Day four of the 2018 World Judo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, saw France and Iran strike World Championships gold as one of the superstars of judo retained their crown and a world number one realised a lifelong dream to become his country’s second world judo champion in their history.
On day four of the 2018 World Judo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan,France’s Clarisse Agbegnenou won an incredible third world title in the under 63kg category as she retained her 2017 crown by winning all five of her contests by ippon. Agbegnenou won her first world title in 2014 and second in 2017 and showed that she is now the best in the world at this weight.
Even Japan’s Miku Tashiro was no match for the French superstar. An ippon in golden score meant ecstasy for Agbegnenou, but she still showed incredible respect for her opponent before leaping into her coaches arms as a three time world champion.
IJF General Secretary Jean Luc Rougé presented Agbegnenou with her gold medal.
''One time is already crazy. Two times is really good. But three times? No, it’s amazing! I am happy to win against this opponent because for me she is one of the best in the category. And I think I want this final in the Olympic Games,'' Clarisse Agbegnenou said in an interview.
Top of the world
In the men's under 81kg category, Saeid Mollaei was crowned Iran’s first world judo champion in 15 years as he improved on his bronze medal from 2017, with gold in Baku. In an incredible back and forth final which saw both men scoring waza ari, Mollaei defeated two-time Grand Slam winner newcomer Sotaro Fujiwara of Japan by scoring a second waza ari in golden score.
The Iranian fans went wild, an incredible pressure point moment, with Mollaei coming out on top. It was sheer joy for the Iranian. Once again, there were beautiful scenes of respect, so typical of Judo, displayed by both competitiors at the end of the contest, before the celebrations could begin.
''I tried so hard and have practiced for so long. I’ve sweated for this medal but I am so happy to receive it and I want to share it with the people that have worked with me for all this time. Today is a big day, and I present this medal to the Iranian people, and all those who supported me,'' Saeid Mollaei said in an interview.
Mollaei was presented his gold medal by Iranian Judo Federation President Mr. Mohammad Derakshan in a beautiful moment full of emotion.
Move of the day
In a show of Judo’s universality - so far 18 different countries have won medals - Turkey’s Vedat Albayrak scored an incredible ippon against Germany's Alexander Wieczerzak, earning him our move of the day after a textbook uchi mata, and bronze for Turkey.