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Japan crowned judo world champions in Budapest

Japan were awarded an eighth gold medal after winning the mixed team event at the 2017 World Judo Championships in the Hungarian capital Budapest

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Japan crowned judo world champions in Budapest

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A glittering end to the 2017 World Judo Championships in Budapest, and an eighth gold medal for the victors Japan. A silver for Brazil and the bronze for France.

No one will have been surprised at Japan’s victory – it is after all the home of judo, having been invented there in 1882. It is now practiced by some 28 million people in 200 countries.

Although judo is essentially an individual sport the decision to field mixed teams for the first time has been judged a success and the same format is now on the on the agenda for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

Twenty-two teams competed in Budapest, with six fighters in each team.

“It was a great World Championship especially because usually after the Olympic games there are new generations arriving in the judo arena,” said Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation. “This time the new generation proved that we are on the way to having one of the best generations ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games. More than 50 percent of the previous Olympic and World Champions they lost in the competition. A successful new generation is on the way.
“Budapest was well-organised – I want to thank Hungary for all their support, the nice spectators, nice partners, and a great atmosphere for judo. The technical level was one of the best. According to the new rules we proved that we made the right decision. We will adjust some of the rules before the end of the year and in January we will start on the final version for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

The event in Budapest has also drawn praise from the Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, who added his support for the addition of mixed teams:

“The role of judo is to be an important part of the Olympic programme and I think even more so now that we are looking forward to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the motherland of judo. There judo will play an even more important role than it has played in the Olympic Games so far. It’s very important and I can speak from experience because I won my gold medal in the team but it is even more important than this mixed format because there we can get on the one hand individual athletes getting the team feeling, the team spirit, but we can also do a lot to promote women’s sport and to fight for gender equality in the Olympic Games and in the World Championships.”

The moment of the day was when when Japanese competitor Takeshi Ojitani scored an ippon against his South Korean opponent. An ippon is the highest score you can achieve in a bout of judo.