It was a thrilling fourth day at the Uzbekistan’s World Judo Championships at the Humo Arena.
The official opening ceremony entertained the local crowd with an impressive display of talent and passion.
IJF President Mr Marius Vizer and the Prime-Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan His Excellency Mr Abdulla Aripov officially opened the 2022 World Judo Championships.
The pride of their nation shone through from beginning to end, as attendees of all generations sang the anthem together.
Japan wins fourth gold medal
For the under 63kg, with the absence of Judo legend Clarisse Agbegnenou, Canada’s Olympic Bronze Medallist, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, looked keen to step up to the empty throne, with dominant groundwork earning her a spot in the final
Japan’s Horikawa Megumi, on the other side of the draw, looked set to add to Japan’s 4 Gold medals. With spectacular Judo, such as a one-sided Osoto-gari.
In the final Horikawa executed a textbook Uchi-mata to take the under 63kg title, the Japanese athlete was clearly delighted to earn the red back patch, and set herself up as the new judoka to watch.
The Prime-Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan His Excellency Mr Abdulla Aripov awarded the medals.
“Uchi-mata is one of my most powerful techniques, I’m overjoyed to win a World final with my favourite technique.” Said a thrilled Megumi Horikawa.
Fight of the tournament
The crowd then witnessed the Georgian sensation,Tato Grigalashvili, blast his way to the final. The World Silver medallist seemed intent on going one better than last year.
In the final he faced his closest rival, his opponent from last year's World Final, Matthias Casse of Belgium. Casse made it to the final with a last minute attack, which saw him snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Japan’s Fujiwara.
It was an epic rematch and it led to one of the best contests of the tournament. Two incredible Judoka at the very top of their game. The whole stadium was ablaze with delirious excitement, and the Georgian dug deep, throwing huge to score Waza-ari, and take the World title from Casse, an incredible moment of Judo.
World Taekwondo President, Dr Chungwon awarded the victors their medals.
“The reason I found the victory at the end was because of my Georgian soul. My Georgian heart. We are warriors, we are a warrior nation. Georgian heart is the winner” Said the proud champion, Tato Grigalashvili.
To end a thrilling day, Saturday's World Champions came to meet their emphatic fans, a wonderful chance for the Judo-passionate public who have travelled from far and wide to get autographs and take photos with their heroes, who were delighted to create an unforgettable moment for so many people.