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Epic start to Judo 2023 World Championships in Qatar

Sabina Giliazova of Russia and Blandine Pont of France, bottom, in action during the women's -48 category at the World Judo Championships in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, April 5, 2023
Sabina Giliazova of Russia and Blandine Pont of France, bottom, in action during the women's -48 category at the World Judo Championships in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, April 5, 2023 Copyright IJF
Copyright IJF
By Euronews
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Some great judo techniques on display and a great start for Japan on the first day of the 2023 World Championships in the Qatari capital Doha

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Before the World Judo Championships kicked off in the Qatari capital Doha, the global judo family gathered for the 2023 International Judo Federation Congress, a fitting start to eight days of top-level judo awaiting an eager audience.

After huge anticipation, the first day of the 2023 World Championships kicked off and local fans filled the stadium to witness both a day of great expectations and shocks.

Great day for Japan

At -48kg double World Champion Tsunoda Natsumi came to defend her title for the second time in a row. She was on her usual unstoppable form throughout the day, with both expected and new techniques.

In the final, she faced French superstar Shirine Boukli, who had been on fire all day. Huge hip throws set her, the World Number One, on a collision course with the double World Champion, a mouth-watering encounter for the whole judo world.

But no one seems able to stop Tsunoda’s Tomoe-Nage, and she joins an elite club of triple world champions. An incredible feat.  The medals were presented by the IJF President, Marius Vizer. 

Afterwards, Tsunoda said: “Tomoe-Nage is my favourite technique, I'm very skilled at it. Everyone knows this about me so everyone prepares for competing against me.”

At -60kg, Spain’s Francisco Garrigos clearly came to Doha to prove a point. He shocked the World by defeating the out-and-out favourite Takato Naohisa in the semi-final.

The Olympic and four-time World Champion shockingly crashed out of this year's tournament to the Spaniard’s delight.

On the other side of the draw was the surprise package of the day, Dilshodbek Baratov of Uzbekistan. He came out of nowhere with an incredible performance and some explosive judo.

A clever low attack saw the Spanish sensation ensuring he took his first-ever world title. Great sportsmanship followed by pure delight for Spain.

The Vice President of the Olympic Council of Asia, Otabek Umarov, awarded the -60kg medals.

“The fight with Takato was in the semi-final, so I only had the final left and I don't know how many World Championship finals I’m going to be in so I had to give 100%,” explained Garrigos after the bout.

Russia and Belarus competitors are taking part in the tournament under the label of  “Individual Neutral Athletes." Ukraine removed its team from the event last week in protest.

But the main focus of the day was on the judo and all in all, it was a fantastic first day at the 2023 World Championships in Qatar that left fans eagerly awaiting day two.

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