to finish from Gviniashvili, but he was too late to avoid Van t’End’s waza-ari score. With more and more pressure from the Georgian it looked like the Dutchman might succumb to it, but with in ingenious change in transition he applied a lightening fast strangle for an ippon finish almost at the bell. Gold for the Netherlands, for the first time at the 2021 Masters.

Eduard TRIPPEL (GER) and Mikhail IGOLNIKOV (RUS) faced off for the first bronze medal, but as Mikhail IGOLNIKOV couldn't compete, Eduard TRIPPEL won the bronze medal.

The second Georgian, Lasha BEKAURI was opposed to Mihael ZGANK (TUR) for the second bronze medal. Saying that the contest started at an impressive pace is an understatement, as BEKAURI with his cross guard was immediately in action to put his opponent out of balance. Looking at the scoreboard with 1 minute 23 seconds left on the clock and already three penalties in ZGANK's name, seemed surprising but actually was not, since the Georgian was so active that he took charge in a way that could only result in a win, either from the disqualification or from finding the throw within his onslaught. Bronze for Lasha BEKAURI.

Medals were presented by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, President of Olympic Council of Asia.


Bronze Medal Contests TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER) vs. IGOLNIKOV, Mikhail (RUS) BEKAURI, Lasha (GEO) vs. ZGANK, Mihael (TUR)

Final Results 1. VAN T END, Noel (NED) 2. GVINIASHVILI, Beka (GEO) 3. BEKAURI, Lasha (GEO) 3. TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER) 5. IGOLNIKOV, Mikhail (RUS) 5. ZGANK, Mihael (TUR) 7. BOBONOV, Davlat (UZB) 7. GANTULGA, Altanbagana (MGL)

-100 kg: Let's Not Forget LIPARTELIANI Top seed Peter PALTCHIK (ISR) had a really good start, facing the Olympic silver medallist, Elmar GASIMOV (AZE), in the first round and defeating him after a long golden score. With this positive momentum, PALTCHIK continued to win until the semifinal, where he faced Varlam LIPARTELIANI (GEO), who's experience prevailed, to send the Georgian to the final.

With GASIMOV being out, it was the second Azeri athlete, Zelym KOTSOIEV, who qualified for the final against LIPARTELIANI. After only nineteen seconds LIPARTELIANI, who is most well known for his uchi-mata, scored a waza-ari with a dropping seoi-nage, to take the lead. For the rest of the final LIPARTELIANI carefully escaped from all KOTSOIEV's attempts to come back. The Georgian enjoyed winning his third title at the Masters and again rises into the list of favourites for the Olympic title this summer. Let's not forget him.

The first bronze medal contest saw Arman ADAMIAN (RUS) and Simeon CATHARINA (NED) competing for the prize, but also for important points on the World Ranking List and the Olympic qualification. With less than one minute remaining and after a very tight match, ADAMIAN executed an almost perfect waza-ari, immediately followed by an immobilisation for ippon.

In the second bronze medal contest the current world champion Jorge FONSECA of Portugal was stood against the recent European Champion Peter PALTCHIK (ISR). This could have been a final for sure, based on the level of both competitors and they gave all they had left after a full day of competition. What is extraordinary is the explosivity of FONSECA on one side, who even if he looks totally exhausted is capable of launching a blitz attack with a fraction of a second. On the other side was PALTCHIK, a man who seems to be capable of escaping from any situation and has also a strong capacity to attack in all directions. At the end of the match, it was Peter PALTCHIK who won after FONSECA was penalised three times.

Final LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO) vs. KOTSOIEV, Zelym (AZE)

Bronze Medal Contests ADAMIAN, Arman (RUS) vs. CATHARINA, Simeon (NED) FONSECA, Jorge (POR) vs. PALTCHIK, Peter (ISR)

Final Results 1. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO) 2. KOTSOIEV, Zelym (AZE) 3. ADAMIAN, Arman (RUS) 3. PALTCHIK, Peter (ISR) 5. CATHARINA, Simeon (NED) 5. FONSECA, Jorge (POR) 7. ELNAHAS, Shady (CAN) 7. KHURRAMOV, Mukhammadkarim (UZB)

+100 kg: RINER Is Back and Back Well It's been a while since we wondered if Teddy Riner would be able to regain his form. His last outings had raised concerns that his time was now on the way to being over, but it is clear that is not what Teddy Riner wants. Moreover there is only one Teddy! Sharp as ever, ready to take up the challenge, the Frenchman began his day concentrated and careful not to make mistakes. He also had no choice, because the best in the world were present and he was not seeded.

The summary of the preliminary rounds: Teddy is still Teddy! One by one, with posture and professionalism, he eliminated each of his opponents, with his destructive hip movements, but also with sutemi-waza and even a strangulation. All is probably not yet perfect, but the champion is approaching a state of form which could allow him to win a third Olympic title, a few months from now.

In the final he was opposite Inal TASOEV (RUS) who tried to do better than his predecessors on the tatami of Qatar, but that was not an easy task. The Russian was totally dominated by the terrific kumi-kata of the French champion. After being penalised three times and disqualified, TASOEV offered the victory to Teddy RINER, who can be proud of his competition today.

The first contest for a bronze medal saw Tamerlan BASHAEV (RUS) face-off against Henk GROL (NED). After a golden score as long as the regular time, GROL finally scored a waza-ari to win bronze.

For the last place on the podium of these World Judo Masters, Temur RAKHIMOV (TJK) faced Yakiv KHAMMO (UKR). Having already scored a waza-ari earlier during the contest, Yakiv KHAMMO won the bronze medal after Temur RAKHIMOV was disqualified from a third shido.

Medals were presented by Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee

Final RINER, Teddy (FRA) vs. TASOEV, Inal (RUS)

Bronze Medal Contests BASHAEV, Tamerlan (RUS) vs. GROL, Henk (NED) RAKHIMOV, Temur (TJK) vs. KHAMMO, Yakiv (UKR)

Final Results 1. RINER, Teddy (FRA) 2. TASOEV, Inal (RUS) 3. GROL, Henk (NED) 3. KHAMMO, Yakiv (UKR) 5. BASHAEV, Tamerlan (RUS) 5. RAKHIMOV, Temur (TJK) 7. KIM, Minjong (KOR) 7. MOURA, David (BRA)

See also